Passage 3

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The Greenland throwing-stick is a long, flat trapezoid, slightly ridged along the back. It has no distinct handle at the wide end, although it will be readily seen that the expanding of this part secures a firm grip. A chamfered groove on one side for the thumb, and a smaller groove on the other side for the index finger, insure the implement against slipping from the hunter's grasp. The shaft-groove, in which lies the shaft of the great harpoon, is wide, deep, and rounded at the bottom. There is no hook, as in all the other types, to fit the end of the harpoon shaft, but in its stead are two holes, one in the front end of the shaft-groove, between the thumb-groove and the finger-groove, with an ivory eyelet or grommet for a lining, the other at the distal end of the shaft-groove, in the ivory piece which is ingeniously inserted there to form that extremity. This last-mentioned hole is not cylindrical like the one in front, but is so constructed as to allow the shaft-peg to slide off easily. These holes exactly fit two ivory pegs projecting from the harpoon shaft. When the hunter has taken his throwing-stick in his hand he lays his harpoon shaft upon it so that the pegs will fall in the two little holes of the stick. By a sudden jerk of his hand the harpoon is thrown forward and released, the pegs drawing out of the holes in the stick. At the front end of the throwing-stick a narrow piece of ivory is pegged to prevent splitting. As before intimated, this type of throwing-stick is radically different from all others in its adjustment to the pegs on the heavy harpoon. In all other examples in the world the hook or spur is on the stick and not on the weapon.

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Related Keywords

Word Lists:

Trapezoid : a quadrilateral with only one pair of parallel sides.

Harpoon : a barbed missile resembling a spear that is attached to a long rope and thrown by hand or fired from a gun, used for catching whales and other large sea creatures.

Eyelet : a small round hole in leather or cloth for threading a lace, string, or rope through.

Ivory : a hard creamy-white substance composing the main part of the tusks of an elephant, walrus, or narwhal, often (especially formerly) used to make ornaments and other articles

Groove : a long, narrow cut or depression, especially one made to guide motion or receive a corresponding ridge.

Shaft : a long, narrow part or section forming the handle of a tool or club, the body of a spear or arrow, or a similar implement

Hunter : a person or animal that hunts

Stead : the place or role that someone or something should have or fill (used in referring to a substitute)

Adjustment : a small alteration or movement made to achieve a desired fit, appearance, or result

Implement : a tool, utensil, or other piece of equipment, especially as used for a particular purpose


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