Captain Weakleg was on his way, sailing north towards Cooley’s Current. The water there had a reputation of being extremely chilly. A man wouldn’t last more than a minute in water that cold.
Also, there was that other problem mentioned by the sailor back at the dock. Something ominous was ahead. Something that had kept other ships from ever returning from Cooley’s Current.
But all of this was also the reason the fish from this area were so good. They weren’t completely hunted out like so many other places. They were left to thrive in untouched waters, far from the reach of men wary of its dangers. Despite all of this, after so many years of disappointing catches, the captain was captivated by the chance of finally hitting it big, and bringing home a literal boat-load of the finest fish.
Even though the captain was the only man on board, he wasn’t too lonely. He would talk regularly with his pet, Snowflake, a lop eared bunny.
Many days went by and slowly turned into weeks. By the flame of a hanging lantern, swinging by the motion of the waves, he lay in bed at night and spoke, “One more day Snowflake, then we should be within Cooley’s Current.”
Then he sneered, “Too bad you aren’t a parrot, you could have held a more interesting conversation.”
Snowflake just blinked her bunny eyes slowly, then once more without opening them, feigning sleep.
“Yeah, I guess that’s a good idea, it is pretty late. And we have a big catch to handle tomorrow,” he agreed as he blew out the lantern and drifted off to sleep.
In the middle of the night, the captain and Snowflake were both sleeping peacefully, when all of a sudden there was a room-shaking BUMP!
After hearing (and feeling) the loud thud on the side of the boat, the captain’s eyes sprung open. He immediately jumped out of bed, and ran up to the top deck to see what it was. As he summited the stairway, he looked out over the railing, to the dark sea before him. The water was fairly still, and the moon’s reflection was bending and shimmering off it’s rolling waves.
He ran to the other side of the boat and gazed out. Nothing there either. There was an eerie silence on the ocean. He wasn’t sure if he bumped something underwater, perhaps an old shipwreck, or maybe even some floating iceberg. But the water surrounding the ship looked clear of obstructions as far as he could tell in the pale moonlit night.
He headed back down to his bunk. Snowflake was still in deep sleep. Captain Weakleg rested his head on his pillow and closed his eyes. As much as he tried to put it out of his mind, he couldn’t help but entertain the idea that there may be something else in the water. Something that the sailor back at the docks had feared. Something dangerous.
The next morning, the captain awoke to a fresh ocean scent, similar to the smell before a gentle rain while back on land. He immediately got to work, ready to fish. Snowflake was brought up to the main deck in her cage, and the captain made sure to rub her head for good luck before he dropped each net down into the icy blue water.
And guess what happened? Every net he pulled up was overflowing with the largest, finest looking fish you’ve ever seen. The captain was so exuberant with each catch, he was starting to dance around the deck while working. After a long day of pulling up net after net, his storage area was filled to the brim.
He couldn’t believe it! He laughed and yelled out to Snowflake, “I knew you had some luck left in ya!”, rubbing her head vigorously enough to make her ears flop all over, like a wet dog shaking off. He then tucked her into the cage up on deck, telling her to rest up for the long journey home.
After the captain had sealed off the storage area, he pulled out his map, rolled it open and began plotting the best course home, when suddenly he noticed a drop hit the paper. Then another drop. Next thing you know, the sky was opening up and rain was showering down heavily.
As the sun set, the rain seemed to only get stronger and stronger. The captain figured he would wait until the storm was over to head home, but the peaks of the waves were getting higher and higher. Soon they were smashing the side of the boat with a loud smack.
As the storm worsened, so did the captain’s ability to balance. He was starting to live out his name again, tumbling across the deck with each swell.
Into the night, the waves were now hurdling over the sides of the boat, and crashing onto the deck. Captain Weakleg staggered over and took the ship’s wheel. He tried to maneuver the best he could to keep the enormous ship from capsizing.
That’s when he heard the terrible sound.
He looked off to the starboard side of the ship. Through the hammering rain, and the light of the moon, a giant head was rising out of the water with two glowing yellow eyes, hot as fire. Then all around it, up came eight waving arms, like giant snakes slithering in air.
The giant octopus slopped his tentacles down hard onto the ship. They made the sound of the largest wet mop to ever hit the deck. One of them writhed it’s way to the captain’s leg, twirled around it tight, and pulled.
Captain Weakleg gripped the ship’s wheel, and held with all his might, determined to not to let the octopus pull him overboard. But his strength failed him, and his wet hands began to peel away from the pegs of the wheel.
Finally, he could hold on no more, and he was ripped from the wheel, and slid along the deck toward the railing. He kicked and grasped, but it was no good. He was going to be in the freezing water within a matter of seconds.
Out of the corner of his eye, he could see he’d be sliding past Snowflake’s cage while on his way to the railing. He knew he only had one chance at this. In the split second that he went by, he quickly reached out and unlatched the door of Snowflake’s cage. He could only muster out a terrified, “HELP!”.
In a flash, Snowflake leapt from her cage onto the captain’s leg that was still being towed by a tentacle. The octopus opened his burning eyes wide with fear, having never seen such a strange creature before. Snowflake opened her mouth wide, and bit down hard on the octopus’ arm.
Another great groan was let out from the ocean, “ROOOOAAWWWW”.
Just before the captain went over the railing, the octopus’ grip loosened, and the large purple snake-arm retracted back into the water below.
The captain and Snowflake both watched as the large head with glowing eyes submerged back into the deep, dark sea. Within a few seconds, the fiery eyes flickered out as they disappeared from sight.
Captain Weakleg helped Snowflake back into her cage, and he immediately turned the ship south, back toward home.
During the return voyage, the captain mostly chose to sail through the night, not that he was sleeping much after that encounter anyway. They made it back to port in half the time.
Upon arrival, the captain told everyone the story of his dangerous encounter in Cooley’s Current, including how it was Snowflake that ultimately saved them from the giant octopus. Some didn’t believe him, but he had the fish to prove it. Even then, most people just figured the part about his lucky bunny saving the day to be embellishment for interest’s sake.
“These are the finest fish I’ve ever seen,” said the one sailor on the dock. “And from now on we’re going to call you Captain Strongleg. It was your leg, after all, that went up against the octopus, and look who’s here standing before us now!”.
Captain Strongleg gave Snowflake a wink, knowing full well that if it weren’t for her, they wouldn’t have made it. She nodded and munched away on an entire head of lettuce. That was all the thanks she needed.
The captain was once again respected among the other fishermen, and he even got his crew back. Together they sailed the seas, sometimes catching a lot of fish, sometimes not. But they never did head back to Cooley’s Current again, even when the crew encouraged it.
“You shouldn’t press your luck,” Captain Strongleg said patting Snowflake on her soft white head.