A Real Pirate ?
It was a HOT morning, too hot to do anything without a cool shade above one’s head. I was reading a storybook about pirates when I heard the rustling of leaves and a soft thud on the grass, coming from my bedroom window facing towards our quite overgrown backyard. I was by the window in a thrice and tried looking for the source of noise which was defiantly prevented by the bars of my window. I could not see anything because of the overgrowth. I thought about going down to my backyard now. Since everyone in the house was sleeping, I tip-toed downstairs and went to my backyard. As I said before it was very hot turns out I was wrong, it was actually very very hot I could only open my eyes by squinting hard at the ground. But I was determined to find it as my belonging have been many a times lost when I delayed my search for it.
After a good 10 minutes in the burning sun, I noticed a sort of notebook. I was sure it was not part of my backyard. So, from under the rose bush I picked it up and raced to my room.
Oh! Such a relief to be in my room again. I was sweating from head to toe and was sipping vigorously from a bottle of lemonade which I just took out from the refrigerator. I took “the notebook” and started to study it. My storybook lay open in my bed its pages wavering madly due the speeding ceiling fan. It was a sort of diary with a fairly new cover. The pages were battered and yellow with time. The pages looked like they would fall to dust the moment they were touched.
On the first page there were the initials F.F.S. It read “Capt. Francis Spriggs”. I waited for midnight to come and as everyone fell asleep, I started reading the diary. It was written in very small, curving handwriting. It was very difficult to read the writing in the light of the torch under a blanket. From what I gathered in the first 50-65 pages is that Capt. Francis Spriggs is a sailor who is most supposedly unparalleled in the looting of coastal countries. He was one of the most wanted Sailor or should I say pirate of his time ,1600’s.
I was very sleepy at this point so I just put the torch out, the diary under bed and fell asleep. Next morning, I did all my morning chores including doing a bit of trimming of the backyard with my father. Then I went to my room with some fruitcake and lemonade, closed the door and took out the diary of Capt. Francis Spriggs. I stopped reading it for some time to refill my bottle of lemonade and stretch my legs. I had finished reading the diary after about a couple of hours. I could not understand some sections of it as it was written in old English. There was a very interesting entry though.
I am currently marooned in an apparently deserted island. Withal no food and endless salty water.
This all befell when mine ship was caught in a particularly savage storm in the middle of sea. I am most supposedly the only survivor of this shipwreck. Methought of mine wealth, mine people, mine hard work shall all hast been in vain. All of it lost. Mine only personal belongings left are mine shabby apparel, an ink-pot, sword, and mine diary.”
After 13 days of no entries.
I am writing this from a ship which rescued me after mine extreme hardships on the island where I solely survived with coconut water and seaweed. I thank the lord for saving me from, what looked like inevitable perpetual wink. I now want some good night’s sleep after mine hearty supper.”
Again after 2 days.
The thought of mine perpetual wink hath lingered in mine mind from the time of the shipwreck. What would befall to mine riches? Mine wealth? Mine blood, sweat? all gone in wain. Yet the lord granted me another chance to not let mine life’s work to vain. I shall be forever grateful to thee. Ay, i hast decided to hide mine wealth somewhere safe, somewhere occulted where men whom never deserve it canst not find these riches.”
I was blown away. The thought of this diary of an actual pirate coming to me would not have occurred to me in, ever. I probably had a museum piece just lying in my desk. I wanted to tell someone about it but who? I thought of my parents but they would probably give it to the museum. I thought of my friends, yeah, they would probably understand.
I was still in this dilemma when my mother called me for dinner. I gave the diary a final glance, carefully put it under the bed and then went to dinner, content, and satisfied. I would call my friend over tomorrow and discuss it with my friends.
Next day, all three of my friends Sam, Howard and Raj were sitting in front of me with looks of concern, excitement, and confusion respectively. I showed them the diary. They turned it over in their hands and awed in turn. It was pretty cool watching them mesmerized.
Raj asked me cautiously, “Where did you get that?”
Sam spoke jokingly before I could start “In his backyard, of course!”
“Actually, yeah.” I replied. And then I explained to them how I got the book.
Sam asked “Well. What are you gonna do about it?”
I replied by shrugging my shoulders. Howard said with twinkling eyes “We should find the treasure because you know, pirates used to have treasures.”
“Yeah, but those are just stories. How are we gonna do that Genius?” Raj said sarcastically.
We were silent for about two minutes then I said “Well. What about this? We go to the city library and do some research about this Capt. William Jack. Howard remarked “Good idea. Considering we have nothing to do this afternoon.” “Okay that is settled then will take our bicycles and go to the city library. Everyone will take their bicycles and we will meet there at 4 pm.” said Sam with an air of a guardian.
There we looked at the history section for about half an hour. Me and Sam were almost giving up the search when Raj’s voice was heard clearly in the silent library “Eureka!” All of us ran towards the voice. Raj was standing with an old book named “The general History of Pirates”. A man stared at us with a red hat, cold staring eyes and moustache. We took the book to the librarian. Raj thumped the book in the librarian’s desk and asked the old woman “Can you tell us about this man?” The woman looked at us and then looked at the picture. She turned the book over saw the name of the book on the cover.
Then she smiled and said “What is with people and asking about this person?” We waited for her to continue. She said that his full name was “Captain Francis Farrington Spriggs”. She said that this was a pirate from the 1700’s. He was a notorious pirate who fed his prisoners candle wax. He was a quartermaster, an officer with responsibility for steering and signals of Capt. Edward Low. One day, Francis and George Lowther deserted Low and started their own crew. She paused and catching her breath continued “That is that. I said this exact thing to the man who came 2 days ago. He asked me if someone had handed in some sort of diary of this man, Capt. Spriggs.” Howard and Sam looked at me with big eyes.
We thanked the librarian then left the library, except Raj went to put the book back. We talked about what to do about the diary when Raj came running towards us. Howard asked him “What took you so long?” He panted and looked at us with shining eyes without answering. After catching his breath, he said “Let’s go!” and jumped on his bicycle. I asked “To where?” He looked back at us, smirked, and said “Follow me.”
We crossed block after block following Raj. Finally, he stopped at the front of a run-down house with an overgrown garden. We went down the path and rang the doorbell.
A parrot was heard from the other side of the door “Intruder, Intruder, Intruder” in a monotonous tone. “Shut up, Nabber” a man yelled. We winced at the yell. The door was slowly opened and a man of about 70 years of age at the door said “Oh! It is little kids. What do you want?” with a slight impatience in his voice. I was shocked this was the living image of Capt. Francis Spriggs. The image was still clear in my memory. There was those moustache, pipe, and impatient expression. The only thing missing was the cold staring eyes.
He asked again “What?” Sam was the first to recover. Quickly he replied “Do you know Capt. Francis Spriggs?” He stared at us for a moment and then replied “Yes. He was my great, great granddad. Did you know he was a sailor? One of the greatest of his time. He had a fortune which could last centuries. But maybe it was my destiny. I got robbed when I was of your age (Here he pointed at Howard, who was the shortest of us). My father was a heart-broken man those days, only working to feed me and my mother (A tear rolled down his left cheek). Sam hastily said “We did not want to make you sad.”
Raj started solemnly “Mr. Edward” he paused a bit and continued “I believe that something else was stolen from you, quite recently.” The man gawped at Raj and said nothing but nodded slowly. He beckoned to me “The diary.” I handed it to him from my pocket. The old man was given the diary in his shaking hands. He went shuffling inside and brought out a knife, slit the back cover open and heaved a sigh of relief. There gleamed 5-6 neat rows of gold coins. It was all for us to see the old man smile. He told us to wait and quickly shuffled inside the room. He shuffled out with a big tin of cookies and said joyously “I feel twenty years younger. You do not know what this means to me. Not just because of the gold coins, no, no, no also because this is the last relic of my great, great granddad, a family heirloom. Thank you, kids! I hope I could give you something more. Wait, actually ………”
All my three friend and me were sitting in my room under the cool ceiling fan. Raj was saying “So when you guys left the library. I went up to the librarian and asked who was the man who asked about the diary, where he lived and his name. I hope it answers your question how I knew so much about the man, Mr Edward Spriggs.” He finished with a sigh and was expecting applause (which he did get). Howard said “Shouldn’t we return the favour of him giving each of us a gold coin and such tasty cookies?” We all agreed.
We parked our bicycles at the gate and rang the doorbell. The expected parrot’s cry was not heard. We knocked at the door but were surprised to find that it was already open. We went inside the house. It needed dire need of renovation. Water was leaking from the roof from at least five different places. We started looking at each of the room. At last, we found the bedroom where he was lying peacefully on the bed snoring, the diary beside him and a content smile on his face.
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