Once upon a time in a marina not so far away loved a happy sea captain and his little wife. He dreamed of the day when his boat would be finished and he and his wife could sail off into the wonder of the sea. He worked so hard, trying to keep on schedule that sometimes he forgot the little things, like telling her he loved her very much and how he appreciated her help and devotion. But, after all, she knows that and he should not have to tell her. He is building his dream for them.

Many years later the boat was finished. The hours of labor for him and indentured servitude for her were at an end. The great day had come! It was the time to cut the umbilical cord that connected them to the security of home. Once away from the docks a strange reverse metamorphosis took place. As if a water witch (not to be confused with a dowsing rod of the same name) had cast an evil spell and transformed a beuatiful butterfly back into a hairy crawly caterpillar.

The sea captain became a bellowing tyrant. His devoted little first mate could do no right. Everybody knows that a ship can only have one captain. That is the law of the sea. The little boat headed south -- 32 degrees, 31 degrees -- deeper and deeper into the mysterious foreign land called TACOS. Each day brought more uncertainty and the captain became more and more uneasy and shouted orders at his little crew member. Day after day, torment from the captain and the sea. Then one day they rounded a point of land and there before them was the fabled city of Corn Cabo.

The captain steered his little boat through the maze of other boats and brought her to rest. After safely securing her to the bottom, the captain retired into a blissful sleep. When he awoke he called to his crew to share with her the feeling of accomplishment that he felt. For now the ugly caterpillar was once again a butterfly. He called and called, but no one was there. He searched and found a note which simply read:

"One day you built a sailing ship,

   it was a mighty ark.

You built it sound and water tight

   on a trip you would embark.

You hewed it from the finest wood

   and filled its seams with tar.

You sewed its sails of imported silks

   so you could travel far.

You formed its crew with hand-picked skill

   whose strength and wit and dare

   would humble the greatest sailor

   and would make your foes beware.

But one by one your crew dropped off,

   it was truly a mutiny.

You were like a frightened sailor

   upon a troubled sea.

You were first mate,second mate, bosun;

   it was a curious realm.

You were an admiral of nothing

   but you were at the helm.

Oh that ship, that mighty ship

   turned out to be a barge.

For you built it not to travel,

   but so you could be in charge."

Printed with the permission of G. D. Morgan.

Other Stories

November 9, 2012
© 1997-2012 Phillip Landmeier