Pirate Island Tales – Episode 3

galleon2“So what happened next, Granddad? What was Dream Cottage really like?” asked Timmy.

“You really should be going to sleep now.” I said without conviction.

“Go on Granddad; tell me the rest of the story.”

“Well Nanny and I were so excited we looked around for someone to take us up the path to the cottage. The man in the Galleon Inn had a friend who was happy to take us for one copper penny. His donkey was very old and his cart was rickety but in the end, quite shaken, we arrived outside Dream Cottage.

“Do you want to be driven back?” The carter asked.

“Of course.” I replied.

“That’ll be another penny then, in you get.”

“But we’ve only just arrived.”

“Do you want me to wait, because if you do that’ll be another penny too?”

“Yes, we’ll be back as soon as we’ve looked round the cottage.”

“Oh, then you won’t be long then.”

We ignored him and gazed at the beautiful thatched cottage. The garden was full of weeds and there were no fences but with the mountains to look at, and the sea down below us with trees all the way down to Port Pecan, it was so beautiful.

I took the key out of my pocket and fitted it into the quaint lock. As I did so the door swung open. We were surprised, but then who was going to rob us up here. When we opened the door fully we discovered another reason we would not be robbed; the cottage was a shell! There was no upper floor, no inner walls, nothing but a carcass of a house. We were stunned and wondered why we had assumed that all these would come with the cottage.

Nanny started to cry and I tried to soothe her. “Don’t worry, we’ll be able to make the cottage exactly how we want it, we’ve got plenty of gold sovereigns.” Eventually she saw the sense of this and we went back to the carter intending to return to town.

“I’ve got some friends who can fix your cottage.” He said before we had said a word to him.

“How did you know it needed fixing?”

“Everyone in town knows.”

“What happened?” I asked feeling foolish than Nanny and I had not realised we were buying a renovation project.

“Esther, needed to pay a gambling debt so she sold everything she could. My friends bought everything from her. I’m sure they would fix it back in for a good price. For another penny I’ll take you there.”

Two hours later we had arranged to pay 50 gold sovereigns for the house to be returned to how it was and the workers promised to finish it by noon the next day. We felt a lot happier then.

We returned to the Galleon Inn and joined in the karaoke, only two silver shillings each including a free raffle and twirling dancers who made themselves so giddy they ended up falling over as if they were drunk and then to our surprise they would get up and do it all over again; all night. By the time we got to bed we were feeling very giddy ourselves from the wine and ale.

Next morning at noon, for one silver sixpence now, the carter took us to see what the completed cottage looked like. There was no one there, and the work had not even been started, so for another silver sixpence he took us on to see his friends and find out what had happened. We found them in bed, complaining that they were very ill because of some bad ale they had drunk the night before. Perhaps we should not have given them all the 50 gold sovereigns before they had started work.

Three months later they finally finished the work after we promised them 10 extra gold sovereigns. We were very disappointed when we saw their work. I was so angry, I even shouted at the chief worker, which was so unlike me.

“This is terrible. Everything is falling to pieces. The stairs are dangerous and I’m sure the floors will collapse at any moment.”

The worker looked back, angrily. “You said you wanted it fixed up like it used to be. We bought everything from Esther to use as firewood. You should have said you wanted everything new!”

I could see that it was not his fault and arranged to have the cottage rebuilt as new. We settled for 400 gold sovereigns, most of which would not be paid until after the job was finished. One week later the cottage was ready and despite all the problems we’d had before, Nanny and I had to admit that it was an excellent job.

We arranged for our furniture and pots and pans to be brought up to the cottage and after they were all unpacked we lit some lamps and sat down to admire our wonderful Dream Cottage.

“Would you like a cup of tea, dear?” Nanny asked.

“Yes, I’d love one.” I said, “I’ll go to the pond and fetch some water.”

When I looked around for the pond I couldn’t find it at first, then I realised why. The workers had thrown all their rubbish in it, piled up higher than I was. I didn’t have the heart to tell Nanny, we were both tired so I told her that I’d changed my mind about the tea.

The next day, for 10 gold sovereigns, a gang of well diggers dug a well in our garden and we decided to never again mention the beautiful blue pool, which wasn’t ours anyway. We did not drink much water nowadays as we seemed to be drinking lots of wine and ale and it was for bringing these supplies up each day that we decided to buy our own cart and donkey. It was becoming more expensive each day to hire the carter and very soon we were sure it would cost one gold sovereign for each journey.

Luckily when we mentioned this to the carter, he told us that he had just decided to retire and his cart and donkey were up for sale for a very reasonable price of only 10 copper pennies. We could hardly sleep that night being so excited about having our own donkey and cart.

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