Page:A Mainsail Haul - Masefield - 1913.djvu/45

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33
THE YARN OF LANKY JOB

Now Job never knowed much about that trip of his among them little men in red hats, but he knowed he slept once, and they stuck needles in him. And he knowed he slept twice, and they stuck hot pokers in him. And he knowed he slept a third time, and "Woe betide you, Lanky Job," they said, and they set him on the bowsprit end, with bread in one hand and a sup of water in the other. "And stay you there, Lanky Job," they said, "till you drop into the sea and drown."

Now pitiful was his case truly, for if he looked behind there was little red men to prick him, and if he looked before he got giddy, and if he looked down he got sick, and if he looked up he got dazzled. So he looked all four ways and closed his eyes, and down he toppled from his perch, going splash into the wash below the bows. "And now for a sleep," he says, "since there's no water wet enough to drown me." And asleep he falls, and long does he drift in the sea.

Now, by and by, when he had floated for quite a while, he sees a big ship, black as pitch, with heavy red sails, come sailing past him in the dawn. And although he had a caul and couldn't