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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Pirates Treasure

"Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum," Mungo sang as he put the finishing touches on the room. It was Friday night again and Mungo had a great evening planned for the bairns. Tonight was going to be Ďpirate nightí. Heíd called all the mums and dads and asked them to send the bairns in pirate costumes. He was already wearing his black eye-patch. "Arrrgh, matey," he snarled at Ginger, who wasnít sure what was going on. "Me thinks yeíd better get put in the bedroom tonight, girl." He picked the cat up and took her into the bedroom, shutting the door as he left.

DING DONG! Mungo opened the door. "Argh! Itís Captain Long John Gregor and his companion, Capín wee Hamish. Come in lads."

"Wow, Mr. McGee. I love your costume!" Gregor said. Both he and wee Hamish wore bands around their heads, had the grubby-face look and wore eye-patches too. "Wow! Look at the room!" Mungo had brought an old chest through from the storage room and filled it with everything gold and silver he could find in his house. Heíd bought some fake gold coins and baubles from the shop and put them in there too. Heíd been lucky enough to find 2 old plastic skulls from the joke shop in the village and a pirate flag, the Jolly Roger, which he draped across his living room wall. Other pirate trinkets, such as swords, wooden legs, rubber rats and tankards of rum, were scattered about. In the background, soft pirate music was playing. "This is cool!"

DING DONG! "Hello, wee Fiona and Gavin. You really look like pirates. Come in and join the others." Before he could shut the door, Andy and Morag came running up. "Look at the bunch of you. Weíve got a real pirate crew here. Scalawags! Seadogs! Great!" Mungo said. "Tonight weíre going to have snacks in the kitchen. Iíve got fish and chips with vinegar and catsup, for those who like to dip their chips in it. Letís eat first and then Iíll tell a story."

They moved into the kitchen. What a feast. Mungo had cod and haddock and halibut, battered and deep-fried to perfection. Chips were piled high in a large bowl. Bottles of vinegar and catsup sat in the middle of the table, along with lemon wedges and salt. "This looks good," said Andy. He was hungry. They each sat at the table and filled their plates with the food. Mungo had also cooked a pot of peas and had some sliced bread with butter and jam. "This is a feast!" Andy said with a mouthful of chips.

"This is good, Mr. McGee," Gregor added. The others were too busy eating.

"Maybe weíll just talk while you eat. The fish comes from the sea. Pirates couldnít really catch fish when they were out in their ships, could they? They ate a lot of dried out sea biscuits. When they landed on an island or the coast of some strange land, theyíd have to replenish their supplies of water and fruit. A lot of pirates got sick from not eating right while they were at sea." Mungo said.

"Iíll bet they didnít have fish and chips like this," wee Hamish giggled.

"These chips are good. Theyíre just the way I like them," Morag said.

Gavin poured catsup all over his food. He saw Mungo staring at the plate. "I like catsup on my food," he smiled.

"Looks like you like a little food with your catsup," Mungo laughed.

"I donít like catsup with my fish and chips," Morag said.

"Me neither," added wee Fiona. "I like my fish plain. I donít even like vinegar."

"I like vinegar on my fish," Morag chimed in.

"Pirates didnít eat such luxuries while they were at sea. Iím sure you all noticed the flag on the wall when you came in, didnít you?" Mungo asked.

"I saw it, Mr. McGee. Itís called the Jolly Roger, isnít it?" Gregor said.

"Itís called the skull and crossbones too, right, Mr. McGee?" Andy asked.

"Youíre both right. Itís also called the Black Jack too. The real pirates that plundered the ships off the coast of Scotland long ago didnít call it that though. Only people who wrote stories about pirates called it those names. In fact, the pirates didnít even use a flag that looked like that. Only in the movies will you see such things."

"What? Real pirates didnít use the Jolly Roger?" Gavin said, surprised.

"No. If they flew a flag like that, then everyone would know they were pirates. Pirates were tricky. They flew flags of several different countries to fool the unsuspecting ships. Most pirates didnít wear eye patches either, nor did they dress like we are dressed. The people who make movies, to give pirates a more Ďglamorousí look, have done all this. They actually dressed like every other seaman in those days," Mungo explained.

"Were their pirates in Scotland?" asked Andy.

"There were pirates who attacked the ships off the coast of Scotland. Many of their ships were sunk because they crashed into the rocks along the shore. They say there is a lot of gold lying in the waters off the coast of Scotland," Mungo told them.

"Did pirates have parrots on their shoulders?" wee Hamish asked. "I saw a movie and the Captain had a parrot on his. It squawked and he fed it food."

"No, wee Hamish. Pirates were too busy for that. It is too cold up here in Scotland to have parrots. They would have died or the men would have eaten it when they were hungry."

"Oh no. Donít let them eat the parrot," whined wee Fiona.

"That was a long time ago, wee Fiona," chided Gavin.

"Gavin, you look scary in your pirate costume," Morag said. "I mean, you wonít make us walk the plank will you," she smiled.

Gavin shook his head and took another bite of fish.

"Pirates would attack ships in the Atlantic Ocean and would steal their gold and jewels or any other cargo they were carrying, even their food and water. They didnít come up to northern Scotland too often, as the waters were just too rough. Do any of you know a famous pirate?" Mungo asked.

"Long John Silver," said Gregor. "He was in the book, Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson."

"Very good, Gregor. How did you know that?" Mungo asked.

"My dad reads it to me. Robert Louis Stevenson is Scottish. His family built a lot of lighthouses all over Scotland," Gregor said, proud that he knew this information.

"Iím impressed. You are right. He was Scottish and his family did build a lot of lighthouses, many of them are still standing. Not only did the pirate ships crash into the rocks and sink, but many of the other ships, merchant and navy ships included, did too. There needed to be some lighthouses built to warn the sailors."

"Iíve been to a lighthouse before," Gavin said. It stood on top of a cliff and we climbed up to the top. You could see for miles in every direction."

"Thatís right, Gavin. The pirates were happy too. Lighthouses stopped them from crashing into the rocks. Now, does anyone else know a pirate?" Mungo asked.

"Blackbeard?" asked Andy. "Was there one named that?"

"Oh, yes there was. He was ruthless," Mungo said.

"What does ruthless mean?" asked wee Fiona.

"It means he did a lot of bad things. Most pirates didnít just steal, but they killed too and captured ships. They made people walk the plank and they did a lot worse than that too. Letís just be glad there are no more pirates like that today," Mungo said. He looked at the bairns, who were finishing up their fish and chips. "Do you want a sweet?" he asked them.

"Oh yes, Mr. McGee," said Gregor. "What kind?"

"Iíve got some double chocolaty fudge ripple ice cream in the freezer. Does anyone want some?" he asked, smiling.

"I do," they all screamed together.

"Very well. Why donít you all go into the living room and look at the treasure chest and Iíll bring it through to you there," Mungo suggested. Each of the bairns put their dishes into the sink and went into the living room. A while later Mungo came through with the ice cream. There wasnít one drop left in any of the bowls when they finally finished.

DING DONG! "Mum and Dad are here now," wee Fiona said. "Thank you, Mr. McGee," she said, hugging him tightly. "I had fun and I learned a lot about pirates."

Each child said thank you. "Och, wait a minute. I forgot," Mungo said. He ran into the bedroom and came back with little bags for each child.

"Whatís in here?" asked Gregor.

"Look and see," Mungo said.

They opened their bags and found gold coin chocolates. "Pirateís gold chocolates. How wonderful," Morag said. "Thank you, Mr. McGee."

The bairns left. Mungo sat in his chair looking at the Jolly Roger. He slipped his eye patch off and put it on the table. "Time to go and clean up the kitchen, girl," he said to Ginger, who had followed him out of the bedroom. She ignored him and curled up in a ball on the couch. He laughed, petted her and went into the kitchen to Ďclean the galleyí. "Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum. Argh!

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