Friday night folktale: Boat-talk

I probably should post a tale today about a girl who gets her prince, but since I am by now thoroughly disgusted with all the royal wedding talk, I'm not going to.

Sometimes you can hear wooden boats and ships creaking even if there is no wind and they are standing on dry land. This is because the boats are talking together and only a few people can understand their speech.

Once a man who understood the language of boats came to a place where two fishing boats lay in the sand side by side. He heard one of the boats say to the other:

"Long have we been together, but tomorrow we must part.“

"We shall never part,“ said the other. "We have been together for thirty years and have grown old together, but if one of us is to be sunk, we both shall be sunk.“

"It will not happen. Tonight the weather is good, but tomorrow it will be different and none will go out to sea except your foreman, but I and all the other boats shall stay behind. You will go and never return and we will never be together again.“

"It shall not be and I will refuse to budge.“

"You will have to budge and this will be our last night together.“

"I will not budge without you.“

"Nevertheless it will happen.“

"Only in the name of the Devil himself!“

After that the boats spoke so quietly that the man heard no more of their conversation.

The next day the weather looked very ominous and no one was willing to set out to sea except one foreman and his crew. They walked down to the sea, in the company of many others who were not going to set out.

"Put on your oilskins in the name of Jesus our Lord,“ said the foreman, as he was wont. This they did.

"Launch the boat in the name of Jesus our Lord,“ said the foreman, as he was wont. The men heaved, but the boat wouldn‘t budge. The foreman then asked all the other seamen who were present to help, but the boat still couldn‘t be budged. Then he asked every person present for help, but the boat could not be budged for all that. 

The the foreman yelled: "Launch the boat in the name of the Devil!“ Then the ship finally could be moved and slid out into the sea so hard that it nearly slipped out of the grasp of the men who were launching it. The seamen boarded her and rowed out to sea and out of sight. But the ship has not been seen since and none who were aboard. 


Copyright notice: The wording used to tell this folk-tale is under copyright. The story itself is not copyrighted. If you want to re-tell it, for a collection of folk-tales, incorporate it into fiction, use it in a school essay or any kind of publication, please tell it in your own words or give the proper attribution if you choose to use the wording unchanged.

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