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The Pumpkin Pirates

from Good Stories For Great Holidays - THANKSGIVING DAY





A TALE FROM LUCIAN

BY ALFRED J. CHURCH (ADAPTED)

Once upon a time, one Lucian the Greek was filled with a desire to see
strange countries, and especially to discover whether there was any
opposite shore to the ocean by which he lived.

So having purchased a vessel, he strengthened it for a voyage, that he
knew would without doubt be long and stormy. Then he chose fifty stout
young fellows having the same love of adventure as himself, and next he
hired the best captain that could be got for money, and put a store of
provisions and water on board.

All this being done, he set sail. For many days he and his companions
voyaged on deep waters and in strange seas. At times the wind was
fair and gentle, and at others it blew so hard that the sea rose in a
terrible manner.

One day there came a violent whirlwind which twisted the ship about,
and, lifting it into the air, carried it upward into the sky, until it
reached the Moon. There Lucian and his comrades disembarked and visited
the inhabitants of Moonland. They took part in a fierce battle between
the Moon-Folk, the Sun-Folk, and an army of Vulture-Horsemen; and,
after many other wonderful adventures, they departed from Moonland,
and sailing through the sky, visited the Morning Star. Then the wind
dropping, the ship settled once more upon the sea, and they sailed on
the water.

One morning the wind began to blow vehemently, and they were driven by
storm for days. On the third day they fell in with the Pumpkin Pirates.
These were savages who were wont to sally forth from the islands that
lay in the seas thereabouts, and plunder them that sailed by.

For ships they had large pumpkins, each being not less than ninety feet
in length. These pumpkins they dried, and afterward dug out all the
inner part of them till they were quite hollow. For masts they had
reeds, and for sails, in the place of canvas, pumpkin leaves.

These savages attacked Lucian's vessel with two ships' or rather two
pumpkins' crews, and wounded many of his company. For stones they used
the pumpkin-seeds, which were about the bigness of a large apple.

Lucian's company fought for some time, without gaining the advantage,
when about noon they saw coming toward them, in the rear of the Pumpkin
Pirates, the Nut-Shell Sailors. These two tribes were at war with each
other.

As soon as the Pumpkin Pirates saw the others approaching, they left
off fighting Lucian's crew, and prepared to give battle to the Nut-Shell
Sailors. When Lucian saw this he ordered the captain to set all sails;
and they departed with speed. But looking back he could see that the
Nut-Shell Sailors had the best of the battle, being superior in numbers,
having five crews against two of the Pumpkin Pirates, and also because
their ships were stronger. As for their ships, they were the shells of
nuts which had been split in half, each measuring fifteen fathoms, or
thereabouts.

As soon as the Pumpkin Pirates and the Nut-Shell Sailors were out
of sight, Lucian set himself to dressing the wounds of his injured
companions. And from that time on both Lucian and his crew wore their
armor continually, not knowing when another strange enemy might come
upon them.





Next: The Spirit Of The Corn

Previous: The Nutcracker Dwarf



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