Ahoy ye scurvy knaves,bildge rats, deck hands and the like ere''s the story I promised ye so sit back and believe;
Tis a story of old I now tell ye all, twas the time when wood ships stilled sailed with the fleet, nary a rollerfurler nor boom vang was needed for windward beats. Of slick plastic ketches, double cabins there too, This tale not of ships, be it Dickerson''s they were, all six swung at anchor
for the night was to fall. Not ships but the harm that befell, one simple young seamen, born red as hell. Bellies full, soon the stoves
fires put out, Senior captains were called with wenches in tow,to partake of the rum, planning next morns passage, down the Potomic then home. Young sailors so banished to the old Bugeye they rowed,for a few rounds of cards, while the captains laughter arose. Twas somehere after ten bells when the shout of alarm twas screamed out, "Man bit by a serpent on board the Bugeye", seems the vicious creature under hatch
he had hid, twas disturbed or injured when the hatch
it was slid, his attack was twice had before the hand could draw back, then slithered in sight on cabin top, filled with delight. The captains now lifting thier heads from the brew, did reply " A portion of rum for the lad ought to do" , thier roars of high prof laughter echoing in the night. "Did ye kill it" came next joke casted his young way. The young sailor not amused at the disbelief of thier tone, snatched boat hook in hand , with malice indeed, put an end to the serpent,with many a swift blow. The sound of the boat hook biting into the deck,echoed loudly his reply,back into the night. Captains now awakened, the truth had for all, Surgeon though aboard, twas beyond him to treat, Blood flowing freely now , soaking the teak. Swift rowers were summoned, dim light from yon shore shone the way, a watchman aroused, a fast carriage brought around, loaded the poor lad now white , took off with a bound. The attendent was afraid of all serpents she said , as she tried to soothe the boy, "No worry from this one" the young sailor croaked out, holding up his grim prize to remove any dought. Poor lass she did fainted dead away, and alone in the back the young sailor lay. Tis true I not lie, believe it or not. The town of St. Mary''s gave comfort that night, in the wee hours of morn, he returned to his ship. "ye be not dead then?" the captains relieved, poured a tall rum for the lad, toasted him that they did, "Cheers for him that kills wit a hook" they all cried , slapping his back. Next day a new belt tied at his waist,the patch on his eye came much later e''re tell, snakes poision did harden his nerve, became as vicious as any, Big Red they now call him, mean as they come. Tis the truth I did tell ye, believe it or not!
The moral of this true story is take the snake with you so that the proper treatment can be made quickly. If it''s already bit you, send it to hell, you very well could be following it. How the snake came to be on the Bugeye Ketch is still a mystery.I call it fate. I was about 12 or 13 at the time and the annual Dickerson cruise had anchored in the St. Mary''s river off the Potomic. The College of St. Mary''s security guard called the ambulance(cell phones were not invented yet). I have lived a charmed life to this day.!!!! Big Red the Pirate of Pine Island.