03 August 2012

Top Five Friday: Under the Sea!

“It is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen.
~  J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion
 A
ugust 1st was Herman Melville’s birthday.  An interesting man whose adventuresome youth was spent mainly on the ocean.  The majority of his fantastic travels were so unbelievable, that Typee and Omoo were published as novels.  A twist on the Three Cups of Tea issue.

In honor of his birthday, I have a list of my top five favorite stories of the sea.

A list of sea yarns must necessarily include Melville’s tale of the great whale and the captain who obsessed over capturing it.  Required high school reading always bears a second look in adulthood, so if you haven’t read it since bell bottoms or neon pants were in vogue, pick it up this weekend and sail the high seas with a madman.

Sad but true: for the longest time I thought this story was a work of fiction.  Not until much later did I discover it was a historical event.  There is something about Captain Bligh that inspires trust and hints at romance in the most noble sense.  Strength, honor, duty, and faithfulness: beautiful values that are sorely absent in most of the stories being lived out around us. 

But Bligh was real flesh and blood man and he had them in abundance.  So there is always hope that they may surface again, like a treasure from Davy Jones’ Locker.
Even if you never read it, I’m sure you have seen the Disney movie.  I hope you’ve seen it!  It’s a story about  sustainability, self-sufficiency, and surviving shipwreck with grace and fortitude. 
Captain Smollet, Long John Silver, Billy Bones, Jim Hawkins.  And Kermit the Frog.  Oh wait, that wasn’t in the book.  But it is an unforgettable version of it!

I wish more young boys (and girls too) would discover this classic tale of adventure, betrayal, danger, honor, and courage.  Actually, I wish more people would simply read period!

I recently bought Tom Shippey’s The Oxford Book of Fantasy Stories and this is one of the tales.  Deliciously strange and creepy, and well written ~ I could smell the brine and the seaweed wafting through the massive oak door that led to. . .well, I’ll let you find that out for yourself.

Fathomless depths, strange water-blurred worlds.  Perhaps it is because of stories like these that I prefer to vacation in the mountains!

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

What are your favorite sea-based stories?
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