Mystery Explained

Last week a storm suddenly blew up in the Irish Sea…

A week later, the Captain had met with the local bishop, a site for the church had been agreed on, and building had started. One day, the bishop invited him to dinner, and the Captain joined him in his little white cell.

The bishop bowed his whiskers over the haunches of beef and pork. “For what we are about to receive, the Lord make us truly thankful, Amen.”

“Amen,” the Captain echoed.

The bishop raised his head and popped a first portion of meat into his mouth. “So, tell me again what you saw leaving your ship?”

“I don’t know!” the Captain repeated, as he poured a goblet of wine. “A huge black shadow, walking on two legs like a man, but clearly not a man. It gave a fearsome yell, and disappeared!”

“Hmm,” said the bishop, chewing with all his might. “Well -”

A loud knocking on the door interrupted him.

The bishop rose, smoothing his white silk surplice over his belly. “Who disturbs the bishop at dinner hour?”

The door was pushed open and a woman stood in the doorway, tall and large-boned. Behind her, the Captain noticed a man.

“Tom!” he cried. “What brings you here? It’s one of my men,” he explained to the bishop, who frowned at the intruders.

“If you please, Your Reverence,” announced Mrs Tom, with a little more politeness. “My husband has something to say to you, and to his commanding officer.”

The bishop nodded, “Well, I suppose you had better come in and say it.”

Mrs Tom pulled in her husband, a thin man with drooping hair, and shut the door. “Well, speak, Tom, you great gaby.”

“If it pleases your worships,” stammered Tom, snatching off his hat. “On the night of the storm, when I went to check the stores like you asked me to, I’m afraid I didn’t quite get there.”

“What do you mean?” demanded the Captain.

“Well, sir, I got to the door of the room where you asked me to go, and I heard a growl. And I saw two gleaming eyes, baring into me from the darkness. Then a hairy shape rose up, as tall as the ceiling! It said, in a low gravelly voice, ‘Go!’ I turned and ran!”

The bishop was nodding, “Ah yes, as I was about to say before we were interrupted. It seems you had a buggane for a stowaway. It won’t be happy.”