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Of Pirates and Artists

Updated on March 14, 2016
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Seafarer Mama/Karen loves to read, write and listen to stories about seafaring life, both spoken and sung.

Pirate Artists of the Starry Night

Their Mission

When the peaceful crew of the Pirate Ship Starry Night was not feeding orphans, they painted sunsets each evening in the harbor where they were moored for the night. Traveling from cove to cove each summer, the crew invited wandering children to join them in their art, and everyone admired the work of their fellow artists over dinner. A small cadre of crew members played musical instruments, such as the fiddle, mandolin, flute, and concertina. Everyone on board danced and sang shanties by lantern light before the guests went home.

The mission work of the crew on the Pirate Ship Starry Night became a great hit each summer, and news of their work spread far and wide over the high seas. Wherever they spent time, the wealthy townspeople gave them money to stay afloat. This money the crew used to buy food to feed themselves and the children who visited their ship and painted with them, as well as their art supplies.

"Occupied children are less likely to cause mischief on the streets of a busy town," one townswoman named Elsie stated when asked why they are so generous toward these wandering vagabonds. They make me smile and the kids seem to be happy. My children even help around the house and sing while they work!" one mother observed.

The Ocean is Calling ~ Pan Flute Music to listen to while you read

How They Carried Out Their Mission

The crew of the Starry Night walked around town with their parrots on their shoulders, purchasing supplies and telling sea stories in the market square. When enough of the children were gathered, they led them to the quays, where the ship was docked, and Captain Jasmine was waiting to greet them.

"Ahoy, maties!" the captain greeted the children with a salute and a hearty wave. "Welcome aboard the Pirate Ship Starry Night , the 'Gentlewoman of the High Seas'!"

The children waved to her as soon as they saw the ship, saluted her as they stepped on the plank, and hugged her as they boarded the ship. Each time they visited, she had sun tea and fruit waiting for them to drink and eat.

"You need energy for making art, my young friends. Please drink and eat your fill before we start." Then she bowed and returned to the top deck to ring the bell and hoist the ensign with palette and brushes on it. "Let the party begin!" she announced.

The children thanked her as they ate, and then sat down to work at an easel or a craft table.

The Support of the Townspeople

The boathouse at each harbor where they moored the ship hosted a gallery of art and poetry created by the young people of that town. Shop keepers and restaurant owners often bought a piece or two to hang on their walls. That money was often used to buy new clothes for the children.

"The beauty of the pieces they create made me weep when I first say them," said Finula Buckley, owner of Buckley's Tavern on the town square. "Those pirate artists are brilliant master teachers."

"Always look forward to the new choice of pictures that are made by the young artists of our town each summer. It's my son and daughter's favorite thing to do," added James Tinbottom, the town's Blacksmith.

"My son used to destroy the homes of the animals by the stream. Now he sits and draws them in the notebook that he made on board the ship one night," shared Goodie Clearwater.

Artful Images from the Pirate Ship "Starry Night"

bottled golden sunshine (tea) reflected on the ship's deck
bottled golden sunshine (tea) reflected on the ship's deck | Source
a child's chalk art labyrinth
a child's chalk art labyrinth | Source
multimedia picture of friends holding hands around a bouquet of flowers
multimedia picture of friends holding hands around a bouquet of flowers | Source

But one stormy summer, something unexpected happened...

The Pirate Ship Starry Night was delayed from arriving at Cape Ann Harbor in Massachusetts. As they passed by a lonely, wild cove one morning, they noticed an island with a small boat abandoned on the tarry shore, as if a storm ran it aground. It was overrun with seaweed. There was no other sign of human life on the island. The crew dropped anchor and paddled a canoe to the shore to search for people who might need a ride back to civilization.

After searching up rocky hills and across meadows of wildflowers, they found a cave on the opposite side of the island. In the cave, a few girls sat eating their breakfast by a small fire. They'd been stranded there for a week, living off the island's vegetation and the fish that they caught. They allowed themselves to be found by the crew of the schooner because they liked the looks of it, according to one of the girls, named Thora.

"Would you like some wild blueberry pie?" asked Jessica.

With that offer, the crew and young women shared a breakfast of strawberry juice and blueberry pie while sharing their stories.

A New Start in the Right Direction...

"We hid a cave when police patrolled the island, conjuring invisibility charms around us, for we were afraid that we'd be arrested, or grounded, or something like that, for taking my parents' boat out without their permission." Jessica was very open and honest about what kept them on the island.

"They didn't think she could sail it," added Wynter.

"Neither did they take the time to sail the boat around the cove with me....ever. But the sea called my name. "Jessica!" I couldn't resist it any longer and answered that call with my two best friends here, Wynter and Thora."

The crew's Captain Jasmine introduced herself and her crew to the girls, and told them that they could sail with them on the Starry Night to the nearest boathouse dock, where they'd find the means to fix their boat, so that they could return it to Jessica's parents in "ship shape." In the meantime, the crew would show them the ropes of the schooner, and let them participate in their mission of reaching out to all who need healing through "a touch of the arts and the elements."

"How exciting! We would love to join your crew!" Jessica exclaimed. Wynter and Thora agreed.

Jessica stepped up to the captain and took her hands in her own. "Thank you so much for your kindness, Captain Jasmine. I look forward to learning to sail properly and to working with lots of children."

"Welcome to my crew, let's get back to the ship so that we can get started."

Captain Jasmine hugged the girls and kissed them on both cheeks, as did the rest of the crew. The parrots squawked their welcome, as well.

The girls gathered their belongings and descended the hill with the crew. They all hopped into the canoe, which the first mate and bosun rowed to the ship. As soon as their feet touched the deck, they all began climbing shrouds and hoisting sails. Thus, those women embarked on their beautiful career as peaceful pirates.

To be continued...

© 2011 Karen A Szklany


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