It was a very long time ago. The year was 1866. Strange things were happening in the seas all around the world. Ships were sinking one after the other. Some of these ships disappeared without a trace. Shipowners, captains and anyone who worked aboard ships became very scared. They feared that their ships might be the next to sink or disappear without a trace.
Around that time, various seamen made reports of seeing a mysterious creature in the sea. It was long and shaped like a spindle. It often gave off a blue sparkling light all around it. Sometimes it stood motionless in the sea. Sometimes it would dive away suddenly. Sometimes it would dart from one point to the other at amazing speeds.
The reports were very confusing but most of the people believed that this thing had to be some strange sea creature which came from the uttermost depths of the sea. It had to be some kind of sea monster, and it was blamed for sinking all the ships that were disappearing.
People in England, America and Germany became very angry. They staged large protests and called on the governments of these countries to act quickly to destroy this monster and make the sea a safer place to travel.
It became more and more difficult from cargo and mail to be transported from one country to another. The shipping companies raised their prices for transportation, and the common citizens became even angrier.
The government of the United States was the first country to respond. They bought a large ship and armed it with all kinds of weapons to destroy the sea monster. They hired the best harpooners, the best captains and the best scientists to go onboard the vessel.
Professor Arronax was a smart French scientist who went onboard the Abraham Lincoln to hunt the monster and kill it. It would be a long and tiresome journey.
Finally, the Abraham Lincoln set off into the seas. They had heard news that the monster was spotted about fifty miles away. They wasted no time. However, when they got to the spot, nothing was there. Everyone was frustrated. They travelled around and around.
They sailed in every direction of the ocean for 3 months. Then the entire crew started to become tired and angry. They felt there was no monster. That it was all a lie. They felt that they had been made a fool of. It was time to return home and catch on on their lost sleep and eating.
The captain was about to head the ship home when suddenly he heard a cry. “The monster! It is behind us!”
It was the voice of the harpooner Ned Land. Everyone rushed to the rails to see the monster. Their it was. In the dark of the night. A sparkling green glow in the water.
The men were both afraid and amazed at the same time. They had never seen anything like that in their entire life. Neither had it crossed anyone’s imagination. Suddenly, the light disappeared without a trace and without a sound. Everyone wondered what had happened. Had the monster dived under the sea? But how could it dive so quietly? Without shaking the water…without making a sound. Everyone looked at each other. A few seconds later, it appeared at the other side of the ship! The monster was playing a game! No one was able to speak. The monster darted at the ship suddenly and stopped a few feet away from it.
The captain ordered to reverse and turn away. They started to run away from the monster. The monster seemed to never get tired. No matter how fast the shipped sailed, the monster stayed just a few feet away.
The French Scientist, Professor Arronox, asked the captain why he was running away instead of trying to kill the monster. “I thought you came here to chase and fight, not run away!”
The captain had an unbelievable look on his face. “Professor” he said “it is night, and I don’t know what I am dealing with! Wait until morning, and I will kill this monster!”.
The monster finally stopped chasing, and the captain ordered the ship to stop. “Aha!” he exclaimed. “The monster is tired! I will get it now!”
He called the harpooner and everyone else. They prepared the best weapons to shoot at the monster. The captain promised a large sum of money to whoever first wounded the monster. The first shot missed. They second missed also.
Then at last came an old experienced warrior. He took aim carefully and hit the animal. But something strange happened. All they heard was the sound of metal hitting metal, and the bullet seemed to bounce off the animal. Was the animal made of steel?
Just then, they heard a loud roar and water started to spurt into the ship. It was so violent that the ship started to capsize and Professor Arronax fell into the sea. The captain hurried to drive the ship away.
Professor Arronax was a good swimmer. He managed to keep afloat until his assistant, Conseil, came to his rescue. But after a time, both of them were getting tired. Their ship had fled. It was nowhere to be seen. They had little hope of being rescued. On top of that, the monster was in the water with them.
They started to shout for help. They didn’t expect anyone to answer. But miraculously, someone did. It was the harpooner, Ned Land. Ned Land pulled the two onto a small floating Island. He exclaimed “we’re sitting on the monster sir!”
The professor couldn’t believe his eyes, and what he was feeling with his own hands and feet. What they thought was a monster, was really a manmade submarine! The submarine started to move forward suddenly. Professor Arronax, Ned Land and Conseil became scared. What if the submarine dives? They would drown!
Ned Land started to stamp with his feet and shout. “Open up you devils!”
The submarine stopped suddenly. They heard the sound of metal grazing metals. A trap door opened. They were greeted by the face of a strange man who quickly disappeared. A minute later, three strong men pulled them into the machine, and closed the door. They were led into a dark room and given food and clean clothes.
Not long after, they met the captain of this incredible machine. The Captain of the submarine gave the professor a tour around the machine. He couldn’t believe his eyes. “I’ll give you a tour around the world” the captain told professor Arronax.
Professor Arronax was amazed and eager to learn, but he was confused. Who was this captain? What was he doing with this submarine. And was he sinking the ships? If yes, why?
During the underwater tour of the world, Professor Arronax traveled a distance of more than twenty thousand leagues, which is equal to X miles. He saw all sorts of historical landmarks under the seas. He saw historical wreckages of ships from long ago, of which stories were told. He solved many mysteries which people on land were struggling to solve. He even went for an underwater hunting experience.
Professor Arronax was getting to like the captain of the submarine, which was called the “Nautilus”. But that would change quickly.
He soon learned that there was a dark side to this great man. He was a man seeking revenge. His country was at war with another country, and his entire family: his wife and children, were killed in the war.
He had spent all his money, labor and intelligence to build this underwater machine. He had cut off all his relationships with people on land. He had even made his own language that was to be used aboard his submarine.
His duty now was to take revenge on ships that belonged to the country whose soldiers killed his family. He was the one sinking the ships!
Professor Arronax saw tears roll from his eyes as he prepared to sink a ship one day. “You took everything from me” he exclaimed as he aimed at the ship.
“NO!” shouted the professor. “Don’t sink that ship! They’re innocent people”. But the captain of the nautilus wouldn’t listen. Professor watched in horror was the terrible act was committed.
He could no longer be friends with this man. As intelligent and powerful as he was, he was a criminal in the eyes of Professor Arronax.
Professor Arronax, Ned Land and Conseil made plans to escape. It was very difficult. It was almost impossible. However, they knew all parts of the ship well. And they knew of the lifeboats well, and how to work them. However, they couldn’t find a good opportunity.
Then one day the ship was caught in a Maelstrom. A Maelstrom is a strong current that pulls things into the ocean depts. While the captain of the machine was busy trying to free it, the professor and his friends locked themselves in the life boats and blasted themselves to the surface of the sea. They washed ashore on a far off Island.
Thankfully, they were picked up by friendly people who sent messages to their homeland to come rescue them.
Professor Arronax will never be sure if the submarine survived the Maelstrom, but he was thankful that he and his friends escaped and lived to tell the fantastic story!
Adapted for a younger, more modern audience – from the classic science fiction novel “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” by Jules Vernes.