🐬 In the gray false dawn, when sea and sky meet seamlessly in mist, ghost ships with tattered sails form silently in the fog. Crewed by the memories of men and piloted by unseen hands, the hapless vagabonds forever sail, caught in a twilight world; endlessly searching for escape from their fate.
See for yourself the doomed vessels that ride storm-tossed seas.
Then take in the tale of the ghost ship Trouvaille, adapted from my fantasy novel Children of the Pearl.
The storyteller is a sailor who has lived his life on the sea. The one thing he fears is being shipwrecked and left to die alone on an island:
“A ship could come by. Isn’t that possible?” the sailor was asked.
“Aye,” he glumly agreed, “someday. Then again, it mayn’t be one I’d be willin’ to board. There be death ships and ghost ships, don’t you know.
“To sea I’ve been for many a year, and many a fearful tale I’ve heard of unwholesome ships pickin’ up a castaway. Aye, take the Trouvaille, as ill-fated a vessel as ever took to the open sea. ‘Tis the stuff of nightmares.
“The Trouvaille was a grand merchant ship a-voyagin’ home, her holds stuffed with riches from the Far East. But on an ill-omened night, a dreadful squall set upon her, and it carried and dropped her atop a strange, lifeless sea.
“The next day, battered a mite but unbroken, she sat listless on an ocean like glass beneath a cloudless sky, with not a breath of wind to ripple her sails. All around her, air and sea were a-shimmerin’ in the heat.
“That day was like the next and the next and the next, and days became a week, then two, then three. Swelterin’ and cursin’ their luck, the cap’n and crew watched their food and water disappear. Too late, the wind took pity, and Trouvaille‘s canvas sheets swelled.
“She was sighted by another merchant ship, Liberté, along the outer boundary of that strange sea, but she was only a silhouette against the full round of a risin’ moon. Recognizin’ the lines of her, Liberte‘s cap’n hailed Trouvaille. But nothin’ moved on the deck. She just rocked and creaked, the waves a-slappin’ at her sides.
“With his glass, the cap’n looked her over and thought he saw a body at the helm, but it dinna answer his hails.
“’No use in a-searchin’ her by night,’ advised the first mate. ‘Right you are,’ the cap’n agreed. ‘At dawn, I’ll send a crew to see what’s amiss.’
“But they never did. In the night, Trouvaille vanished. Legend says she sailed back to that lifeless sea, where she be sighted now and then, a lone seaman at her helm, both searching for the missing crew and a cap’n who will pilot her home at last.”
Then the sailor leaned in and raised a questioning brow to ask, “So, to get off an island, would you be boardin’ such a ship as that?”