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Captain Pigheart’s Chelonian Adventure

Gaargh, an’ welcome back me hearties, tis kind of ye parson to invite such a roguish fellow as I to be speakin to ye fine young mites all done up in yer Sunday bests. It be many moons since last I came to an ‘ouse of the lord on ‘is ‘Oly day. tis not that I have no faith young laddie, tis more the exclusion order slapped upon yon pirate pal before ye, by a fine magistrate named ‘Bedfellow’ upon whom I have since been revenged. Yaaargh, the fellow’ll be spendin’ time a-bed no more. Apologies father, I’ll get to ye point.

Me lads an’ I’d been sailin’ through a miserable and brutish fog for many days. There were little wind so we had naught to do but play hangman with ye prisoners seized durin’ our last exploit on the mysterious isle of Ibiza. Yarr, as’t turned out they spoke mainly Spanish and could no more spell ‘yard-arm’ than they could wriggle from out their nooses. After that time dragged slower than me tortoise mascot, Neville.

‘An yet, one day the foggy thinned and me lookout cried ‘Land! Land ho!’ Gaaargh, ‘twas well to see a shoreline once more, even one so alien to us as this ‘un. We’d travelled many days a-fogged and so we ‘ad not the foggiest as to our present location. We drew in close enough to land for anchor and I led the beach party made up of my best crew. I took Mick o’ course, Barry (called Sharon by night), Kanagawa – an exotic fellow from the far East, an’ me first mate, Billy No Mates.

The lads rowed us to shore. On the way we saw the curious symmertry o’ th’ island, but ‘twas fresh water and provisions we sought, and perchance treasure, so we noted it not.

Kanagawa led us in some devilish Eastern exercise which stretched parts I’d never wanted to know I ‘ad. Barry an’ Mick trapped some o’ the birds what nested upon the island. Billy went a-wanderin’ in search o’ some vegetables, for that’s ‘is nature. I detached me spare parts and gave ‘em a rinse in the freshwater pools from which we filled our barrels.

Afore we headed back to ye ship Cack-Handed Mick started up a fire for the roastin’ o’ some dinghy-snack. An’ that were what proved our undoin’. Where sometimes we’ve ‘ad whole herds o’ native loons come spear-ready at us, we had none o’ it, bar the sudden shaking o’ the ground at our feet.

Mightily afeard we leaped into the dinghy and rowed like madmen for the ship. Once upon deck we leaned out to see the queer isle as it rolled over in the ocean to be replaced in our sight by a pair o’ huge flippers and a giant, fearsomely gaping physog. Ye could feel the varmint lookin’ at ye, much as ye’d regard a bacon butty after a month at sea eatin’ Mick’s weevil stew. With but a few mighty strokes the kraken-like fiend did embrace the Lollipop with ‘is beaky jaws. There were much screamin’, and then ‘twas all dark.

The first clue that we were not yet dead was the remarkable stench violatin’ our nostrils. Second were the screamin’ issuin’ forth from me wretched crew. Once Billy’d the torches lit and the lamps a-burnin’, we realised what had truly befallen us, and I think Kanagawa spoke for us all when he said “we’re all going to die”. The crew put forth that we’d been swallered by a whale or somesuch hogwash. But it seemed to me that the beast was neither whale nor fish but rather some gigantic relation to my dear tortoise Neville, perched atop me shoulder, where I’d nailed ‘im fer safety.

Its turtlin’ qualities accounted for the island’s roundness and o’ course the Large Pan-Atlantic Terrapin swallows its prey whole with a hunger rivalled only by Billy’s piteous need for a friend. I owes me knowin’ o’ turtles to one drunk afternoon on the poop-deck with Neville, a spyglass and curious state o’ mind. And so I laid out me fishy knowledge to me quailin’ crew and of our likely fate – bein’ slowly digested over several years, lest we starve or be drowned by a thirsty turtle. ‘Twas not promisin’.

Gaaargh. To be honest I think Kanagawa just snapped… he commandeered me dinghy and rowed vigorously o’er the beast’s bumpy tongue – sadly towards the belly not the beak. We thought him doomed till an eddy twisted the dinghy, jammin’ Kanagawa sidelong into the turtle’s gullet. Then the tongue began to buck beneath us, tossin’ the Lollipop to an’ fro like a pickled walnut in a preservin’ jar rollin’ about ye table. Gaargh, then ‘twere messy as the turtle choked further on the dinghy and its spasms rammed the mast o’ the Lollipop into the roof of its vast mouth.

We dangled there for a moment like a child’s mobile. It throat spasmed again, then, with a veritable geyser of regurgitation we were spewed out onto the sea. We fairly skipped across the waves till we came to a stop, turtle-puke drippin’ from the sails and every man jack of us. ‘Twas a moment afore the dinghy, Kanagawa heroic at the helm, followed us in a vomitous arc, right into a feedin’ frenzy o’ sharks. I’d see him feed such fishies as these afore, as curator o’ the Japanese Fish Palace, though normally with a stick. The giant Trans-Atlantic Terrapin sank out o’ sight as queasy as a sober man seein’ Barry in’s womanly guise.

Gaargh, we scrubbed the decks an’ the riggin’ till we hit upon land once more. After so close an escape as this I found meself turnin’ to God. I thought to find meself a priest and confess me sins, lest a greater tragedy befall us sooner. I’d but lightly touched upon me incarceration and transport in the belly of a giant sea creature (an’ the epiphany I’d suffered upon me escape) when I were struck an’ hounded out the church by a horde o’ crazed Catholics denouncin’ me blasphemy. ‘T think I once thought of takin’ the cloth… which we did later, there bein’ quite a market in the colonies.

I were chased to the Lollipop where we were assailed wi’ torches and the flame o’ their passion. Turned out that the turtle’s chunder had proofed me whole vessel ‘gainst their fiery outrage. Though not me first mate, Billy who was afire until some kindly comrade shoved him overboard; I’d’ve helped him meself, but he’s not me mate. Somewhat put out by this, the locals bade us come ashore for a more personal burnin’ at ye stake. We politely declined and pounded their church wi’ cannon as we took our leave.

Yaargh, ‘twas in the very next port that ye legal papers came through. Though by then we’d earned it, what with our brief stay at the nunnery on the Isle of Letch; arr, they were lonely souls, even Billy almost found a friend upon that bleak rock.

Still, it has been a pleasure to join ye Sunday school today. Would there be any questions for ye Cap’n children?

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