The Swiss Family Robinson

by Johann David Wyss, Johann Rudolf Wyss

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How does Fritz catch the huge turtle in The Swiss Family Robinson?

Quick answer:

Fritz catches the giant turtle in The Swiss Family Robinson by harpooning it in the neck. When he and his father reach shore, Fritz puts the animal out of its misery with a hatchet.

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For a long time, Fritz has been looking very closely at a large object in the water. He asks his father to steer towards it so that he can get a better look at it. When his father goes to the rudder to make the necessary movement of the boat, there's an immediate whistling noise from the cord and a juddering shock. Following that, there's a rapid movement of the boat.

Father starts to panic; he thinks the boat's going to founder. But Fritz is much more excited by the fact that he's just caught a large turtle. He's harpooned it through the neck. The poor creature is rapidly drawing the boat along the line. Father wants to cut that line, but Fritz implores him not to do it. There's no danger, and in any case, he will release them from the line if necessary.

The turtle's agony only seems to increase its strength, and before long he's tugged the boat towards shore. When Fritz and his father reach dry land, Fritz finally puts the turtle out of his misery by whacking him with a hatchet. The young man is overjoyed and utters a shout of joy before firing off his gun in triumph. The rest of the Robinson family come running out to greet them. Later that evening, they have turtle for dinner.

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