The Storm

Welcome back to Tales on Tuesday! This term, we have a couple of folk tales from the Isle of Man.

In the Isle of Man, deep inside the hills, live strange creatures called bugganes. They can think and talk like humans, but they have glittering eyes, black shaggy coats, and a sharp tusk each side of a red mouth.

The waves crashed, thunder rumbled, and lightning split the sky. On the sea, a little ship was being tossed up and down, cresting and falling into the waves. And again, and again…

On the deck all was panic. The captain stood at the helm, doggedly doing his duty. Sailors ran up and down the rigging, shortening sail while clinging on for dear life.

“Where on earth did this come from?” yelled the First Mate into the ear of his commanding officer.

The Captain stared grimly at the waves, heaving like some mighty serpent was trying to upend them. “I don’t know,” he shouted. “It blew up out of nowhere. Something’s not right! Where do you think we are?”

The First Mate gasped, but squinted at the stars, and held his map close to a ship’s lantern. “Somewhere south-west of Peel, I should think!” His voice trembled, “Captain, should we say a Lord’s Prayer?”

Underneath the strain, the Captain’s face went dead white. “We should! Gather the men! Tell them to all pray to Saint Trinian for safe guidance into Peel harbour, or we’ll all get dashed to pieces on Contrary Head!”

The First Mate gasped and dashed away, and the Captain raised his voice aloud. “Saint Trinian, intercede for us. Have pity! Have mercy! Defeat whatever evil forces are on this ship, and bring us safely to harbour!”

He opened his eyes, and the deadly battle to keep the ship on course continued. Time passed like a dream for the Captain and his crew, but finally the flapping sail ends began to sag, and the storm was over. Before them all were the welcoming lights of Peel, with the castle keeping guard, a comforting bulk against the night sky. Trembling with relief, the crew raised their voices in thanksgiving, as they guided the ship into port.

Once the last mooring rope was securely tied, the Captain looked at his ship and crew from the quarter-deck, and breathed his own prayer. “Saint Trinian, to show my gratitude I will build a chapel and dedicate it to you.”

As he rose from his knees, an unearthly howl echoed around the bay, and a large shadow sprang onto shore. It disappeared into the night, loping up the mountain.