"He’s so old he can barely put on his own socks, let alone decipher old maps”
large black ship sailed on the ocean. At the helm of the ship stood a tall man with a patch over one eye and a wooden peg in place of his left leg. He wore a long cape that barely concealed the pistol tucked into his sash and the saber dangling next to his leg.
A heavyset man with a brutish face and wide shoulders appeared at the captain’s side.
“Captain, I have bad news….”
“What is it, John?”
“The passage between the Straits of Majerto seems not to lead where we wanted to go.”
The captain slammed his fist onto the railing of the ship.
“How could this be? Another mistake? Another two weeks of wasted time?”
“Don’t worry Captain, we will find the island eventually.”
“Oh, I have no doubt about that. My dream will be fulfilled one day, one way or the other. I only fear that by the time we finish our long voyage there won’t be too many men still standing by my side. Our food supply is depleted and so is our money. We can’t afford to be making all of these navigational errors!”
“I agree…. If I may be so bold as to speak my mind…?”
“Thank you. I believe that most of the time we’ve spent spinning in circles across the ocean is due to the blunders of the man you’ve hired to be the ship’s chronicler and mapper.”
“You think Kotty is at fault?”
“I have no doubt. He’s so old he can barely put on his own socks, let alone decipher old maps.”
The captain sighed.
“Summon him to me immediately.”
John, the captain’s right-hand man, turned to summon Kotty, when suddenly something appeared on the horizon.
“Captain, there’s a ship heading straight toward us!”
“Aye, I see it. Sound the alarm and gather the sailors with their weapons. Load the cannons and prepare for battle. If anyone means to test our firepower, let them have it.”
“Aye, aye, Captain.”
Moments later the sound of a horn blasted through the air. Close to 50 sailors armed with swords and pistols assembled on the deck. As the oncoming ship drifted closer it became obvious that there was no threat.
“It’s a ghost ship, boys. Put your weapons down.”
The captain peered through his telescope with his one good eye.
“There doesn’t seem to be anyone on board. I see several cannon holes punched into her hull. She’s taking in water and beginning to tilt. I reckon she’ll capsize before the day is over.”
John sheathed the ax he kept slung across his back.
“Should we just steer around her, then?”
“No, prepare to board.”
“You heard me. There may be treasures aboard. And if you find any living souls, bring them to me unharmed. Now gather a few light-footed sailors and go!”
(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 797)
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