The Monsoon

This is by pun master Stan Kegel.

Captain Horatio Hornblower has to rank among the most heroic of naval leaders. Many books have been written describing his adventures in the most minute detail.

My favorite Hornblower story took place early in his career, shortly after his appointment as the ship’s commander. He was traveling in the North Indian Ocean waters when suddenly a monsoon developed. For those of you who do not know what a monsoon is, it could have been a hurricane, but it developed in the wrong place.

Well anyway his crew was working diligently to keep their ship afloat when with a sudden gust of wind, one of the sailors was swept overboard. Horatio immediately took after him in a lifeboat with eight of his crew. To their horror before they could reach the struggling crew member, he was swallowed by a gigantic white whale.

Hornblower immediately instructed his crew to row to the whale and when they reached he ordered each of them to start hitting the whale with their oars. After several minutes of pounding on the whale’s side, there was a sudden retching sound, and the sailor came flying out of the whale’s mouth. The crew was able to reach him and bring him aboard the lifeboat, weak but still alive.

After they had returned to the ship with everyone praising Hornblower for his rapid action, he was asked how he had thought of pounding on the whales side to make him vomit. Horatio answered that his decision should be obvious to any brave seaman. The only way to get the whale to release the sailor was to beat the tar out of him.

An addendum by Chris Cole.

I guess the whale couldn’t stomach the plank ol’ Horatio was playing upon him!

Perhaps the fish simply ingested too much iron in his diet (wooden ships, iron men) or maybe he couldn’t handle so much grease (from the sailor’s pigtails).

If the sailor was especially muscle-bound, then I suppose the poor seasick whale was blowing hunks.

Hopefully the water washed off the expelled sailor, avoiding the inevitable comment, “Blimey, a slimy Limy!”

And Bob Levi was tempted to add:

Wouldn’t you know that the poor sailor who had been swallowed by the white whale retired and went to work for an asphalt company. (You say that lightning can’t strike twice. It can with this pun. It should be obvious what’s coming!)

One day the former navy guy fell into a batch of asphalt and his rescuers found that he had swallowed the gooey stuff and was suffocating. So they used the standard procedure when someone is choking on this stuff. Normal CPR doesn’t work. The only way is to hit the poor victim and beat the tar out of him.

(Could this type of experience have been the origins of this expression or did it come from an Uncle Remus story?)

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