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Maryborough Chronicle Tuesday, March 28th, 1899

This article is titled: A rare monster

Among the more interesting articles in the wide world magazine for February is one from Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Haggard D-S-O who writes on the linguin:- "It may probably interest some readers who have never yet heard of the brute (he says) to learn that there is still existing in the island of Java an animal- or a rather reptile- which seems to be the missing link between the ichthyosauri of prehistoric days and the well-known saurians of present times.  This animal is it appears known to the natives by the name of linguin, and at the suggestion of my friend Baron Alfons Pereira Consul General of Austria-Hungary in Tunis, I proposed to narrate how he was some years ago fortunate enough to shoot one of these monsters.

'I was' says Baron  Pereira 'one morning in February 1869  travelling in a large Javanese canoe with the assistant resident Metman himself a well-known sportsman. Dawn had only just broken when we found ourselves close to the mouth of the Batavia River.  At this point the water was salt and there was a considerable swell caused by the waves of the sea running up against the tide.  As we advanced the rowers had considerable difficulty in making headway against the morning breeze.  Suddenly there was enormous excitement among the crew of Malays who man the boat. 

 

'Linguin!, linguin!' I heard repeated on all sides. Linguin, linguin! repeated the steersman sitting next to me seizing me by the arm as he shouted and pointing excitedly towards the muddy shore, along which we were coasting at a distance of about 150 meters. It was, as I have said, barely light and all that I could make out was the long and dark form of some large creature lying in the mud.  I seized my rifle not knowing in the least what a linguin might be, but at first imagining it to be merely a crocodile.  But even with my rifle in hand, I hesitated to shoot for the movement of the boat which was rolling made any attempt at a steady aim impossible.  However the natives with me grew impatient 'linguin' they cried again. 'Shoot! shoot!' Standing up I took a hasty aim and fired instantly, there was a most tremendous commotion in the mud I saw a huge creature whirling round and round in the liquid ooze, first on its head and then on its tail much like the firework called a Catherine Wheel while liquid mud was being scattered about in all directions.  A shout of triumph rose from my crew and the steersman seizing a murderous-looking malay scimitar instantly plunged overboard to wage mortal combat with the disabled monster. 

He swam to shore, and boldly entering the mud which was more than up to his knees. He attacked the enormous brute as we advanced quite close to the mud I was now able to see that the animal appeared to be half crocodile and half snake.  It had the body of the former in the neck and head of the ladder.  Upon the approach of the Malay it ceased its wheel-like whirling round and round on its tail and repeatedly struck out at its new enemy with its head, trying to seize him with its fangs.  But every time the linguin darted forward its powerful head and neck the native struck out with his sword, each time inflicting the wound and saving himself from injury. 

At length, the final blow struck the furious snake crocodile fairly on the neck and it fell dead.  With great difficulty, the brave fellow towed it by the tail through the mud into the water and brought it out to the canoe, when, with a good deal of trouble, we got it aboard.  It was so heavy that it nearly bored down under water the gunwale of the boat on the side where we placed it. Its length was between 9 feet and 10 feet.  This I know from the fact that the body alone rested on at least two thwarts of the boat.  The long flexible neck and head fell upon the bottom of the craft.  They were much cut about from the blows of the sword; but peculiarities that I noticed was that, although we're cut in deep gashes the flesh exposed was all white like the flesh of a fish, there was no blood flown from any of the wounds.  In addition to the cuts upon the neck, the Malay had also nearly severed one of the four paws of the weird creature.  It was in consequence almost too much destroyed for preservation. 

However, I insisted upon the man's carrying the carcass with us until midday after we had disembarked, but at length, chiefly owing to the numerous cuts upon it, it became so decomposed and offensive that we had to leave it behind.  Mister Metman promised me that I should see plenty more, but I never in all the time that I was in Java see another linguin."

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