Arion and the Dolphins
Long ago, according to ancient Greek legend, there lived a man named arion. He loved to sing and play his lyre, a small stringed instument. He also loved dolphins and would play for them.
Arion lived in the palace of a king in the Greek city of Cornith. He learned of a musical contest in Sicily, a mediterranean island douth of Italy. First prize was all the gold the winner could carry. Arion decided to enter the contest, and he set sail to Sicily. During the journey, he practiced singing and playing his lyre everyday. Dolphins swam beside the ship because they loved his music.
In Sicily, Arion played and sang for a large crowd. He easily won first prize. After gathering all the gold he could carry, he returned to the ship to sail for home.
On the voyage back, the sailors decided to kill him and take his gold. When they ordered him to jump overboard, he made one request: to sing one final song. After singing he hurled himself into the sea, still holding his lyre.
As Arion plunged under the waves, he suddenly felt himself being lifted up. His old friends, attracted by his music, had come to rescue him. A dolphin carried Arion home on its back, faster then the ship could sail.
When Arion reached the palace, he told the king of the sailors' deed. Furious, the king waited for the men to return. Then he asked them where Arion was. "He stayed behind in Sicily," they lied. When Arion steped before them, they were terrifies and begged the king for mercy. Instead, he threatened them with punishment. At that the sailors ran away, leaving Arion's gold behind.
Immediatly, Arion ran down to the seashore to thank the dolphins. He played for them, and they leapt joyfully in the waves.
The Dolphins Strike Back
Twice a year, in November and
March, thousands of dolphins swim past the Japanese island of
In March of 1980, several American newspapers carried the following story.
Japanese fishermenon the island of Iki decided that the dolphins were eating too many fish they were trying to catch. So they trapped a thousand of the dolphins with huge nets. The next day, the fishermen took knives and speares and killed 500 of the trapped dolphins.
That night, an American named Dexter Cate sneaked in and opened up the nets. About half the trapped dolphins got away and swam out of the nets and into the open sea. Cate was caught by Japenese police and put in jail.
But the next day, when the fishermen started their boats to sea, they couldn't believe their eyes. Four thousand dolphins had gathered in the waters around the harbor. The dolphins blocked the harbor and kept the fishermens boats from going out to sea.
Wht did the dolphins do what they did?No one knows for sure. But probably they were hoping to somehow save their friends and relitives who were trapped in the nets.
There are thousands of dolphin stories. Some tell of dolphin's unusual intelligence. Some tell of its great playfulness.
There are many stories, too, of dolphins helping eachother. Some U.S. Navy personel reported seeing the following happen: Once, a dolphin was knocked unconscious by an underwater explotion. It couldn't come to the surface to breath. Suddenly, other dolphins came and placed their bodies under their injured friend. They raised its body up to the surface so that it could breathe. They stayed with it untill it was well enough to care for its self.