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The Gospel According to a Pirate
by Toni Babcock
12/25/2014 / Short Stories
Hey, I'm Jacob! When I was ten, my cousins and I were about to learn the real meaning of Easter in the most unusual way I could imagine. We had just finished our annual Easter egg hunt, when we all ran toward the campfire at Grandma and Grandpa's little cabin in the woods.
Grandpa was all dressed like a pirate!
"Hear me young ones! Gather 'round! I have news to tell ye surely want to heararrrggg!" he shouted.
We gathered around, laughing and taunting the "pirate."
"Grandpa, you look funny!" cousin Cassie said.
He did look funny. He wore a black patch over one eye, and a black pirate's hat on his head. He had a charcoal beard, and when he smiled he had a fake gold tooth that glimmered in the sun.
"Ahhhh there, ye found yer eggs, have ya?"
Grandpa peered into our bags with his one eye. "Well, arrrrggg, think again!" He leaned forward looking mysterious, and pointed toward a trail that led around a nearby pond.
"What's that ye see? Thar's a trail ye missed!" he said.
We all started to run toward it.
"Not so fast!" Grandpa shouted. "Hold onto yer skivvies and come back! Ya don't know what yer looking for!!"
"What is it?" I asked, wanting to get back on the trail in a hurry.
"Yer cousin Jacob is wanting to know what it is," Grandpa said in a loud voice. Then he bent down, his one eye squinting, looking cautiously from side to side.
"Ya see the 'General' over thar?" He nodded toward a big pine standing at the far end of the pond. "Well, he's guarding a treasure! A golden treasure! And it's a treasure indeed! Arrrggg! The General has been keeping watch for some time now, and I'll tell ye this: he don't give up his treasure easynot fer any old scaliwags just looking fer fame and fortune."
"Can we go look for it?" asked cousin Cassie.
Grandpa stood straight and crossed his arms. "So, ye believe there is a real treasure over thar do ya?"
Cassie gave Grandpa a skeptical look. "You just said there was!"
"Well, how do ye know I'm not just pulling yer wooden leg? I'm a pirate! Arrrrggg!"
"Grandpa! I don't have a wooden leg," Cassie giggled. "Can we go look, please?"
"Wellhmmmif ye believe it's a real treasure that the General is guarding over thar, then how many eggs will ye give me if I let you find it?"
Cassie thought about it. "I'll give you two eggs!"
"Only two?" Grandpa raised his brow.
Cousin Peyton spoke up, "I'll give you three eggs!"
"Arrrrgggg! The laddie thar with the flaxen hair is offering me three eggsnow who will give me more?"
Grandpa turned his squinty eye toward the rest of us.
One by one, we bid away our eggs for the chance to find the hidden treasure.
"I'll give you all my eggs if I can find the hidden treasure," I shouted.
"Be it known ye lads and lasses! Jacob is the first to bid away all his eggs! I'll take those from ya, laddie." Grandpa reached for my Easter bag and told me what to do.
"Listen laddie," he said. "Thar be a small shovel beneath the boughs of that tree of which I speak. Find the shovel, and when you do, start ye digging. But I'm warning ya, don't open up the hidden treasure. Bring it to me first, lest ye stir the wrath of the great General! Arrrrgggg!"
Everyone ran around the pond to the big tree. Lucas spotted the shovel in a clump of grass about ten feet away from the General's roots.
"Over here, Jacob!" he shouted.
I ran over, picked up the shovel, and started to dig. I dug deeper, and deeper into the sandy soil. Soon I spotted something gold. "I found it! I found the treasure!"
Everyone crowded around. I reached in and pulled out a golden-colored egg, a great BIG golden-colored egg. It was sealed shut with tape.
"Remember, don't open it!" Lucas reminded me.
We all ran back to the campfire. Grandpa was sitting on a log bench looking like a real pirate. He had us gather around like he had something really important to say.
"Now Jacob, hand over yer golden egg fer just a while, and later I will give it back."
I groaned and gave Grandpa a suspicious look, "How do I know you won't steal my treasure? You're a pirate!"
"Arrrrggg! I don't need to steal yer golden egg. I have treasure of me own!"
"Okay, five minutesthat's all you get!"
"It's a deal, laddie."
Grandpa held up the golden egg. "Hear ye now ye lads and lasses! Jacob is giving me five minutes to convince ye all that yer all pirates! Arrrrggg!!"
We laughed and taunted, "We're not pirates! You are!"
"Ohhhh?" Grandpa said furrowing his brow and blinking his sooty eye. "So ya think yer not all pirates do ya? Well let me ask ya this. Do yer mother and yer father give ye rules to keep?"
"Yes," we said.
"Well then, allow me to ask ye all this. Do yer teachers at school give ye rules to keep?"
"Yes!" We all rolled our eyes in agreement.
"Well I got news for ya!" said Grandpa gruffly, standing straight. "They don't make rules for people who keep 'em! They make rules for people who break 'em! People like us pirates! Arrrrggg!"
Me and Peyton fell onto the grass laughing. "You're hilarious Grandpa!"
"Yes sir," Grandpa continued. "So ye best be hearing what I got to say, and quit yer belly rolling in the grass. Arrrrggg! Because I'm here to tell ye that thar's a little pirate in every one of ya. That's why the good Lord gave us rules to keep! Rules like, ye shall not swear like a pirate, or steal like a pirate, or hate like a pirate, or wish ye had what some other pirate's gotArrrrggg!"
"So sit ye quiet, lads and lasses, and hear what else I got to say. It only takes a little pirate to sink a whole ship. And the bad news is, we're all in the same boat."
We were all listening now to what Grandpa was saying in his silly, crazy pirate way.
"But here's the good news." He held up the golden egg.
"When the good Lord looked down upon us pirates sailing our stormy seas, WE was just what He was looking fer! We were the treasure he was always wanting for himself, just like this golden egg. 'I'll buy that golden treasure,' the good Lord said! 'I'll buy it with me own blood!'"
"Now the good Lord's name is Jesus, and He gave up all He had and walked the plank fer you and fer me, all the way to the cross of Calvary, and thar He died, but the grave couldn't hold him. No sirHe arose! And now He lives to claim his prize and live in yer heart and mine. And that's what Easter is all aboutArrrrggg! Now I thank ye all fer listening."
"But Grandpa, what about the golden egg?" I asked.
Grandpa looked at the egg in his hand. "Oh! Ye be wonderin' what's in this golden egg? Well, ye can open the egg after we roast our hot-dogs." Then he handed the egg to Grandma.
"Wait a minute! You said I could have it after five minutes!" I told him.
"Well no, laddie. I didn't say I was gonna give it back to YOU after five minutes!"
"But you tricked me!" I moaned.
Of course I tricked you! I'm a pirate! Arrrrggg!"
Later on that day...
Me and my cousins sat around the campfire roasting marshmallows. The sun had set and the campfire made shadows dance on Grandpa's sooty pirate face.
"Can I have my egg back yet? " I asked.
Grandpa knew how much I wanted to open it, but he had another story to tell.
"Hold onto yer skivvies Jacob! I knew a pirate once" he began.
"Another pirate story? " I asked.
"Aye, and it's a good one too, laddie! More interesting than what you think is in that golden eggArrrggg!"
"As I was sayingI knew a pirate once. His name was Pop-eyed Smitty. One day the good Lord came knocking on old Smitty's heart."
"Let me in," the good Lord said. "I bought ye with my own blood, do ye believe it?"
"No sir! Nobody owns this pirate! I'm the captain of me own ship!" old Smitty answered.
"Three times, the good Lord knocked, and three times old Smitty hollered back,
"No sir! Nobody owns this pirate! I'm the captain of me own ship!"
"The captain of his own ship indeed," said Grandpa. "Within a year old Smitty and his ship was sunk in a stormy seacarried off into the cold deep waters where he could hear the Lord knocking no more."
"Now the good Lord has a question for us all. And the question is: Do ye believe ye are the Lord's treasure? And if ye do believe, have ye made the Lord yours? Just like ye looked for that golden egghave ye searched for Him with all yer heart, calling on Him while He is near, forsaking the pirate way before the stormy seas pull ye far from shore, where ye hear the Lord knocking no more? In other words, if the Lord came knocking, would ye let Him in? Now thar's the question the good Lord would leave rattling in yer bonnie heads until ye get an answer."
We all sat stillstaring. Who was this man with the pirate hat? It seemed as if the Lord himself was talking to us in a pirate's voice!
"Well, we've held onto Jacob's golden egg fer long enough. It's about time we let Jacob open it and see what's inside," Grandpa said.
Grandma handed it back to me. "Open it up, Jacob!"
I cracked it open and pulled out a twenty dollar bill buried in a mound of chocolate candy coins! Then a slip of paper fell on the ground.
"See there! Jacob believed the hidden treasure was worth all his eggs, and now he has treasure enough to buy all yer eggs and more!" Grandpa patted me on the back. "Well done, laddie! Ye followed the Lord's example."
He picked up the slip of paper that fell onto the grass. "And here is a promise that goes with the golden egg. It's not just for Jacob, it's for everybody."
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life, John 3:16."
"Now thar's a promise ye can believe in! Return to yer play, ye bonnie lads and lasses, but don't forget what the good Lord is saying to you this Easter day!"
Original copyright 2012, adapted for this application 2014
Toni Babcock is author of The Stone Writer, Christian Fiction for Young Readers and Teens.
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