Is the dark object floating amidships that Nathan first took for the body of older brother Jeremy a chest or a canoe or a coffin? Did oldest brother Caleb murder Jeremy because of resentment at Jeremy's testifying that Caleb was responsible for the loss of the Amy Foster, thereby costing him his captain's papers? Why didn't Caleb say at the inquiry that he had left orders in the ship's log that would, if followed, have saved the ship? Could it be that Nathan's idel Jeremy lied? Could it be that Nathan's idel Jeremy lied? Could it be that Caleb is not the monster he seems? These questions and more make a maze of the early chapters and delay emergence of the crux which is corollary to Caleb's finding of the log clearing him (implicating Jeremy, whom he didn't kill) -- that is his identification with Ahab, which appears after sixteen-year-old Nathan has chosen Moby Dick as a birthday present, then focuses on the chest-canoe-coffin which Caleb believes to be Queequeeg's Dark Canoe that later became Ishmael's life buoy. And now that he has replaced the thirty Turk's head knots, he will resume Ahab's hunt for the White Whale. . . until dissuaded by Nathan, echoing Starbuck. At the conclusion carpenter Judd remarks "This book you've been reading. . . I'd like to look at it too"-- and as an initiation to Moby Dick this is more viable than it is as a knotted and knobby short novel.