Short story XXI

Based on a true story

The sea languidly lapped ashore, that summer’s day. Oh, it’s so long ago, it’s nearly out of living memory. Some are still alive that remember it, though. What more alluring for a young lad than to build something that he thinks may float. What more fun than to do it with other pals. How exciting to find it actually does float. The sun beat down, and the sea carried the raft on its broad bosom. Being innocent of the ways of the sea, the boys did not spot the effects of the outgoing tide. They were having a whale of a time pointing out to each other the houses of the village as they slowly drifted by. One lad waved at his own house, but nobody was about. At the last house, someone did spot the little group on the raft. Slowly, the tide carried the craft away, the houses in the village became indistinct and the temperature dropped. The excitement ebbed a little, as the buildings in the town, a mile or two away, appeared on the horizon, looking unfamiliar from this distance. The sun began to dip towards the western hills when the tide finally lost its push, leaving the raft bobbing well out to sea, well out of sight of the town - but not out of sight of a fisherman who was returning home from his day’s fishing. The boys waved, and the fisherman tacked to approach. Swallowing an imprecation, he called to his crew mates to take them aboard, and bring them home. “What on earth are you lot doing here”, the skipper growled. It meant nothing to the lads that they had drifted five miles down the coast. They were more concerned at the reaction from their mothers, more to the point, from their fathers... They soon found out. As I said, some are still alive today that remember it - their backsides in particular! It earned one of them his nickname. I have altered it, for now. Let’s call him An t-Iasgair. The fisherman.

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