The old Sea Dog was aboard a vessel that had gotten lost in the fog in pursuit of the fabled mermaid isle. The sailors could already hear the beautiful sounds of singing, but they had no sight of the stars or the sun, and their compass seemed to be broken.
The sounds of singing grew louder, and the island almost seemed to pull them into its current. None of the sailors had the least thought of fear as the irresistibly lovely music drew them forward. Now they could go in no other direction. As they drew nearer and nearer to the island, they began to be able to make out indistinct shapes in the fog. Hills and trees rose before their eyes, and still, the singing continued.
The men, intoxicated with the beauty they were hearing, strained forward as if they could will the boat to approach faster. Just then, as if orchestrated by magic, the sun burst through the fog and shone a single beam on a rock. A mermaid reclined there, and a hush fell over the water as she took up a solo line in the song. Her high, clear, angelic notes crossed the water with heartrending sweetness. Then the clouds parted and the sun shone in full glory upon the whole beach, lighting up a multitude of other mermaids, each more beautiful than the other, who instantly broke into full chorus at the close of the leader’s solo.
Even our beloved dalmatian leaned forward to sniff the air at this new adventure. The men were aflame with desire that became stronger every moment. As their boat moved closer with what seemed excruciating slowness, the song ended, and the lead mermaid beckoned to them with her hand.
“Hail, hearty sailors,” she said, her voice carrying over the water in a tone that melted the heart of every man aboard. “Welcome to our island of delights. Few have ventured to come hither, but all those who do are invited to come ashore. Behold, we await your presence at a feast we have prepared in your honor. Make no delay, but come.”
Anticipating the reception they would receive, and unable to wait for the ship to come to land, the men began diving overboard and swimming toward shore in their eagerness to get closer. One by one, the men leaped into the water, swimming away from the ship with swift, sure strokes, until only the Sea Dog was left on deck.
The fog, which had parted, suddenly rolled thick back upon them. No longer could any of the men see the land or the ship. The exquisite music, which had guided them so infallibly before, had now ceased. The men cried for each other, seeking for guidance, but even their voices seemed swallowed up in the veil of fog that covered them, and none of them was ever heard from again.
And thus it was that the Sea Dog was found floating aboard an empty vessel many days later, with no explanation of how it got there, who the crew was, or why they had disappeared. But the Sea Dog lived to have another adventure with the sailors who found him.
To Be Continued.