31.8.04 | Customs and Traditions of English Pirates In The 17th Century
During my in-depth research into cultures in the 17th Century, i came across, as you do, the usual slang references of sea-faring terms...
Y'know, "Arr!"; "Shiver me timbers!"; "Splice the mainbrace!" "Offend the carrot!"
"Offend the carrot?" says you, disbelief registering firmly within your suspicious eyes. "Pshaw!"
"Arr" sez i. Knowingly, and suddenly producing and lighting a long wooden pipe in true Gandalf fashion. Wisdom and knowledge exude exotically from every pore of my being. Also there is a small winged cat perched comfortably on my shoulder. As if by magic. Don't ask about the cat though. No. Don't. Shhh. Pretend it's not there. ok? OK?!
"Arr" i sez again. "Ye may mock, but in the 1600's...
(small interjection here. does it piss anyone else off that numerically, we've got one more century than the actual date. Fuckin' confusin' or what? Anyway on with the story...)
... there began a tradition, attributed to one Mauvebeard The Sane of "Offending the Carrot" before the ship set sail. Y'see, before even the sails were unfurled, each pirate on the ship had to make an orderly queue and one after the other, offend the Ships Carrot for good luck in pirating. But...
If any pirate repeated an insult to the carrot made previously, they were made "Ships Cook".
And that's why pirates were so fierce! (Especially if there was decent food to be had in the raids)
Incidentally, Mauvebeard also seems to have invented the ritual known as "Addressing the Carrot" whereby the sailors boarding his vessel The Happy Otter had to greet the Ships Carrot with a curtsy and a "Good day, m'lud" or be made Ships Wench. Despite his quaint customs and penchant for wearing a carrot pinned to his shoulder at all times. Mauvebeard the Sane wielded a fearsome reputation throughout all the shipping lanes of the world.
Mad as a toaster, though.
(And a thanks to Amanda for giving me the idea in the first place. You will assuredly be "remembered" throughout history, Amanda!)