A friend of mine and I have been discussing Jonah. The Bible is a wealth of information, but there's a serious lack of detail in the whole Jonah and the whale story. What happened between, "Get thee to Ninevah." and being tossed overboard from Tarshish and subsequently swallowed and hacked up again three days later?
I recalled a story my middle older brother Bob had told me ages ago, about one of our ancestors being swallowed by a whale. I emailed him and this is what he sent back:
And I took it upon mself to look for other whale mishaps, and I found this entertaining one:
Bartley and the Star of the East
In the late winter of 1891, the whale-ship Star of the East was in the vicinity of the
when it came within sight of a whale. Two boats were dispatched with
harpoons to snare and kill the beast, but the lashing of its tail
capsized one of the launches, spilling the crew into the sea. All were
accounted for except for a single sailor, James Bartley.
Ultimately the whale was killed and the carcass drawn aboard the vessel
to begin the process of salvaging valuable resources. By the next day
good progress had been made in removing the layers of blubber from the
beast, so a tackle was attached to its stomach to hoist it on deck.
Sailors were startled by spasmodic life within the belly of the whale,
and upon further inspection the missing sailor was found.
Bartley was quite mad for two weeks, but upon recovering his senses he
recounted what little he could recall of being dragged under the water.
Struggling for his life he had been drawn into darkness within which he
felt a terrible and oppressive heat. He found slimy walls that gave
slightly to his touch, but could find no exit. When his situation
finally dawned on him Bartley lost his senses completely and lapsed into
a state of catatonia.
During his time inside the whale the gastric juices affected his exposed
skin. His face, neck and hands were bleached a deathly white with a
texture like parchment, a condition from which the skin never recovered.
Bartley believed that he would probably have lived inside his house of
flesh until he starved, as breathing was not a problem.
Sleep well, everyone.