Seite:Marsh Hallig 1856.djvu/26

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26

THE HALLIG.

ing over it a few hours before. But small runs, and
other depressions, which furrow this waste, are not left
dry even at low tide ; and the now visible "chan-
nels," as they are called, which communicate with
each other as well as with the ocean, entangle the
islands in the serpent embrace of their giant enemy,
which, though now invading other shores, still holds
fast his prey, and never suffers it to hope for a
moment that he has renounced his conquest. These
channels, even at the lowest ebb, form impassable bar-
riers to the solitary wanderer who traversed the soft
bottom left bare for an hour, in search of crabs, or
rays, or perhaps a seal left stranded by the sudden
retreat of the waves, and they intercept the com-
munication between the islands by land, even when it
seems most practicable. It is only a few of the smaller
islands that, during the retreat of the sea, enjoy a
brief intercourse with each other or with the main-
land, without recourse to boats ; but woe to the loiterer
who trusts the treacherous giant too far ! The enemy
often returns with unexpected haste, bringing thick
mists in his train, and the ebb-walker — so they call
those who venture excursions upon the flats at low
tide — sees his home fading from his view, he feels
the returning current playing around his feet, and
seized with terror he rushes along in agony. The
swelling runs obstruct his path, he makes a circuit
to avoid them, loses his course, turns hither and thither,
and at length finds himself quite surrounded by the
advancing waves. The tide creeps higher and higher
at every breath, his cry is lost in the waste of waters,
and at last is choked by the rushing surge which now