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(The following story was reported in the broadcast of February 1, 1946)

San Francisco reports that a whale has been sighted in the bay. A fellow named Winton Edwards who runs a water taxi, says he saw about 40 or 50 feet of it in front of his boat. He tried to get the coast guard on its tail but it disappeared. It’s the first time since 1938 that a whale has been seen in those waters.

That’s all there is to that report . . . but it just happens that on the same day, in another newspaper, a whale of a whalestory also appears. This one is written by John Springer who got it straight from an engineer in the Maritime service, named McTavish. Honest, Lockinvar McTavish they call him in Carson City, Nevada. And his yarn is a little heavy on the up beat but I can say that anyone bearing the honored name of McTavish should speak ought but truth! Judge for yourself. Here’s his story told with Scotch candor to John Springer at an ice cream emporium in Carson City, the party of the first part sipping a lemon cream soda pop the while.

When McTavish’s ship was shot out from under him down among the islands near Australia, be managed to stay afloat several days on a bit of deck grating. Never did see any of his shipmates. Then he landed on an island and the incredible thing started! After living on berries and fish for sometime, McTavish one day came upon two sharks thrashing hopelessly in the shallows. Somehow they had been trapped in a washup and were floating on their sides near death, McTavish was moved to pity . . . what with knowing how it was to be marooned . . . and he dug a channel for them. The sharks got out to deep water but refused to leave the island. They wanted to show their gratitude. They swam around close to shore, following McTavish like kerry blue terriers. That gave the engineer an idea. He hollowed out a log and fashioned a canoe; rigged up a harness and let the sharks pull him around on pleasant little sight-seeing trips.

That’s pretty hard to swallow, even with lemon pop as a chaser. . . but wait! The story gets even more out of hand. One day, after that, McTavish found a whale in anguish. This fellow had been badly cut up by a depth charge explosion and Mr. McT. doctored him up a bit. Whereupon the whale, too, was beholden to his benefactor and wanted to help. McTavish set out, pulled by his team of sharks and following the route the whale charted, he made it to Australia. The whale, he says, seemed to know that he wanted to get to civilization and probably the whale had been Australian in a better day! That, says McTavish, is how he came to get back to his home in Carson City where people have known him for many years and will testify that he tells only the truth.

All right, you don’t believe his story, do you? Well, don’t look at me. I just give a light once over to what I find in the papers. I don’t editorialize. Even at that, I’ve trimmed some of the edges off this yarn. In its original version it tells dramatically how the whale limped painfully through the water in the final stages of the journey and died just as the Australian coast hove into view. All I know is that John Springer wrote it and it was told by a man named McTavish. That’s enough for me!