‘Tis mighty strange and portentous tidings I bring ye today. For, while we have been out to sea this last month and more, the seas were so becalmed that I did believe that I would have naught to tell in the taverns on our return to port.
All changed on our very first night in port. We had sailed in, as is our habit, under cover of an overcast night sky, keeping the Black Jack hidden even from the light of the moon.
The first mate was sent ashore, to confirm that the bumbling but deadly fleet of Admiral Sodot of the Royal Navy had not captured the port. ‘Twas close to midnight when the Cabin Boy did knock on my Cabin Door to tell me that the Watch needed me above decks. I had been a-soaking my wooden teeth in brandy, to kill the worms. But I had to cram my mouth with them as I went, for I knew that if the Mate had returned with fell news we would have to weigh anchor at once.
But above decks, the Mate wasn’t to be seen. Instead, walking up the gangplank was a long-horned steer. Pirates are masters of the sea, but less sure of the Landlubber ways of livestock. I approached with cutlass drawn, my eyes carefully watching the points of those horns for any sign of treachery.
It was the Cabin Boy who first saw the writing. Branded across the side of the the cow-
PIRATES. HISTORY HAS COME TO CLAIM YOU. THE SEA HAS NO PLACE ON THE PEOPLE’S RANGE –
That final piece carried on around onto the far side of the cow.
The steer is even now cooking in pieces below decks and the men are looking forward to a change from hard tack and rum and lime mixers. But I am troubled this night.