Ekim Bey

It must be said that when a coin is thrown into the water it begins to sink very quickly, but the further from the surface the more slowly it sinks, so if the water is very deep it takes a long time before it finally reaches the bottom. In such a case, before diving, one has only to note well the place where the coin fell, and then it is not difficult to see it in the water and go after it.

One day, a passenger, occupied with his thoughts, was leaning over the side of a ship watching the coin-catchers, when he inadvertently let fall from his hands what is called a chaplet, an appurtenance indispensable for every serious Asiatic for those intervals when he is not fulfilling his life obligations.

He immediately called to the diving-boys to get the chaplet, but in spite of their attempts they could not find it, since, being far from the ship, they had not noticed where it fell. Evidently the chaplet was very valuable, as the passenger promised to pay the finder twenty-five Turkish pounds.

After the steamer had left, all the coin-catchers searched for a long time, but their efforts were fruitless. The water was deep and, as they expressed it, to grope all over the bottom was impossible. In general it is very difficult to reach the bottom of deep water. Just as water easily supports the living body on the surface, so it offers a strong resistance to its descent.

Several days later, while I was diving for coins at that spot, a passenger happened to throw one so far away that, before I could swim up to where it had fallen, it had already sunk out of sight. As there had not been a good ‘catch’ that day, I was determined at any cost to get that coin.

Just as I reached it I caught a glimpse of something that looked like a chaplet. Swimming back to the surface, I remembered the chaplet for which twenty-five pounds had been offered.

Having noted the spot, I dived down again without telling anyone, and when I realized that it was impossible to reach the bottom in the ordinary way, I brought with me the next day some heavy sledge­ hammers which I had hired from a blacksmith, and, tying them round my body, dived down with this weight. I soon found the chaplet, which turned out to be of amber, set with small diamonds and garnets.