A Pirate’s Tale. Part I

 

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Once upon a time there was a little girl named Hope. She was named as such because it was a belief in Pirate’s tradition that women brought bad luck on board. But her father thought, if his daughter was Hope itself, she would counter the superstition and bring good fortune to the ship and crew. And so Hope was raised in the midst of brutal men, gold and lust thirsty.

Every time the ship made port, the men would hurry on land to squander their booty on grog and women. Now Hope’s father, the Captain, wasn’t one of those men. And she often observed him counting his pieces of eight and putting them away for safe-keeping. As for the women she encountered while on land, all of them without exception would tell her to be careful of men. “Big, nasty and vile creatures darlin’. All they want from you is one thing, and once you give it to them… Well… Ye might as well be walkin’ the plank.”

But none of these women did walk the plank… So there must be some hope in men little Hope thought. Not that she cared much about men though.

Little Hope had bigger thoughts occupying her brain, she wanted to sail the seas, just like her father, and her grandfather before her. She wanted to command a ship and see many many horizons.

And so little Hope grew up to be a fearless sailor. Everyone who met her called her Lucky, but she knew no luck was part of it. Determination, or lack thereof, guided her path.

When the time came to be right, her captain of a father gave her control of one of the vessels in his fleet. Young Hope was ecstatic. Thought it wasn’t full freedom yet, it was the first step towards it.

And so she learned to navigate the smaller ship, and more importantly, deal with her crew. There she was alone in this task, and not well versed in dealing with men’s egos and hidden feelings. And so she thought that no weakness should be shown. No mercy and no compassion would transpire in her words or on her face, even if her heart was bleeding. And thus she was dubbed Cold Hope from her crew. Not to her face of course, they were too scared, but in secret, when they thought she wouldn’t hear.

But of course, the ship was small and the wind carried the words to her ears. Gossip. She knew well of the concept, she knew she was often the subject of it of course, but she didn’t understand why. Wasn’t this the basis of human interaction: whomever shows feelings is the weakest? And why would she want to be considered weak? No chance in hell.

Under that cold cold shell though was a very big, very red, and very much beating heart. And even though her eyes would often reveal her passion and compassion, her words and actions would not. Ever.

And thus with such a conflicted character, Hope continued to grow into a fearsome leader.Masts of a Sinking Ship circa 1825 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851

One day that the fleet came ashore, she wandered through the bird market. And there she saw two Parrots in one cage. One was big, bright red and immediately caught her eye, what a magnificent creature she thought. The other paled in comparison, much smaller and in a vague green, perhaps a bit of blue there, with missing feathers from the neck. And yet she couldn’t stop staring at the two and how they were behaving towards each other. “Aye, they are the bestest of friends these two.” Said the merchant. “Really? Asked Hope, seems to me that the red one would be better off without the other.”

“Doubtful milady, although the red one gives me such a hard time and always tries to escape the cage, eventually she always comes back to her mate. Blasted creature though, I can’t sell ‘em! No one wants the shabby green but if I separate the two, they’ll surely die.”

“Is that so?” wondered Hope, “Alright, I’ll take them both.” And as she said so, she opened the cage to see the bright red Parrot flying away to the next cage and sliding herself into a huge Cockatoo’s cage. Hope instantly grew scared that the red Parrot would find herself fighting the Cockatoo. The merchant, observing the young lady said: “Not to fret milady, that Parrot’s as friendly as it gets. She’d make a wolf carry her on his back if she ever met one.” And indeed it seemed that the Cockatoo did not mind the intruder in her cage, didn’t even flap a wing as she was eating her food. “How funny. How does she do it?”

“Aye, I’ve got my suspicions milady, they say Parrots know when to speak and when to stay silent, and remind you to stay clear of gossip.” Said the merchant with twinkling eyes.

Hope didn’t understand what he meant, still she slid her hand in the cage to take the Parrot with her, which the red creature did diligently while the cockatoo was biting Hope’s fingers. “Well clearly he doesn’t like me as much!”

The merchant laughed: “Listen to the lovebirds milady, they’ve much to teach.”

red parrot

Hope still didn’t understand what he meant. But still she felt happy taking the two creatures to their new home.

When the men saw their captain coming back, they couldn’t believe their eyes. Was she really able to care for such insignificant creatures? And so by bringing back the two animals, Hope hadn’t realized that she was actually showing a piece of her heart.

She cared very much for the two little things, and so did all the crew. And Hope saw that her men grew incredibly fond of the birds, claiming strong emotional attachment to them, talking about feelings the way she’d never heard a man talk before. And it seems that she too was showing her true colors when in company of the birds. And so her men saw her in a different light.

Seeing everyone’s action changing, Hope learned that only when showing a bit of emotion, she would get emotions back from the people surrounding her. And so she practised and practised, giving a bit of this, or a bit of that and seeing how the pirates would react. And she learned that men where as clueless as her when it came to emotional communication.

Why was it seen as a weakness in their world?

Hope didn’t know. But she didn’t really have time to think of it, her father had given her a bigger ship, more men older and younger, new techniques to learn, to manoeuver the vessel and the crew…

Manipulation she had become good at though. Not really thinking about it, but maybe just by observing the two birds interacting, she had learned the words and intonations to use for this or that purpose. It was nice to make people want to help you rather than shout orders at them while trying to inspire fear.

And thus Hope grew to be at peace with fear.

Sunset over Yellow-Green Waters circa 1840 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851To be continued…

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6 thoughts on “A Pirate’s Tale. Part I

  1. Pingback: A Pirate’s Tale. Part II | Stella in the sun

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