When I was a very young man, I sailed from King’s Lynn, where nothing much has happened for longer than I care to state, though we did have a plague in 1665, long before I was born. Aye, it was no place for a restless man unless he put to sea, and so I did. Determined to bring some form of fame or at the least notoriety to my name, having come from such unromantic origins, I took to piracy once I had mastered the sail.
Oh, those were good days, when we used canoes to rob merchant ships off Nassau. How I delighted in swarming the big ships! It pains me to say it, but I did miss our little periaguas when I finally attained my big thirty-gunner, the Ranger. I hear you may know of my second, Teach, who in those days commanded the sloop I left for the Ranger, and sailed under my flag. He has some notoriety of his own, these days.
Together we took wine merchants and spirit merchants, and merchants of alcohol, and merchants who sold distilled liquors, and other such similar creatures. The shipful of flour bound for Havana, now, that was an error, and somewhat embarrassing, but you might say that in the right hands flour is still gold.
The time we raided a ship for their hats (having thrown ours overboard while drunk, the night before) may not be my finest moment, but one must admit it had style.
I never admitted to piracy outright whilst I was at it, and I never took an English ship, so that the front of privateerage in service of my country should at least be maintained. But I have taken a pardon now, as a pirate, so I suppose there’s no harm to calling it such. I have it in mind to speak to the new governor of the Bahamas; he says he has a place in his government for pirate-catchers, and I should be just as happy taking ships if they be pirate ships, as I was taking merchants. Pirates are probably the wealthier.
And wouldn’t it be funny if I took Jack Rackham, or my old friend Teach?
My name is Benjamin Hornigold, and I am the hat-thief, the rum-taker, the flour-snatcher, and the pirate-chaser of King’s Lynn.
Yearly, on the 19th, I remind my readers that it is Talk Like A Pirate Day, not Talk Like Every Pirate Day.