15 Jul 04 8:40 PM
Legend has it that a maniacal Dutch sea captain was struggling to round the Cape of Good Hope in the teeth of a terrible gale that threatened to sink his ship and all aboard. The sailors warned him to turn around, but the captain, either mad or drunk, refused to change course. He pressed on, singing loud and obscene songs, before going below to his cabin to drink beer and smoke his pipe. Monstrous waves pummeled the sides of the ship, howling winds bent the masts and tore at the sails, but still the captain held his course, challenging the wrath of God Almighty by swearing a blasphemous oath.
Finally, there was a mutiny on board; the crew and passengers attempted to take control of the ship, but the captain, roused from his drunken stupor, killed the leader of the rebellion
and threw him overboard. The moment the body hit the water, the clouds parted, and a shadowy figure materialized on the quarterdeck.
"You're a very stubborn man," the shadow said, and the captain answered him with a cussword. "I never asked for a peaceful passage," the captain went on. "I never asked for anything. So clear off before I shoot you, too."
But the figure didn't move. Drawing his pistol, the captain tried to fire, but the gun exploded in his hand. Now the figure spoke again, and told the captain he was accursed.
"As a result of your actions you are condemned
to sail the oceans for eternity with a ghostly crew of dead men, bringing death to all who sight your spectral ship, and to never make port or know a moment's peace
," the shadow said. "Furthermore, gall shall be your drink, and red hot iron your meat." The captain, reckless to the last, cried, "Amen to that!"
Clues are in italics