Faith / Poetry / Short Story

The Andalusia and the Dead Sea Scroll

She rode the waves of the desert on the Andalusia, a mighty Galleon of the Spanish fleet.  Like Neptune’s Wooden Angle, like a figure head on the bow of a tall ship, she stood sentry lifting the liberty torch to guide the way:  her ringlet curls of chocolate silk flowing in the lonely wind,  Her face to the moon, her ruby lips a-glow in the firelight.  A crew of a hundred ghostly Spaniards tending the sails.  Portia was wrapped in strips of linen clothe;  her right arm lifted toward the eternal sky.


Public Domain
Lynn Greyling

A fierce storm ensued from the turbulent winds that aroused the jealous watchman of the night.  Waterless waves engulfed the hull tossing the ship to and fro.  The midshipmen threw overboard the pride of men to lighten the load.  The gusts retreated to the island of sorrows and suddenly there appeared a star.  So bright it was, it’s glory pierced through the clouds of iron and fire.

There, looking starboard, it’s light shone onto a small patch of  sand which began to move.  Swirling like a pool of water, it burst upwards into a column, and then shapeshifted into a palm tree.

So curious was Portia, she called for the midshipmen to drop anchor.    The loading doors were opened and she rode out on her Pura Raza Español, a unicorn she named Arwen.   Her mare’s gate was that of a noble queen leading a stately procession.  It took a cycle around the sun and eighteen and thirty fathoms to reach the palm.  Arwen knelt down on her forelimbs and Portia dismounted;  her white linen train sliding off the mare’s torso and into the sun quenched sand.  There she stood, in the shade of the Palm, to find some respite there from the scorching sun.  Tired from her journey, she embarked to lay down and fell into a deep sleep.

She awoke suddenly, and heard that of a “thump”.  She opened her oceanic eye’s, which gleamed like a pair of saphire jewels in the naked white sand, to see by her foot, something like a coconut, which had cracked slightly open.  She slid her thin long figures into the opening and broke it in two, giving one piece to her mare to eat.    Inside was a scroll, that had been sealed in red wax with a signet ring.  She reached up to wipe away the slumber that tarried over her brow like a fog, when she heard the warning siren on the Andalusia blow 3 bells, and saw the “D” flag hoisted on the masthead.   Quickly, she mounted Arwen and set off for the great ship in the desert with the scroll tied neatly into the mane of her unicorn.

Just a third of the way into their journey back, Arwen sprouted wings from eating the fruit of the palm.  They flew across the open tundra with the wind beneath their feet.  By the time they returned, the moon had taken it’s throne to reign over the night.  Smoke could be seen rising from the stern, and battle scars pocked the hull which resembled the size of  a 32lb Demi Cannon Ball.  The siren blew 2 bells and the loading dock opened.  Portia handed off her mare to the quartermaster, sliding the scroll discreetly into her pocket filled with sand, while the lieutenant gave a briefing.   An enemy warship had passed to deceive the Andalusia by dipping her flags in salute. But as they drew close, dropping their ensign and ‘passing honors’, they opened up the gun deck for action.  It was a huge blow to the ship and the crew, who carried already, so many wounds of disappointment and the unsightly scars of regret.

She headed for the forecastle and gave orders to the afterguard to mend the topsails and patch the hull.   While approaching her berth, she pulled out the tiny scroll and read what was written on the seal.

“The Key to the Treasure that lies beyond the flaming Sword”.  Hesitantly, she removed the wax with her nail and opened the parchment.  “Could it be,” she thought.  “Could this be the secret that dispels the dark void that lies within the golden vessel?”  She drank in the words from the scroll, believed them with her heart, and peering into the hour glass on the navigation board, saw 12 stars swirling above her head.

Filled with joy, Portia ran out on the Weatherdeck to tell the crew.  But as she came into the open, she heard the watchman sound the bells of War, and the crew scrambling to prepare the gun deck for action, again.

She opened her spy-glass, and looking port, she saw a hundred sea-fearing frigates bearing straight down the line.  She called for the three masts to be square- rigged and for the top sail of forgiveness to be hoisted.

Miraculously, a quarter of the Pirate ships ran a-ground at the sight of forgiveness.  But they were not out of danger yet.  As she scurried up to the helm, one of the crew brushed against her and the tiny scroll flew aft in the wind and confusion.

She became so busy with her duties and consumed with the battle, that the once sweet taste of the scroll, became bitter in her stomach.  Tired and weary the crew fought on, to what seemed like an endless battle of blood, sweat and smoke.  Then, a large cannon ball hit the stern with a powerful blow that shred the side of the hull like straw;   the enemy approached and boarded with gunfire.  Then the black bearded Pirate of condemnation struck Arwen with his bayonet, and she fell, fatally wounded on the upper deck.  Portia screamed so loud that the heavens shook and stirred up the winds of despair .  With wild abandon, she ran to her faithful friend, who lay with her white mane covered in blood.    She cradled her limp body in her arms as Arwen mustered up enough strength to speak her final words.

“The Secret of the Mystery of the Scroll, is not the Scroll itself Portia, but what it points to,” said Arwen in her last breath.  Then suddenly, Portia remembered the Morning Star.  A tear fell from her eyes right onto the wound in Arwens neck.  Portia bent over her friend weeping.  Suddenly, the warmth of the 12 stars ignited the healing power from the tears of repentance, and the wound on Arwens neck was gone.

The unicorn got up on all fours, and on her horn was written a new word:   Grace.   Portia went down on her knees, to praise the God of the Morning Star, who revealed to her the secret of the Treasure that lies beyond the flaming sword.  And the star broke loose on the horizon, which dispelled the pirates of the deep.  Their ships returned to the Shadowlands, where they made port on the shores of bitterness and anchored their vessels in the dark waters of hopelessness.

The gusts fled, and a million stars appeared in the night calm forming the shape of a cross.  The Andalusia was finally at rest.  Her wandering days were over.