The Boy Who Became a Captain
By Jaimie Lastname
Once upon a time, a young boy with blue eyes and blonde hair by the name of James was born into a very poor and raggedy town. Not many people in that world had money, and those few who did refused to give any to the poor ones. The boy was part of the ones who had no money.
His family lived in the shadow of a castle on a hill. His mother and three older siblings worked for the duke and duchess who lived in the castle. His father had been killed just a few months before the boy was considered old enough to work with his family.
Without a father to teach him things that only fathers can teach their children, what was the boy to do? Find a replacement father? Well James found that his oldest sibling, a man who had a son of his own was able to teach him the things fathers normally taught their sons. He turned out to be a fine young man by the age of sixteen.
While Jason grew up, he found himself admiring the captains and sailors who went off to sea so often. He would make up adventures and stories in his head about the magnificent adventures that he thought captains and sailors might have at sea, and he wished that he could be just like those sea-going men when he was a man.
By the time the boy was sixteen he was a tall and lanky young man with a mop of hair on his head and what most people thought to be a heart of gold. He was also just barely old enough to be considered a man. He had worked for the duke and duchess in the manor on top of the hill near his home for practically all of his life. He had been honest all of his life, never stealing things from his rich masters and always minding the word of his mother. He still aspired to become like the captains and sailors who went to sea though.
So with the clothes on his back and a hat on his head James travelled to the dock on the bay. There were many ships at port that day, as well as a few small fishing boats. Almost all of the ships he went to denied him a job as a sailor for fear that the raggedy young man was just looking for a place to rob.
One of the captains he went to listened to his story though.
“Oh captain, I’m just a boy who has worked for a duke and duchess on top of a hill for all my life,” the young man explained, “I have always yearned to work on the sea since I was a boy, I work hard and I appreciate what has been given to me.”
The captain understood how the man felt and allowed him on board as a rigger on his ship, which had taken the name The Phantom. That day the entire ship and crew left the land the boy had lived his entire sixteen years of life for Asia.
James spent a good five years on that ship, working his way up from his first job as rigger to Carpenter to Sailing Master in such a short time. By the time the man returned to his homeland he was as muscular as a farmer and just short of leather tan, but the mop of blonde hair on his head made him easily recognizable by those he knew growing up, though it was quite a bit longer than it was when he was sixteen.
Many pretty girls had caught the attention of James during his five years of travel, but his attention had been caught by a pretty girl with dark hair and green eyes working at the tavern in his home land. Her name was Hannah Lily, and she was one of the most beautiful girls the man had ever seen. He struck up a conversation with her, flirting like young men did at that time.
After staying on land for several months with his fellow crew members and courting Hannah Lily, James eventually had to return to sea so he could trade goods with some men in Barbados. The heartbroken Hannah Lily begged for him to stay.
“My darling Hannah Lily, I may be gone for many weeks and months, but I’ll return as a captain and we’ll travel to Spain!” James promised the girl he had fallen in love with.
So he set off to sea the day after he made the promise with his crew and his captain. Many challenges arose, from being attacked by a band of pirates, to surviving some of the most violent storms James had seen, to dealing with the death of some of his closest friends. No challenge was as great as the death of the captain though.
The captain of the The Phantom, you see, was an old man by the time James had turned twenty-three years old. He was very close to the hearts of many crew members, but he trusted no one as much as he trusted James. The two had a great gap in age, but that didn’t mean they weren’t great friends.
“James, you have become even greater than I. No matter what,” croaked the old captain. He broke into a fit of coughs, “you must become captain. I trust no one else but you, boy, with this position.”
The two friends parted ways when the captain gave his last breath. James had no tears in his eyes but he felt as if he had just been shot in the heart. He stepped on to the deck and announced the death of the captain and that he was now taking his position. No one argued with this statement because they knew how much power James had.
Somewhere along the way, the trip that should have lasted just a few months ended up lasting two whole years. By the time Captain James returned to his home with The Phantom and his crew so he could see his Hannah Lily, he found that she had gone off and married a rice farmer in another town. Heartbroken, he returned to the battered old ship he had known for seven whole years and went to sea one last time with his crew.
The boy who became a captain had just figured out that his one true love was the salty spray and the blue waves, the stars in the sky and the moon guiding his way. The boy who became a captain had always loved the sea.