7 Chapter 7

Once upon a time arrogance and vanity made a ship captain and his crew go crazy. They sailed their ship towards the north until they came across the first dangerous icebergs. Once they had arrived at that dangerous place and just so they could show that they were good sailors, they didn’t change the course of the ship and kept sailing north. As more and more icebergs appeared around the ship the travellers and the crew became more and more worried. They started arguing with each other and asking for better living conditions.

-This has been the worst trip I have ever made! -said a sailor-. Everything is covered in ice and whilst I’m on guard the cold wind gets right into my bones. My fingers freeze, and all for a miserable 4 pounds a month!

-Our situation is worse! We can’t sleep with this cold, and we get fewer blankets than the men. This is unfair! -answered a woman.

The Indian sailor was also angry. He was paid half as much as the others, he was fed less, and the orders were always given in English and not in other languages.

On the other hand an animal lover claimed that the dog on board was kicked too often.

A University teacher who was travelling with the others summed it all up:

-This is not fair! This is racism! Sexual discrimination! Cruel! The workers are being trampled upon! We need justice! Equality for all, more pay, compensation, no sexual discrimination, and no more kicking the dog either!

The cabin-boy agreed, but spoke to them all using both his heart and his brain:

-All of you are right, but first of all we have to change course, turn the ship around. If we keep on in this direction, amongst these icebergs, we will sink and our rights will be worthless then.

However, as he was just a cabin-boy, no one listened to him.

The captain and officers smiled and looked on calmly. On seing the squabbling they had taken some decisions, so they let the travellers and crew know: the Indian would be paid more and some of the orders would be given in other languages, the women would get another blanket, and they would only be allowed to kick the dog if it stole food.

The travellers and the crew celebrated the news as a great victory, but the next morning they duly started to claim their rights again.

Meanwhile, the ship continued heading north between an ever-increasing number of icebergs.

The captain and the crew kept on smiling whilst observing the squabbles. To keep everyone calm they took some new decisions. They increased the pay, the number of blankets and everybody’s rights. This kept them all quiet and happy. However, by this time the cabin-boy was in despair.

-If we don’t change the direction of the ship, we will soon all drown!

The crew and travellers told him he was a stupid pain in the neck. They pushed him aside and went on talking about pay, equality and their rights.

The ship also kept on heading northwards. Soon it got stuck in the ice.

They all died, frozen, starved or drowned.


Red Tulips Copyright © 2002 by Gari Berasaluze. All Rights Reserved.


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