Ahoy me hearties!
To celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day (Wednesday 19 September) we set our Facebook followers a challenge, to write a pirate story that old Black Beard himself would be proud of. And our followers did not disappoint, with an imaginative and hilarious (yo-ho-ho) interpretation of all things pirate (and even some things that are not)!
Read below for the full collection of Facebook posts to see how the story unfolded.
Chapter one: A pirate without a name and the Pink Oyster
Illustration from sheet music cover ‘The Red Rover’s Song’. Lithographer William Endicott & Co. c 1859. ANMM Collection
It was a blustery day on th’ high seven seas ‘n our protagonist captain told his scurvy crew “set the sails, we have only five days ’til we reach th’ treasure before them scurvy pirate wenches on th’ Pink Oyster! We have to get that treasure first!”.The crew leapt to the ropes and riggings. Captain Albatross was a firm but fair leader and he made sure everything on board the Golden Venture was errr shipshape!
The pirating game was a cutthroat business and Albatross had seen many a sloppily run ship fail when things got serious. He knew he had one of the best ships around and his crew agreed.
The sailing was smooth for Albatross and the crew, ’twas soon nightfall and they were developing a thirst for whiskey and wenches. As Albatross got up to call the first mate, a wail bellowed over the decks of the ship, “arrrrrrrgggghhhhhh!” It was Albatross, fallen on the deck. “Me leg, me scurvy dog of a peg leg! It still be on the land. Arrrggghhhh!” The crew fell silent. They had travelled so far on their first day of sailing, dare they turn back for the captains’ leg?
“Aarrrr, Next time, no Pirate ship from Ikea” bellowed one of the crew, who had clearly been on ye ol’ grog since morning!
Just then Billy the cabin boy spoke up. “Arrrr, Captain, I been whittling you a new leg. It was fer yer birthday, see. But as it’s an emergency, you could have it now” He handed over a leg carved with ferocious sea beasties and mer people. “Look, it even flips open to hide stuff in”. It even has a place for your beer and a long straw. Thou u shan’t b drinkin whilst u drivin dis here boat now.
Chapter two: The missing peg leg, a battle at sea and the Allen key
Photograph by Samuel J Hood of a painting by G. F. Gregory depicting three sailing ships in battle. ANMM collection
“Me leg, me scurvy dog of a peg leg! Me only half a pirate not worthy of the Golden Venture without me leg,” said Captain Albatross of the Golden Venture, hopping on one foot. Billy the cabin boy stepped forward with a gift, “Arrrr, Captain, I been whittling you a new leg. It was fer yer birthday, see. But as it’s an emergency, you could have it now”. Captain Albatross beamed with a pirate’s glee and made use of the peg leg’s hidden compartment to stow away his treasure map and Ikea Allen key. There was a change in the wind which brought an almighty storm and the Pink Oyster, whose pirate wenches were ready for battle ensued a bloody war.The Pink Oyster wenches were led by one Poxy Polly – a buxsom girl of generous portions, with a mass of flaming red hair.
She ruled them with belaying pin in one hand an’ cutlass in the other and was feared by one and all.
There was only one regret in Poxy Polly’s life, that she had once given her heart to a man of the sea only for him to leave her. On that day she swore that there would come a day when she would get even with him. And, as she watched Golden Venture sail into sight, she knew that today was that day.
Albatross looked out on the rising seas lashing the Golden Venture. In the distance, he could see the Pink Oyster steering carefully through the waves. As the sunlight peeked through the clouds, he saw a glimmer of red from the deck of the Pink Oyster. “Shiver me timberrrs…” he grumbled. At this moment, first mate Sjörövare yelled, “out with your Allen keys, maties. Assemble the cannons”.
The Allen keys were whipped out, but a short delay followed while the crew coordinated themselves, deciding which language to use for the task. Albatross, meanwhile, stood stunned on the quarterdeck. Across the waves, drawing ever nearer, Poxy Polly hefted her cutlass. “I’ll cut yer other leg off, ye miserable ladies’ idiot feel sorry for me, an’ give ye something real t’ cry about”, she muttered. Her first mate was passing around chocolate to bolster the courage of the crew of the Oyster.
Chapter three: Eyes of lost lovers locked and an unexpected pit stop
‘Cygnet careened’ Etching by Geoffrey Chapman Ingleton (1908 – 1998). ANMM Collection
In the stormy battle between the mighty Golden Venture and the Pink Oyster, Ikea Allen keys a plenty assembling Swedish made cannons, time stood still as Captain Albatross and Poxy Polly locked eyes mid cutlass swing. “Avast! It cannot be…” Captain Albatross gasped. Visions rushed before his sunburnt eyes of a time long gone that were full of love shanties and a beautiful woman named Polly. “That’s right you miserable scurvy dog! It is I Poxy Polly, here to seek my revenge and take back what’s rightfully mine. Hand over the treasure map and the golden Allen key!” And with that, caught unaware, both ships ran aground, busted on reef and rocks surrounding an uncharted tropical island…Polly shoved Albatross off her and jumped up from the sand, where they’d been flung by the impact of the hulls on the rocks. She frowned at the unfamiliar island then levelled her cutlass at Albatross, only to find a pistol pointing to her nose. “Arrrgh,” she growled. Her cutlass dropped to the ground…but in a flash she ducked, wrenched the gun from Albatross and retrieved her weapon. She swung back to face him just in time to avoid his wooden leg…
On the deck of the Venture, the Poxy’s first mate was trying to plunder the Captain’s cabin. “ye’ll need an allen key for that,” Sjorovare smirked. “If ye get that map,” growled the first mate, Toebiter Tanless, “we can have the treasure without those two and take the ships for ourselves…”
And then ….. they heard a man cry “WILLLSSOONNNNNN!”
“WILLLSSOONNNNNN, WILLLSSOONNNNNN” called Ratus the Bilage Rat. Grumbling to himself he looked for his friend Willson th’ parrot. Willson had seen what was about to happen and taken safely to the air just in time. Ratus had never really wanted to be a Bilage Rat but it had been a family tradition passed on down from father to son. He had always dreamed of being a Rock star singing sea shanty’s in the Local Tavern.
Chapter four: A rat-parrot bromance, a mysterious survivor, a love (Bermuda) triangle and a fight to the finish for the island’s treasure!
Image of David Ashworth, survivor of the shipwrecked General Grant. ANMM Collection
Seeing a mutiny on their hands, Wilson signalled to Ratus that Captain Albatross’ ship was about to be ransacked by the crew. Little did Sjorovare and Toebiter Tanless know that the Allen key and treasure map was safely stowed in the Captain’s pegleg. Suddenly leaping forth from the island’s thick jungle, came a man dressed all in skins! Polly and the Captain froze in recognition, at the old rival for Polly’s love – a pirate thought long lost and gone in a doomed expedition for gold!Galloping Godfrey froze, as he took in the spectacle before him. In a voice cracking and squeaking from disuse he asked “what in blazing cannons is going on here?” Polly and Albatross both answered simultaneously “we’re looking for your treasure”. Godfrey leant over wheezing with laughter.
“Arrrh! And ye all be fools to seek for Treasure. For seven years I sailed the seven seas and of treasure I did seek. But the only treasure I ever did find was the love of a good woman here before me which I lost to the arms of another man”.
Wilson and Ratus caught sight of the old man and, as one, launched themselves at his toothless face, at the one who stole their most prized possessions. Still laughing, Godfrey toppled to the sand, something shining falling from his pocket. “He’s nuts” exclaimed Albatross. “No – the nuts….where’s that golden Allen key???” said Polly.
Untitled (Portrait of a woman). James Hall (1877-1951). ANMM Collection
A stiff breeze in the sails and a stiff drink in leg! Before too long Captain Albatross, his crew of miscreants and the jolly wenches of the Pink Oyster had decided to hunt for treasure together and start their new joint venture with a party. The swing of the party matched the pitch and toss of the surf. All was going swimmingly until Cap Albatross repeated a commonly used motif and stumbled into the arms of a buxom Pink Oyster Wench. Looking up with wiley gratitude in his eyes he asked “what’s your name….?” So the moral to our story be, should you ever go to sea, kiss goodbye the love of your life and don’t forget to pack a spare Allen Key!Thanks to our contributors: Natasha Coster, Vanessa Hill, Brendan O’Neill, Karen Charge, Jenny Baker, Nicholas Brocklebank, Rebecca Hackett and Jenny Drenkhahn.
For all those little pirates out there, you too can get into the pirate spirit at our Pirates! Children’s Adventure Land that opens on 22 September! Cut loose your cutlass and start practicing ya’ arrrrs!