It is difficult for those who have not seen it to believe in the existence of the devil-fish. This frightful monster which is so often seen amongst the rocks in the open sea is of a grayish colour, about five feet long, and about the thickness of a man’s arm. It is rugged in outline and in shape strongly resembles a closed umbrella, without the handle. This irregular mass slowly advances towards you. All of a sudden it opens and
eight radii come out from around a face with two eyes. These radii are alive, looking like
Underneath each of the eight antennae are two rows of suckers. These small tubes are
capable of piercing to a depth of more than an inch. It is with this sucking apparatus
that it attacks. The victim is attacked by a vacuum drawing at numerous points.
Such was the creature in whose power Gilliatt had fallen.
Of the eight arms of the devil-fish, three were attached to the rock, while five encircled
Gilliatt. In this way, clinging on the granite on one side and to its human prey on the
other, it chained him to the rock.
It is impossible to tear oneself from the clutches of the devil-fish. The attempt only results in a firmer grasp. Gilliatt had but one resource - his open knife was in his left hand.
Adapted from Toilers of the Sea by Victor Hugo
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