فصل 03

مجموعه: جیمز باند / کتاب: نه دکتر / فصل 3

فصل 03

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  • زمان مطالعه 6 دقیقه
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CHAPTER THREE

The Island of the Birds

The story in the file which M had given Bond was a strange one. For many years, the island called Crab Key had belonged to Britain, and Jamaica had looked after it. In the nineteenth century, Crab Key had been rich because of ‘guano’. The guano came from a kind of bird called the green cormorant. Huge numbers of these birds visited the island and left their droppings. The guano - the birds’ droppings - was full of chemicals called nitrates, which were used as fertilizers. Farmers in Europe spread guano on the ground to make their crops grow. Guano became one of the most valuable products in the world.

There were only a few areas in the world where guano could be collected. Sometimes the price of guano was very high. At those times, the workers on Crab Key were busy. But when the price of the guano was low, work stopped on the island. This was because the guano on the island was not of very high quality. The highest quality guano could be bought from Peru. The guano from Crab Key couldn’t be sold for as much money as Peruvian guano. Collecting the guano and transporting it to Europe cost too much money when the price was low.

From 1900 to 1930, guano prices had been low, so all the people left Crab Key. But at the end of that time, the island became famous for another reason. Scientists discovered that a rare kind of bird - the roseate spoonbill - was living there. Almost all the roseate spoonbills in other parts of the world had died. But a lot of them were still living on Crab Key. Many people had been excited by this discovery. And the members of the Audubon Society were the most excited. The Audubon Society bought a lease from the British government officials on Jamaica for the small part of Crab Key where the birds lived. This part became a sanctuary for the spoonbills. The society sent two wardens to live on the island. These men studied the roseate spoonbills and they made sure that no one harmed the rare birds in their sanctuary.

Then suddenly, in the 1940s, the price of guano increased. At that time, a man contacted the Governor of Jamaica. He wanted to buy Crab Key. This man was called Doctor Julius No. Bond learnt from the file that one of Doctor No’s parents was German and the other was Chinese. Doctor No offered a lot of money for the island. He also said that the Audubon Society could keep their lease on the small area where the spoonbills lived. The Governor of Jamaica talked to the government officials in London and they decided to accept Doctor No’s offer. Since 1942, the island of Crab Key had been owned by Doctor No.

Doctor No had moved many workers to the island, and for some years the price of guano was high. But at the beginning of the 1950s, the price fell again. Doctor No had kept his workers on the island, but nobody could understand why. He couldn’t be making any money from the guano now.

Then Bond read about what had happened in December of the previous year. One of the wardens from the spoonbill sanctuary on Crab Key had arrived on the north coast of Jamaica in a canoe. The man had been badly injured in a fire. Most of his body had been terribly burned and he died a few days later. But before he died, the warden told a very strange story. He said that one evening, a huge dragon had attacked his camp in the sanctuary. The dragon had breathed fire. It had burnt the camp with flames which came from its mouth. The dragon had burned him and killed the other warden.

After that, it had gone into the sanctuary and it had started to attack the spoonbills. Most of the birds had been killed and many had flown away in fear.

The story about a fire-breathing dragon was hard to believe, of course. The police in Jamaica thought that the warden’s injuries had made him mad. But the Audubon Society sent two more people from the United States to investigate what had really happened. Unfortunately, their plane crashed as it tried to land on Crab Key and both men were killed. Later, Doctor No told the society that the plane had been flying too fast as it tried to land.

Soon after the plane accident, an American ship was sailing near Crab Key. The captain of the ship had contacted the Audubon Society. He reported that he hadn’t seen any roseate spoonbills living on the island.

The Audubon Society had complained about this to the American government. Government officials in America had informed the British government. Officials in London had passed the facts on to the Secret Intelligence Service. They asked SIS to investigate the island discreetly. They didn’t want to make any problems for the officials in Jamaica. But there was a difficulty. The island no longer belonged to Britain, Doctor No owned it. And he didn’t like anyone, except his own workers, going there. He didn’t want anyone else to visit Crab Key.

But something had to be done about the complaints, so M had made a decision. He’d told John Strangways to investigate Crab Key. It was the case that Strangways had been working on when he and his assistant had disappeared.

Bond read the notes in the file carefully. He was worried. He went to speak to his boss the next day.

‘I’ve read the file, sir. And I believe that Commander Strangways and Miss Trueblood have been killed,’ he told M. ‘Six people have died recently because they visited, or tried to visit, Crab Key. Something bad is happening there.’

‘I’m sure that you’ll find out the truth, 007,’ M replied. ‘But be discreet. And enjoy your holiday in the sun. After that, you can get back to some real work!’

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