Forgive me, I know it has been many months since word of me has reached you and I am sorry for the delay but even I am still trying to believe the events of the past year.
You know of course that I shipped out on the whaler "Pequod" some time ago under the command of Captain Ahab (may his soul rest in peace) at first it seemed that it was to be a relatively normal three year voyage but that notion was disabused as soon as we left port.
I will tell you now of the events that followed, of the madness of Captain Ahab, the deal he struck with the crew, and the hunt for the white monster Moby Dick.
None of us anticipated it at first. All of the crew had heard that Ahab was a strange and brooding man, but few of us had shipped with him before so the fact he did not even appear during the first weeks of sailing was unnerving but prompted more curiosity than anything from all of us. One of my shipmates, Ishmael, who had been signed on just before we left along with his savage friend Queequeg, showed particular interest in the mysterious Captain and had many questions for the more experienced of us, I found him a good enough man though given to flights of intellectualism that would scare a professor of philosophy. Our curiosity was only heightened later however, when we first met the Captain. It began with him coming on deck to pace, his ivory leg thumped most distractingly on the ships deck unnerving and disturbing the crew as they went about their work. We would have spoken to the first mate about it who was a very good and responsible man but before we had a chance we saw, unwittingly, the first signs of that which was to come.
One day when the Captain had come on deck in a darker mood than usual we were all holding our breaths it seemed, though for what we didn't know, when he began to speak.
At first his words were confusing and his themes strange but then he spoke of the legendary white whale, the same whale that had taken his leg (and his sanity) lo those many years ago, the same whale he told us, that he had been chasing ever since.
His words rose in us and our blood boiled for the hunt and the kill, than he took a hammer and nailed a great golden nugget to the mast and promised it to the first man among us who raised the white whale. Thus with both our manhood and our greed appealed to we were his. We all joined in the revelry and cheering, the baying for blood and adventure. I am ashamed to remember it now. Though among us all only myself, Ishmael (and Queequeg of course), and the first mate seemed to have reservations about the plans that Captain Ahab had.
How did our hearts seem to know and cast such foreboding on what was to come?
It was many months, many whales, and many strange events later that we finally raised that white whale. We had just had an encounter with a sad ship seeking a lost boat and their Captain's child son, Captain Ahab had refused them assistance in their search so mad was he with the hate he bore that white creature.
How we chased it, how close we came so many times until at last, unnatural monster that it was, it turned and attacked.
The Captain was lost as he attempted yet again to spear it, tethered to the whale with his own harpoon, and fatally wounded but malignant as the devil himself, Moby Dick turned on the ship. Never has such savagery and strength been displayed as when with a mighty rush the sea monster struck the ship and with a horrible crunch stove in the side.
The sea rushed eagerly to take the offering the whale made of our poor "Pequod."
I saw Ishmael, poor Ishmael, he had lost his dearest companion Queequeg in the first battle with the white whale and the loss had nearly undone him so close they had been, I had seen on more than one occasion the two of them sitting in a secluded corner of the deck under the stars, keeping the watch as they passed between them the strange pipe that the savage always carried. It did not shock me, savage though he was there was a certain nobility and strength in Queequeg I have only ever seen in the best of men and that Ishmael had also seen it was a relief, man should never be alone and on that cursed ship we were all alone but them. However they assuaged that loneliness was their prerogative as men and as sailors. Cruel was fate to tear them apart but I believe that I saw Ishmael clinging to the erstwhile safety boat as the ship went down, even as I jumped over board with a few strung together barrels. I hope he survived. After a few days of despair and desperation, I was picked up by a returning whaler and with some astonishment after they heard my tale they brought me back to the port.
So ends the strange journey I have undertaken Mother, I hope it has not scared you unduly for I am truly fine and am on my way home where I shall stay for a long time, I believe I have learned some important lessons on this adventure, especially that man should not live in the past. After the madness of our former Captain, the greed of humanity that leads to its downfall, the monstrous creature we hunted, after all this I do not believe I want to sail on a whaling ship again.
I have seen too much of humanity and its foibles these past months, these past years even. And it is enough to last any man a lifetime. Often I have asked both myself and God on high why such things must come to pass and I don't believe there is really an answer, I simply must say to myself whenever the doubt and fear assail me that no matter the horror to the situation that nothing in this world is without purpose, and whether I can see it or not- the universe is unfolding as it should. Here I adjourn my letter Mother, for I will see you soon. I come traveling as swiftly as I may. I hope to find you in good health.
All my love,
Bibliography & Disclaimer: All characters and story belong to Mr. Melville except for my anonymous narrator and his version of some events.
The line "the universe is unfolding as it should" is taken from the song "Spock Thoughts" by Leonard Nimoy, completely his and I am only honored to use it.