Time for a bit of piracy, mates. Welcome to P. S. Bartlett who’s here to tell us about her newest book; Demons & Pearls, the Razor’s Adventures. Take it away, Peggy.
Articles of the Code of the Demon Sea
1. The captain of the ship is to be elected by a majority vote of the crew: If any time the crew finds just cause and sufficient evidence to prove the Captain unfit or the Captain is killed in battle, the Quartermaster shall act as Captain until the vote is taken. The Vote must be taken within one full day of its announcement. Failure to follow this procedure will be deemed mutiny.
2. Every man has a vote in affairs of moment; has equal title to the fresh provisions, or strong liquors, at any time seized, and may use them at pleasure, unless a scarcity makes it necessary, for the good of all, to vote a retrenchment.
3. Every man shall obey civil Command; the Captain shall have two full shares and in all Prizes; the Master, Carpenter, Boatswain and Gunner shall have one Share and a quarter. The fund of all payments under the articles is the stock of what is gotten by the expedition, following the same law as other pirates, that is, No prey, no pay.
4. If any man shall offer to run away, or keep any secret from the Company, he shall be marooned with one bottle of powder, one bottle of water, one small arm and shot.
5. If any Many shall steal anything in the company, or game, to the value of a Piece of Eight, he shall be marooned or shot.
6. That Man that shall strike another man whilst aboard ship and whilst these Articles are in force shall receive 40 lashes on the bare back.
7. That Man that shall snap his Arms, or smoke tobacco in the hold, without a cap to his Pipe, or carry a Candle lighted without a lantern, shall suffer the same punishment as in the former Article.
8. Lights and candles must be snuffed out of eight o’clock. If any man desires to drink after such time, he shall do so on the open deck without lights
9. That Man that shall not keep his weapons clean and fit for an Engagement, or neglect his business due to drunkenness, shall be cut off from his share, and suffer such other punishment as the Captain and the Company shall think fit.
10. If any Man shall lose a Joint in time of an Engagement he shall have 400 pieces of Eight; if a limb 800.
11. No boy or woman is to be brought aboard ship or amongst the crew in disguise for the purpose of sexual seduction. If any man is to be found seducing any of the latter sex, and carried her to sea, disguised, he is to suffer death and the woman or boy will be placed in the custody of a sentinel.
Pirate Lore and Superstition – Fact or Rum?
First of all I’d like to thank Entertaining Stories for having me and my new book, Demons & Pearls, on the blog today. I sent up a flare asking for hosts and well, lucky me. Here I am and I hope you will find this story entertaining.
For the past year, I’ve been obsessed with writing pirate stories. On their own, pirates are entertaining to write about. Now hold that thought for a minute and allow me to explain: Pirates and their dirty and often times brutal deeds leave them to history as unscrupulous, murdering, thieving monsters who instilled fear in every vessel they hunted down. I’ve become fascinated with their way of life, the freedom of sea life and most of all, their governance of themselves as equals in all things. There is however one aspect of these men I have yet to delve into; superstition. So in keeping with the theme of this blog, I’d like to explore it with you now.
Sailors have always been some of the most superstitious men in history and these brash and scrappy men (mostly), were no exception. They held deep seeded beliefs which dictated their actions. Everything from their course headings to how they laid their fellow crewmen to rest was steeped in superstitious rituals. From mermaids to the deadly kraken, they told tales of lore that struck fear into even the deadliest of pirates. Although they lived their lives according to their code or what we’d call laws today, their lives were more closely lived by their unwritten beliefs.
Among the more common superstitions, were those associated with the bringing of good or bad luck. Actions such as boarding a ship with your left foot forward or whistling could bring certain doom. If a shark was spotted following the ship, it signified certain death. However if a pod of dolphins were along for the voyage, good luck was certain. Women aboard a ship were considered unlucky, although a naked woman was thought to calm the seas. This is why many ships had figureheads of a bare-breasted woman, which brings me to those mystical, magical and often times maligned ladies of the sea; mermaids.
Stories and imagery of mermaids can be traced back to 2,000bc. However, these mythical creatures were never more romanticized, as well as feared, as they were during the golden age of piracy. Some pirates as well as sailors of any kind, believed them to be sirens, whose sweet singing would lure them off course and ultimately causing the ship to wreck on the rocks and sink. Other tales of mermaids describe sailors who were drowned accidentally by mermaids, who although trying to save them, inadvertently squeezed them to death. Most often, these stories have been discredited to state that these so called mermaids were no more than manatees who were mistakenly identified as half woman half fish by sailors, who’d have taken part in far too much drinking.
One such description of a mermaid sighting went as follows, from http://www.livescience.com/39882-mermaid.html:
Edward Snow’s “Incredible Mysteries and Legends of the Sea” (Dodd Mead, 1967). A sea captain off the coast of Newfoundland described his 1614 encounter: “Captain John Smith saw a mermaid ‘swimming about with all possible grace.’ He pictured her as having large eyes, a finely shaped nose that was ‘somewhat short,’ and well-formed ears that were rather too long. Smith goes on to say that ‘her long green hair imparted to her an original character that was by no means unattractive.'” In fact, Smith was so taken with this lovely woman that he began “to experience the first effects of love” (take that as you will) as he gazed at her before his sudden (and surely profoundly disappointing) realization that she was a fish from the waist down. This dilemma is reflected in a popular song titled “The Mermaid,” by Newfoundland band Great Big Sea:
“I love the girl with all me heart
But I only like the upper part
I do not like the tail!”
Today, sightings of mermaids are mostly contained to entertaining tank or pool shows, where women who are enchanted with the myth of the mermaid, perform beautiful water ballets either together or with marine life. To my knowledge, none of these ethereally beautiful creatures could ever be confused with a manatee. However, with our world being covered with seventy-one percent of water, who’s to say who’s had too much to drink and who saw a mermaid?
What a cool guest. Written with the general theme of this blog in mind. Check out the book at this link.
She has other books available too. Check them out at her author page