19 09 2010

Avast and shiver me timbers, me hearties. To lead up to “Talk Like a Pirate” Day (Sept. 19), and to celebrate finishing and submitting the first half of the pirate book I’m writing–Yay!–a few days ahead of deadline, I’ll be blogging about some pirate-related lore.

I’ve been learning lots of cool facts like these:

Pirates didn’t bury their treasure. At least not until Robert Louis Stevenson came up with the idea in Robinson Crusoe.

Walking the plank was not a common form of punishment inflicted by pirates. Drubbing (beating with stick) or whipping took care of minor offenses. Marooning on a deserted isle was another common practice.

Female captives were not gang-raped by pirates. The crew chose one pirate to guard the lady’s sleeping quarters. Of course what went on between the guard and the prisoner is anyone’s guess. I suppose you could always hope for an moral sentinel.

Most tales of the female pirates Ann Bonny and Mary Read indicate they disguised themselves as men and fooled all but Captain Jack Rackham (Calico Jack), whose ship they sailed on. But a witness at their trial said the two sometimes went about in men’s clothes and at others dressed like women. If this prisoner saw them wearing both garbs, surely the crew knew the truth.

Although pirates were a lawless lot, they generally observed the Sabbath and always swore to their pirate oaths with their right hands on the Bible.

Stop back over the next few days for some interesting tales that I uncovered during my research on pirates. Until then, here are few lines from J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan:

“Avast, belay, yo ho, heave to,

A-pirating we go,

And if we’re parted by a shot

We’re sure to meet below!”