A Tall Ship Tale #55: A Riveting Tale

Paul DeAnguera continues.

“So we left the boat on the shore, picked up an animal trail through the woods at the top of the bluff, and followed it,” Sir Hillary related as the bonfire on the Panaji beach flamed against the ancient stars. “As we went along, we figured the animals that had broken a way through those hefty branches must be pretty big! We turned around and took a long look back at the boat. But behind it we saw the Legume waiting in the channel, and we knew the Captain was out there looking back at us. So we thought we’d better find something worth bringing back before we left.

“So we followed the trail to a cave entrance. That’s where we shot the artiodactyl, just as it was about to eat some large, leathery eggs in a nest in the cave. Then we looked up and saw the mother whose eggs we’d just saved. But we didn’t wait for any thanks! We just grabbed the artiodactyl for our dinner and ran.”

There were the customary appreciative comments, then a pause. Professor Peabody grumbled “If the H.M.S. Legume hadn’t gone back to the Jurassic period, the creature you shot would have eaten those eggs. But because you interfered, they must have survived and eventually hatched. Maybe they or their progeny even found refuge in the cave from whatever cataclysm ended the Jurassic. Next time, please think before you change anything in the past! Who knows what repercussions it could have in our own time?”

“That would explain one of the patients I saw in the dispensary today,” Emma Talligeist said thoughtfully. “He was dressed in a long cloak and hood, and was quite shy about letting me see him. When I finally got a look at him, his skin was scaly, and it was the oddest color!”

A spasm shook Peabody’s big ears upon hearing this news. “What did he come to see you about?” the First Mate asked.

“His nose. He has a chronic breathing problem, and produces a lot of — well, anyway, I gave him some Kleenex and prescribed my most powerful decongestant. He was so grateful, thanking me again and again as he bowed in that absurd cloak, that I was quite touched.”

“‘ ‘Ees complaint mus’ be very common among such peepul,” Pierre Dijon speculated.

“Why do you say that?” she wondered. A burning log slipped deeper into the fire with a sound very much like “Ta-Dum” and a shower of sparks as Pierre replied,

” ‘E snot easy, being green!”

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