Written By: Albert Schweitzer Translated By: Martha Wardenburg Photographs By: Anna Wildikann Reviewed Edition: Hawthorn Books, New York, 1965 Hardcover, 65 pages No ISBN Shown Quotes Table of Contents
This is the story of Albert Schweitzer's tame pet pelican, as told by the pelican himself. It tells how as a young bird he was rescued and fed by Albert Schweitzer and Nurse Emma Haussknecht, and how he went on to assume a place of importance at the hospital, guarding Schweitzer's door by night and often accompanying him on walks. The Doctor's Pelican describes his warm friendship with Schweitzer and Mlle Emma, and his generally hostile relations with everyone else, human and pelican alike.
Written in a breezy style that appeals to children and adults alike, this short book is charming and instructive. It shows the responsibilities, hard work, and warm rewards of living with reverence for all life. Each page of text has a facing page with a large, black-and-white picture of Monsieur Le Pelican.
[Soon after the pelican and his brothers arrived at the Lambarene Hospital as young birds.] Mlle Emma went away too, but a few minutes later she returned carrying some fish which she proceeded to push down our beaks. What a joy it was for half-starved creatures like us! When there were no more little fish, she said to the Doctor [Schweitzer], "They're still hungry! --but there's nothing left but some big carp. They could never swallow them!"
The Doctor's voice echoed from under the house. "Well, try it. You may see a miracle."
The truth is that we finished off the big carp, too. To make them go down, they poured water down our beaks. This was a wonderful change after the treatment we had had from those rascals [who took them from their nest]."
"At night, I love more than anything else to be near where [Albert Schweitzer] is and mount guard over him. After getting my fish from the kitchen, I perch on the door that closes the veranda near his room. Whoever wants to come up on the porch gets warned off by my hissing. If the visitor pays no attention, I hit him hard with my beak from above--European or African, it makes no difference to me.
After dinner, when the Doctor is sitting by the light of a lamp at his work table, I fly to the door of the enclosure surrounding our old shelter and perch there facing him. When I hiss or click my beak, he says to me, 'Dear pelican, dear pelican!'
Sometimes he stops writing and talks softly to me in the night. Those night hours spent with him are very precious to me. When his light goes out, I sleep until dawn, the hour for fishing."
No Table of Contents is included.
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