The Pumpkin Pirates
A Tale from Lucian
by Alfred J. Church (Adapted)
Once upon a time, one Lucian the Greek
filled with a desire to see strange countries, and
especially to discover whether there was any
opposite shore to the ocean by which he lived.
So having purchased a vessel, he strengthened
it for a voyage, that he knew would without doubt
be long and stormy. Then he chose fifty stout
young fellows having the same love of adventure
as himself, and next he hired the best captain that
could be got for money, and put a store of provisions
and water on board.
All this being done, he set sail. For many days
he and his companions voyaged on deep waters
and in strange seas. At times the wind was fair
and gentle, and at others it blew so hard that the
sea rose in a terrible manner.
One day there came a violent whirlwind which
twisted the ship about, and, lifting it into the air,
carried it upward into the sky, until it reached
the Moon. There Lucian and his comrades disembarked
and visited the inhabitants of Moonland.
They took part in a fierce battle between the
Moon-Folk, the Sun-Folk, and an army of Vulture-
Horsemen; and, after many other wonderful
adventures, they departed from Moonland, and
sailing through the sky, visited the Morning Star.
Then the wind dropping, the ship settled once
more upon the sea, and they sailed on the water.
One morning the wind began to blow vehemently,
and they were driven by storm for days.
On the third day they fell in with the Pumpkin
Pirates. These were savages who were wont to
sally forth from the islands that lay in the seas
thereabouts, and plunder them that sailed by.
For ships they had large pumpkins, each being
not less than ninety feet in length. These pumpkins
they dried, and afterward dug out all the
inner part of them till they were quite hollow.
For masts they had reeds, and for sails, in the
place of canvas, pumpkin leaves.
These savages attacked Lucian's vessel with
two ships' or rather two pumpkins' crews, and
wounded many of his company. For stones they
used the pumpkin-seeds, which were about the
bigness of a large apple.
Lucian's company fought for some time,
without gaining the advantage, when about noon they
saw coming toward them, in the rear of the Pumpkin
Pirates, the Nut-Shell Sailors. These two
tribes were at war with each other.
As soon as the Pumpkin Pirates saw the others
approaching, they left off fighting Lucian's crew,
and prepared to give battle to the Nut-Shell Sailors.
When Lucian saw this he ordered the captain
to set all sails; and they departed with speed. But
looking back he could see that the Nut-Shell Sailors
had the best of the battle, being superior in
numbers, having five crews against two of the
Pumpkin Pirates, and also because their ships
were stronger. As for their ships, they were the
shells of nuts which had been split in half, each
measuring fifteen fathoms, or thereabouts.
As soon as the Pumpkin Pirates and the Nut-
Shell Sailors were out of sight, Lucian set himself
to dressing the wounds of his injured companions.
And from that time on both Lucian and his crew
wore their armor continually, not knowing when
another strange enemy might come upon them.