Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/166

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condition. Looking out, he had seen a black frigate sail by so close that he could see the figurehead which represented a skeleton with a spear in his right hand. He also saw the crew on deck, which resembled the figurehead, only that skin was drawn over their bones. Their eyes were sunk deep in the sockets, and had in them a stare like that of dead bodies. Nevertheless they handled the cordage and managed the sail, which latter was so thin as to be like cobwebs, and the stars could only be dimly seen through them. The only word he heard, as the mysterious barque glided by, was 'Water'. The man who had seen this became depressed through the rest of the voyage and died soon after."

There are various versions of the story framed to account for the vision of the Flying Dutchman. That most usually accepted is that an unbelieving Dutch captain had vainly tried to round Cape Horn against a head-gale. He swore he would do it, and when the gale increased, laughed at the fears of his crew, smoked his pipe and swilled his beer. As all his efforts were unavailing, he cursed God, and was then condemned to navigate always without putting into port, only having gall to drink and red-hot iron to eat, and eternally to watch.