Seligor's Castle, fun for all the children of the world.
Thu, 03 Jan 2008
The old Pirate Ship
This very strange story was given me by
a friend from Thailand and although it doesn't say where the
harbour is, I think it must surely be from his part
of the world so here is a little yarn about an old
Pirate Ship, who knows, it might even have been the
"Black Pearl" before the escape of Jack Sparrow.
The Old Pirate
almost two weeks now since the old wreck of the
pirate ship was washed up on the nearby shore of
our sleepy little town.
Initialy, as the first
returning fishermen had spied its crenellated
outline listing between the palm fronds, it was
feared a gang of cut-throat marauders had decided
to pillage our homes - but it soon became apparent
that the hulk was lifeless and uninhabited save for
the pale white barnacles.
By mid-morning it was
swarming with children, young and old who had
sneaked out of school to investigate this promising
novelty. But the next day the town school was half
empty and Ms Cecily Charcoal -Brazier had to send a
message to the local constable demanding that he do
something about rounding up and delivering the
truants back to her as they appeared to have
As the days progressed however it soon
became apparent that all was not quite what it
seemed with the old, salt-encrusted vessel.
number of men, seeking to salvage what little
remained of usable wood from her, met with strange
and inexplicable accidents.
Rory McTavish, for
example, as skilled and as conscientious a boatsman
you might find between here and Oakwood Harbour to
the north, caught his foot in some rotten rigging
and fell to the deck beneath him, breaking an arm
and cracking three ribs.
sure-footed even after consuming a dozen pints of
Old Martha's Invigorating Treacle Balm and Elixer,
slipped on a hank of seaweed he swore wasn't there
a moment before and, grabbing onto a nearby
handrail for support, found a six-inch sliver of
cruel ironwood embedded in his upper thigh.
and the other men with him swore they heard the
sound of laughter coming from the holds below but
when they investigated, white-faced but determined,
all they found was a chest already plundered of
whatever treasure it might once have held and the
skeletons of two somewhat oversize rats.
When Colway took a fever and died
three days later men took to avoiding the wreck altogether and
mothers beat their children to convince them to
likewise shy away from it - though not with a
hundred percent success.
A group of young braves
led by Peter Mendolsohn elected to spend a night on
the old ship but long before the village clock
struck midnight they were back in their
homes, terrified and half-delirious, telling
incomprehensible tales of wild revels and phantom
rituals. Peter's sister, Sally, was hysterical,
alternatively weeping and shrieking as she gazed
about her in horror, purple bruises evident on her
arms and thighs were, she said, ghost pirates had
tried to molest her
and drag her down an open hatchway into the depths
of the ship.
The next morning a party of men
investigated the wreck, inch by inch,
but could find no evidence of anything
extraordinary: the wreck was nothing more than what
Even Sally Mendolsohn's bruises of
the night before had vanished completely and all
the men and women could do was cross themselves and
make sure their children were home early in the
evening, safely protected behind closed doors and
snuggled up between warm sheets.
following night, spectral lights were seen
trembling in the rigging of the cast-up ship and
strange coarse cries came drifting down along the
shore towards the town, good people turned their
gaze away and made sure their doors and windows
were bolted and shuttered tightly.
To no avail
did they prevail upon the Mayor and priest to
exorcise the terrible ship.
Though the holyman
performed the prescribed ritual and sprinkled the
decks of the offending vessel with sacred water,
that very same evening the cries of revelry sounded
yet louder and weird red fires joined the emerald
and sapphire ones already burning in the rigging
The next day a deputation of
men led by the retired Colonel Armistice sought to
set the hulk alight but in a ghastly accident
the Colonel slipped upon the oil they had
doused the rotten planks with and the
tinderbox his assistant was carrying somehow
ignited and the pair of them were engulfed in livid
yellow flames, living torches of screaming flesh.
Yet the ship itself was undamaged -
fire guttering out once it had done its evil
The rest of the party fled as swiftly as
their boots might carry
night for the past week the sound of drunken
revelry and worse kept coming from the beached
pirate ship grew worse. What is more, a
strange illness seemed to afflict a great many of
the women of the town.
Curiously, it was only the youngest
and the prettiest that appear to be
looked with scorn upon their husbands, sweethearts
and brothers, speaking derisively to the
good men of the town with devilish laughter lurking
in their eyes and increasingly lascivious
ring-leader seems to be a certain Molly Hopkins, a
woman of loose reputation who until recently worked
as a bar-maid in the Green Mermaid, a less than
salubrious drinking house in the poorer part of
town where the old harbour used to be.
openly she and her friends parade the streets at
twilight, making bold suggestions to respectable
folk and laughing immodestly.
Two nights ago,
I'm told, Ms Hopkins even bared a breast at
the outraged priest, inviting him to
a communion altogether of the flesh.
young girls ignore the curfews set by worried
parents and stalked the streets beneath the
waxing moon, strange suggestive songs upon their
lips. Questioned the following day about
their nocturnal excusions they denied all knowledge
of them or looked scornfully at their interrogator,
keeping a knowledgeable and haughty silence, lips
turned up in barely disguised sneers.
night I went to inspect my own daughters bedroom
before my wife and I retired for the evening only
to find her bed quite empty and the window open. A
strangely warm and tropical breeze blew through the
September streets and on it came the sounds of
drunkenness and revelry. Between the swaying
silhouettes of unfamiliar trees, red, green and
weird blue lights twinkled like the eyes of
swollen Moon rose from out of the sea a wild and
terrible noise filled the skies and I knew then
beyond all reason or doubt that our little town was
utterly and irrevocably doomed...
strange tale of the open waters that surround our
World of Islands MW. The End
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