Page:A Mainsail Haul - Masefield - 1913.djvu/31

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
19
SEA SUPERSTITION

foam. Then they would see dim pictures of themselves and of the ship. But at the last they always saw some unholy thing, and the unholy thing would lure them away to death. And it was a danger, he said, no young man should face, for though the other evil spirits, those of the earth and air, had power only upon the body, the evil spirits of the sea were deadly to the soul. There was a lad he had known in Lisbon who had gone along the coast in a brig, and this lad was always looking into the sea, and had at last seen the unholy things and flung his body to them across the rail. The brig was too near the coast, and it blew too freshly inshore, for the sailors to round-to to pick him up. But they found the lad in Lisbon when they got home. He said he had sunken down into the sea, till the sea opened about him and showed him a path among a field of green corn. He had gone up the path and come at last to a beautiful woman, surrounded by many beautiful women, but the one seemed to him to be the queen. She was so beautiful, he said, the sight of her was like strong wine; but she shook her head when she saw him, as though she could never give him her love, and