20,000 Leagues Under The Sea


Word Count: 1322

After decoding a scrap of paper he found in an old book, Professor Hardwigg decides to take a journey. A "Journey to the Center of the Earth" that the paper says is possible. Brushing aside the concerns of his nephew Harry about the temperature of the earth\'s interior, the professor makes Harry come with him on the journey. They gather the needed supplies and depart two days later for Mt. Sneffels in Iceland, the point through which they can gain access to the core of the earth.
With the Icelander Hans as their guide, the party undertakes the rugged journey up to the mountain, stopping to rest along the way at the homes of Icelanders. Through these people, they learn much about the culture. Once they reach the mountain, the three descend into the crater and after several days figure out which of three shafts is the one through which they can make their journey. Aided by Hans\' s knowledge of how to use ropes, they travel downward more than a mile during the first day. The Professor explains that they are now at sea level and he real journey is just beginning.
At the bottom of the shaft, they come upon four crossed paths that they can follow and the Professor quickly chooses one. After several days of trekking in search of water, they must retrace their steps because the path dead-ends. Finally returning to the place of the four crossed paths, Harry collapses and thinks they will return to the surface. Although the Professor shows concern for Harry, he asks for one more day to find water before they abandon the journey. They select a different route and soon discover water. Days later they find a well-like shaft through which they descend to twenty-one miles below the surface of the earth. Continuing to descend rapidly, Harry goes ahead of the others and soon finds himself alone. In desperation he retraces his steps but becomes hopelessly lost. It is only after much suffering four days later that Harry is reunited with his uncle.
As Harry is recovering he hears the sound of waves and thinks he sees light. In act, the three have arrived at what they name the Central Sea, a vast underground body of water. At this point, scientific wonders appear regularly. Exploring the area around the sea, the travelers find what looks like a forest but are actually forty-foot mushrooms. The Professor explains to the astounded Harry how it is possible for plants to live beneath the earth. They continue their exploration of the area, finding bones of mastodons and other evidence of plant and animal life.
The Professor decides that they must cross the ocean to continue their descent even further into the earth. Lashing together wood mineralized by the sea to create a raft, the clever Hans rigs up a rudder. Once underway they are surprised by how quickly the raft moves. Harry has been given the job of keeping a good record of his observations. He drops a hook and soon a fish is caught, an ancient species long extinct in the world above. Harry daydreams about huge animals and plants, visualizing the evolution of the earth and its inhabitants.
The Professor becomes impatient because the sea is so much larger than he expected, and they are no longer descending. Trying to learn the depth of the sea, the Professor attaches a crowbar to a cord and throws it overboard. The cord runs out at two hundred fathoms, and the retrieved crowbar bears marks look like teeth bites. Days later two huge monsters surface, battle, and almost swamp the raft. Continuing on, the three spot what they think is another giant monster, but discover it is an island with a boiling water geyser. Harry suggests that there must be an internal heat source, but the Professor refuses to hear anything that refutes his own theory.
The next morning a storm strikes with fury and rages on for several days. The explorers tie themselves and their gear to the raft to avoid being tossed into the sea. A fireball jumps onto the raft, destroys the mast and sail, and threatens them with its electric