Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Flying Dutchman

flying-dutchman

For centuries, sailors around the world have told the legend of a cursed ghost ship, named The Flying Dutchman, which sails around the ocean aimlessly, haunting the imaginations of seafarers. There have been tales of late-night lookouts in the crow’s nest of a ship seeing a ghost ship passing their bow. Men swear on their lives that the cursed ship, The Flying Dutchman, was seen sailing past them. There are many versions of the story; here’s mine:

Several hundred years ago, there lived a Dutch sea captain of fearsome temperament, by the name of Willem Van der Decken. He was a staunch seaman, and would have his own way in spite of the weather. His ship sailed through the stormiest seas, and fared the hardest routes. For all that, never a sailor under him had reason to complain; though how it was on board with them nobody knows.

It is told that Van der Decken was on his way to the Dutch East Indies when a terrible storm struck the Cape of Good Hope. The first mate gave the captain the advice to wait for the storm to pass. Van der Decken replied: “May I be eternally damned if I do, though I should beat about here till the day of judgment. After he spoke the storm disappeared and the sea became calm. Then there was a voice from above: “Willem van der Decken, thou shall sail until Judgement Day!”

So the Flying Dutchman became the curse of the seas. Any ship that met him became a ship of ill fortune. No sailor would sail on her, any trader would refuse to deal in its wares. And if any ship came within hailing distance, the Dutchman’s crew would shout and call to them, begging them to deliver messages to loved ones long dead. Whenever there are heavy storms, mortal sailors will see a black ship, sailing on until the Day of Judgement.

But even in the midst of despair, The Dutchman was left with just one small hope. The captain could he be released from his avowed curse and eternal cruise through the love of a woman, one who would love him beyond death; and he might come ashore once each seven years to find her.

So now, condemned to travel the seas forever, making landfall once every seven years in a hopeless search for salvation, the Flying Dutchman can only find eternal peace in the arms of a loving woman.