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What is this?? This has been a week of highs and lows. While everything is peachy in my own tiny corner of the globe, our daughter in law has lost her grandfather and our hearts ache for her and her mother. Now we are trying to figure out who is going where and who stays home and school starts next week, so we are running out of time with the grands.

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My mother is home from the hospital and doing much better, thank God. I spent an entire day looking for another pair of drapes that I should have bought when I bought the first set. I stress ate an entire package of licorice whips. Between what I need and what other people want. Today is me day. Hair, nails, the whole shebang! Yes, a bar. I am going to a bar. But for her I will do it. I found a lot of stuff I needed and forgot about the drapes for a bit. So I am off to the spa! Have a great weekend or just hole up in your house and read or soak in a bubble bath. Sit down with a cuppa and a nice cozy book!

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You are commenting using your WordPress. It had to be a big one, a last hoorah. I would not be Pedro the Flamingo if I did not go out with a proper feast. The Spanish trade focused strongly on Latin-America, where the colonies consisted of large patches of land, grand estates, and even bigger plantations and mines. These treasures were then brought to Spain, on board of large ships.

This was known amongst privateers of other countries, and the ships were often pirated. This money went straight into the Dutch army, eventually resulting in the defeat of the Spanish in the Eighty Year War. So the Spanish were well-known with privateers, and their trade vessels were often armed or accompanied by war ships.

W e had spotted the Spanish ship a couple of days away from our main port, a ship we would not even have looked at twice only weeks before. I had always been able convince my men to turn their back on the Spanish, as I saw Charles as the one king I would serve even though I was bound by contract to another. However, the rumours about the French renegade Jean Fleury had reached us only weeks before.

Port Royal had been buzzing with the wildest tales, it stirred the imagination what to do with such a treasure, it riled up my men. As soon as we spotted the Spanish flag, I knew there was no possibility that I could keep the loyalty of my men, as well as my own loyalty towards my king. O nly when we got closer, we realised how big the ship was. Twice the size of our own, cutting sharply into the waves. The sluggish movements told the tale of the treasures it carried on board.

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Filled with cold, hard, precious cash, and if we caught it we would be rewarded like heroes! I had my doubts, as this was a Spanish ship after all. I would never be able to return to my beloved country. But the men, my trusted sailors, smelled the peppery aroma of Aztec gold. The sweet scent of Inca-silver. The intoxicating perfume of the green coca leaves, mixed with the stimulating fragrance of the bitter tobacco.

There was no way I could hold them from this ship, forbid them this bounty. The men turned to me, their eyes full of hope, shimmering with the lust for gold. I took one more look at the Spanish ship, how odd it looked to be on its own, how its luck had turned. When I turned towards my men a grin covered my face as I raised my sword and my battle cry echoed out of thirty throats.

Pirate attacks were often short and, unlike many tales, not often very violent. Privateers disliked battle even more, as precious cargo could be lost and sailors could get wounded. After a short battle, that was usually won solely by intimidation and terror, cargo and ships were seized and later auctioned to replenish the state treasuries. I would like to say that the Spanish were braver sailors, but I knew better from the moment we started chasing them.

It only took us three cannonballs, two thunderous battle cries , and only a handful of my men to enter their ship to have them surrender. Drawn swords and pistols have the same effect on almost any sailor. Their captain tried to put up a fight, as soon as I identified myself he claimed that I was a coward and a traitor to the Spanish crown.

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Such claims and accusations are things I do not tolerate, not by anyone. I beheaded him on the spot, sending a shiver of fear as well as a warning amongst his men. My message was a simple one: their lives are safe, as long as they handed over the treasures they carried. On orders of the King of France I had seized many ships before, Dutch and English alike, and sold them for a profit on the auctions in France and its colonies. However, this time I would not take the vessel.

This sluggish ship, riddled with fleas and diseases that I would not wish upon my worst enemy, took its toll on my heart. Taking the treasure from a king and queen I once called my own was too much, I could not bring myself to take the ship too.

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So I cut the lines. While pirate-attacks were often short on sea, on land they were brutal. When privateers attacked colonies, they often ransacked the villages. Because of such heinous acts, most countries tried acts of piracy with hanging from the gallows. The only possible way for a privateer to auction the seized goods, was to return to the soil of the country he served, as only that country would not put him on trial for his crimes.

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The famous pirate Blackbeard, not a privateer at all, was beheaded by the English. S eeing that ship off was one of the hardest things I have ever done, it still is even at the end of my life. The treasure was worth it, I remember some of my men choking back tears when they saw it. It was so big that after we were rewarded by the Minister of the King we were rich beyond compare. Yet thinking about it, even after so many years, is a bitter pill to swallow for me.

As soon as we cut the lines and the Spanish moved away, I knew I could never return to the land I had once called home, nor to its colonies. My men tried to cheer me up by giving me a beautiful chest, made from the finest wood and metals I have ever seen. I still own it, its lid is engraved with an extravagant flamingo, a bird I have never seen in my life but which seems to be connected to me anyways. It the only piece of treasure I did not sell when we set foot ashore and I retired to the countryside of France. More and different short stories, can be found through here.

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