The Ballad of Titanius McKracken


This is the tale of a hero bold
Who lived by the sea in days of old
Each night he stood upon the shore
And watched until his eyes were sore
The setting Sun o’er the endless blue
Toward which his dreams unbounded flew
For if the boy could have his way
A sailor would he be some day

But poor was the boy and his mother and father
And most would say it was best not to bother
To learn such a trade that required that skill
More sense it would make to slave on at the mill

Then all at once, such grief came to pass
The boy found himself behind the stained glass
Two holes were dug for bodies to fill
After what happened that day at the mill
The great wheels were turning, and the stones were all grinding
When one of the weights came loose from its binding
But ere the father did his fathers join
He placed in the hand of his son a coin

The years went by and the young boy taught
Himself to tie most every knot
He learned at the docks each part of a boat
That keeps the sailors all afloat
Until the day when he was ready
To steer the ship and guide her steady
He went to the pub for a meal and a brew
And hoped to high heaven to find a crew

At first they laughed at the tall, skinny lad
And reckoned the boy entirely mad
For what could he know at so young an age?
Could he handle the waves or the storms that would rage?
But the young man just smiled and with his bright, piercing eyes
He sat through their laughs and their groans and their sighs
And then he stood up and he looked at them square
And brushed a hand back through his black curly hair

“Men here tonight”, he said loud and clear
“Why do you doubt that I’m able to steer
A ship of my own? Though young I may be
You’ll find there is no finer captain than me
For I’ve sailed all my life, and although I’m not old
I promise you this: treasure and gold
This is not my first voyage so please come and join.”
And with that the young man held up the gold coin

The men were entranced and their minds began racing
For maybe their faith they were sorely misplacing
The prospect of riches had captured their heads
And rather than laughing they started instead
To nod in agreement and eagerly hang
On every rich word the young captain sang
He held the whole room in his fanciful grip
“Just one thing,” he said. “I will need a ship.”

“You see,” he lied quickly, “My vessel was lost,
My ship was all smashed and my crew was all tossed
Into the watery depths so cold
And all that was saved was myself and this gold
My eyes filled with tears as my ship tore apart
And the loss of my men left a hole in my heart
I tried as I could to go down in the waves
But the good Lord stooped down and my life he did save.”

The men all erupted with thunderous applause
And each of them pledged to the young man’s cause
A year of his service along with a sum
Of money to buy a new ship and and some rum
They followed him out that very night
Their ship set sail before first light
Unknown to all aboard the skiff
Their captain’s tale was all a myth

But sail they did out to the sea
Until they saw a distant tree.
A sandy beach, a rocky cove
And visions of a treasure trove
Enticed the crew and all their greed
And sent them forth with greatest speed
Until the small island they did reach
And anchored down upon the beach

The captain cheered, his spirits soared,
He and the crew climbed up the shore
They hurried up the sandy slope
And saw below as they had hoped
A capsized ship completely full
Of treasures spilling out the hull

With chests of gold and pirate treasures
The heap of wealth could scarce be measured
The hapless crew, now only bones,
Had smashed the ship upon the stones
And now the men who came that day
Could tote their treasures all away
The captain cheered, the men rejoiced
But from behind them came a voice

“Go back!” And all the crew spun round
And saw who made the warning sound
A wrinkled woman, old and frail
With dirty hands and filthy nails
She looked into the captains eyes
Who’s fire was glistening as his prize
“You must go back, this treasure’s cursed!”
The captain only heard his purse

And though she begged and pleaded so
The crew refused to turn and go
They took the gold despite her words
And left the bones out for the birds
They shouted out the captain’s name
And made up songs to sing his fame
The captain laughed and gave a smile
And let them praise him for awhile

And laden down with gold and glee
They put the ship back out to sea
They had not sailed for but an hour
When storms stirred up with godly power
The force of waves and mighty gusts
Which rocked the ship with lurching thrusts
And put the captain and his crew
At the mercy of the blue

The sky turned black the rain fell down
The heavy ship was thrown around
And though he tried to stay upright
He was no match for water’s might
The deck beneath caused him to slip
The captain fell off from the ship
Now in the sea he cried aloud
His men all ran up from the bow

The crew stood fast with final hope
And to the captain came a rope
He gripped one end with all his might
But strong the waves and hard the fight
His piercing eyes and blackened curls
Were no avail on icy swirls
And though the crew held their end fast
They knew their chance had long since past
And all at once the rope did slacken
And sealed the fate of Titanius McKracken

Written by Anonymous

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