Presentation on theme: "The Flying Dutchman. This tale comes from Holland. Holland is a small country. It is sometimes called The Netherlands. Holland is a country that lies."— Presentation transcript:
The Flying Dutchman
This tale comes from Holland. Holland is a small country. It is sometimes called The Netherlands. Holland is a country that lies to the south and east of Scotland across the North Sea. Dutch people live in Holland and for hundreds of years they have been excellent seafarers.
Look closely at this map. You can see Great Britain and the rest of Europe. To the south you can see the continent of Africa. At the most southern tip of Africa is the Cape of Good Hope. Ships travelling to Asia and the east to and from Europe have to sail around this stretch of land. Sailors fear this part of their voyage. This is where the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean meet. Giant waves made by powerful storms and hurricanes around the Cape of Good Hope have caused many ships to sink.
‘The Flying Dutchman’ is a tale from Holland. It is a famous ghost story about a ship that sailed around the Cape of Good Hope. You may have seen the ‘Flying Dutchman’ in the film ‘The Pirates of the Caribbean’ about a ghost ship with a ghostly crew of sailors. The real story took place nearly 400 years ago at a time when great masted, tall ships sailed across the oceans.
In 1641 a Dutch ship was returning home from the Far East. The ship was called ‘The Flying Dutchman’ and its captain was a man called Van der Decken. Captain Van der Decken was pleased; during his trip he had bought large quantities of silks, porcelain, tea, spices, silver and wooden furniture and the ship’s hold was full. He looked forward to making a lot of money selling these goods to the wealthy people of Amsterdam on his return home.
Captain Van der Decken was desperate to get home. He knew that the most dangerous part of his voyage was sailing around the Cape of Good Hope. As the ship began its approach to the long stretch of water around the Cape one of the crew spoke to Captain van der Decken. He told him to look at the dark, storm clouds in the sky looming above the Cape.
Captain Van der Decken told the seaman not to worry, that he was the best skipper on the seas and that he had sailed through many, many storms and through the roughest oceans and that to him no sea was too high and no storm too fierce. The seaman pleaded with the captain to turn the ship back but Captain Van der Decken would not change his mind, and so the ship sailed on towards the storm clouds, rapidly growing in the skies above the Cape.
The storm grew fiercer and fiercer and still the captain would not turn the ship. The crew battled for hours to sail the ship through the dreadful storm. The waves grew higher and higher and the wind howled. It is said that the captain must have been drunk or even mad. The sailors warned him again to turn the ship, the passengers pleaded with him but Captain Van der Decken stood on deck, smoking his pipe and singing. The sailors knew the cost of mutiny. They would not disobey their captain and so the ship struggled on, as monstrous waves pummelled its sides.
A Dutch clipper sailing past the Flying Dutchman passed close by. The captain of the ship screamed across to Van der Decken, “Turn the ship back before it is too late! Your passengers and crew are doomed if you do not!” The captain screamed back, “I WILL round this Cape even if I have to keep sailing until doomsday!” This was to be the terrible curse that doomed the ship for evermore.
The wind roared with fury and an enormous wave reared up and crashed down upon the ship. There was a sickening crunch as the main mast split in two and crashed downwards on to the deck and down through the body of the ship. The ship shuddered, it heaved to one side and then plunged downwards into the icy depths of the water taking with it all hands on deck including the captain, singing and cursing at the waves all the way down to his watery death.
And so the foolish captain had doomed his ship to sail forever across the waters around the Cape of Good Hope. The ghostly ship has been seen several times. In 1835 the crew of a British ship rounding the Cape reported a ‘phantom ship’ apparently sailing towards them on a collision course. The ship suddenly vanished. In 1881 the crew of a ship called HMS Bacchante reported seeing the ghostly vessel. The following day, one of the sailors who had seen the ship, fell to his death from the rigging. It is said that whoever sees the Flying Dutchman will be cursed and will meet great misfortune.
"At 4am the 'Flying Dutchman' crossed our bows. A strange red light as of a phantom ship aglow... Thirteen persons altogether saw her, but whether it was Van der Decken of the 'Flying Dutchman' or what else must remain unknown. The Tourmaline and Cleopatra... flashed to ask whether we had seen the strange red light." In March 1939 a dozen people saw the ghostly ship and they all described seeing the same thing: a tall, masted, 17 th century sailing vessel. In 1942, four witnesses saw a sailing ship enter Table Bay and then disappear before their eyes. In one account Prince George of England, who later became King George V (1910), said that he had seen the phantom ship along with thirteen other witnesses. This is what he wrote in his log:
For almost four hundred years, sailors have reported seeing the phantom ship. Often it appears from nowhere and disappears as quickly. Usually it is seen at night or during a storm. The ship's ghostly crew may be seen working on the deck. Some sailors have claimed to see the Flying Dutchman's captain. They say he sadly warns them to stay away.
And so, the tale of The Flying Dutchman is told to this very day and people still talk of Captain Van der Decken and his ghostly ship forever sailing through the wild and stormy waters of The Cape of Good Hope for all eternity.