Famed novelist Ernest Hemingway once survived two plane crashes in two days while on a safari in east Africa, and the letter he wrote to his lawyer about the ordeal has just sold for nearly $240,000.
Hemingway, who won the Pulitzer prize for fiction in 1953 for his short novel "The Old Man and the Sea," was 55 years old when the plane he and his fourth wife were in "cracked up" in Uganda, The Associated Press reported in 1954.
"I am weak from so much internal bleeding," Hemingway wrote to his lawyer, Alfred Rice. "Have been a good boy and tried to rest and took full [?] but having to fight the fire gave it to me."
Author Ernest Hemingway poses for a portrait while on a big game hunt in September 1952 in Kenya. (Photo by Earl Theisen/Getty Images)
The first accident happened when the plane dove to avoid hitting a flock of birds and the pilot had to make an emergency landing. Hemingway, his wife and the pilot spent the night in a remote jungle.
The next day, the plane that rescued them from the first crash caught fire, but everyone on board was able to escape.
When Hemingway arrived back in Entebbe, Uganda, "his head was swathed in bandages and his arm was injured, but the novelist, who is 55 years old, quipped: ‘My luck, she is running very good,’" the AP reported.
The report said Hemingway was carrying a bunch of bananas and a bottle of gin. His wife had two cracked ribs and was limping.
"The dope is now that I have to go into hospital Monday at Genova," Hemingway explained in the letter. "Hope check up will be ok, and will get a good plan on handling the internal injuries. I asked Bill Lowe and Hotch [A.E. Hotchner] to give you the word on them and the burns. Couldn't write letters much on acc't of right arm which was burned to the bone 3rd degree and it would cramp up on me (still does a little but all burns ok). But fingers burned and left hand 3rd degree too, so couldn't type.
American writer Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1961), in Cuba, July 1940. (Photo by Lloyd Arnold/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
"The trouble is inside where right kidney was ruptured and liver and spleen injured," Hemingway continued. "We'll get them checked out at this clinic where they have the best man at that stuff in Europe."
Hemingway, who won world fame in 1929 with his novel "A Farewell to Arms" and went on to publish a slew of other works, died in 1961 after accidentally shooting himself while cleaning a shotgun. He was 61 years old.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.