The Drunken Pirate

There was once a pirate with the name of “Handsome” Dan. His shipmates named him ‘handsome’ on account of his looks. They say that the number of scars on his face was greater than the number of teeth in his mouth.

Dan was known for two things: fighting and drinking, for Dan was awful at both.

One night, when their ship had moored at a distant port, his captain entrusted him with a map to their stash of buried treasure. Dan was baffled, but his captain insisted, and he joined his crewmates in the local town to make merry.

That night, Dan drank so much rum that he woke up naked, fifteen feet in the air, curled up in a rowing boat.

As he made the shameful climb back down to the beach, his shipmates laughing and whistling as he went, his captain’s face posed an obvious question.

Now Handsome’s captain wasn’t exactly known for his mercy. They say that the number of men he’d killed was greater than the number of scars Dan had. They also say Dan had much better dental hygiene than most other pirates of the time.

As Dan was putting on his boots, the captain growled at him: “Where’s the map?”

Thinking as sharply as a hungover pirate could, he whispered to the captain that the map was ‘somewhere safe’.

Dan spent the rest of the day desperately retracing his steps, for the ship would sail at dawn and Dan knew what would happen if he and the map weren’t on it.

He searched the streets and alley ways. He threatened the locals and innkeepers. Nothing was to be found. Finally, he returned to the last inn he could remember, home of the most popular wench in port, the mistress Lonesome Jane.

They say that Lonesome Jane could see to more customers in a night than Dan’s ship captain had killed in all his years at sea. They also say Dan’s face had a scar for every bottle of rum he’d stolen and that was quite a few.

But Jane could barely remember him, never mind whether he’d left a scrap of parchment and one he seemed wary to describe at that.

With the day run its course, poor Dan’s goose was cooked. The crew turned Handsome into shark bait, for they feared the captain’s pistol more than they rued him trusting hapless Dan.

One day, many years later, another ship of pirates sailed into port and they made for the very same inn to make merry.

Sat on a stool by the fire, one of the older pirates spun to the youngest the cautionary tale of handsome Dan’s demise.

Jane, who by now owned the inn, was wandering by as the older pirate concluded the slaughterous end of the pirate who let down his captain.

Old Jane smiled as she heard it told.

“But how did he lose the map?” asked the younger pirate.

“Same way his captain lost the treasure” said Jane, winking at him as she walked away.

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