But all the same, Lennie turned round quickly to see what Creamy meant. And as he did so, the sea rushed into his mouth. Gasping for breath and blinking hard, he tried to make out what the lump was.
‘Over there! It's coming after us, look out!’ cried Creamy, clutching at Lennie and nearly dragging him under.
Lennie suddenly burst out laughing. ‘A shark! It's not a shark, silly, it's the life-belt I've brought! I've been pulling it along, so no wonder it's coming after us!’
But Creamy was not convinced. His paw fastened firmly to Lennie's arm, he was keeping as close to him as he could.
Lennie began treading water, his paws working the rope, drawing the life-belt towards them. ‘Why don't you help me pull,’ he panted, ‘instead of talking of sharks and nearly drowning us both!’
Creamy let go of his arm. ‘Sorry, Lennie, just hate all that water,’ he grumbled, and taking the rope out of Lennie's paws, he dragged it through the water fast.
‘Ah, there we are,’ cried Lennie as the life-belt came skimming over the waves and stopped by his side. ‘Nice work, Creamy! Now, tumble in!’
Creamy tumbled in. The life-belt fitted snugly round him. Too snuggly for Lennie's comfort, as it did not seem to leave any space inside for him.
‘You need to move over a bit, Creamy, so I can get in.’
Creamy wriggled a bit. ‘Sorry, but it's a very small life-belt. Don't really know where you're going to sit.’
‘Right here!’ cried Lennie, and taking a deep breath, he leapt out of the water and landed right in Creamy's lap.
‘But! But….,’ spluttered Creamy. It's not very comfortable like that.’
‘Too bad,’ said Lennie sternly. ‘better to be uncomfortable than to drown, isn't it.’
‘Is it?! Well, I wish I'd never suggested going by ship to that family reunion,’ muttered Creamy under his breath. ‘We'll never make it now…’
Lennie patted his paw. ‘Don't worry, old thing, we'll make it somehow. Now, why don't you just close your eyes and sleep.’
‘Sleep?! Sleep here? Surrounded by sharks and sea monsters?’ cried Creamy.
‘But this time his cries fell on deaf ears, for Lennie was already fast asleep. Creamy sighed and let his head fall on the life-belt. He lay gazing at the stars, and wondering sadly if he was ever going to see his family in St Petersburg again. And still wondering, he drifted off to sleep, the swell of the sea rocking him gently as he dreamt of home.