5 JUNE 1920, Page 14


" SPECTATOR.") SIR,—The reviewer, in your issue of May 29th of Mr. J. T. Buchanan's Account Rendered, refers to the time honoured yarn of the battle between the thresher and the whale appa- rently as being quite discredited, and I notice that the Encyclo- pedia Britannica also does so under " Swordfish." From a head land near Valparaiso in Chile I have, however, actually seen

the performance exactly as the "yarn " has it, not the arms of a squid flashing to sea in all directions, but two large fish, twenty feet long I should judge, which more or less alternately shot from the water alongside of their whale, stood on their tails, so to speak, and deliberately and heavily fell with their heads and shoulders on his head, many times while I watched them. I took the swordfish for granted. He is quite abundant on that coast, although generally found much farther north. The whale was certainly held on the surface in some manner, for at least a wash, most of the blows raising a high splash of spray. He finally disappeared, not by sinking, but by surging seaward into less and less visibility. I write this in the hope, if you will kindly give it space, that a picturesque yarn may be

saved alive by other testimony.—I am, Sir, tec., D. BURNS. Wimbledon.