Dog of a Mutineer

Pricket sat in his cabin and stared again at his chart. Clearly there was no Northwest Passage and never had been.

They’d been embayed in ice these last six months, starving and riddled with scurvy and flux. With the slow coming of spring they had a chance to take leave of this damnable wasteland, sail away and perhaps even make it back to England.

A knock at his door. “Green and Juet to see you, Mr. Pricket,” said the seaman.

They came in, wan and thin as ghosts.

“Well?” said Pricket.

“Captain Lord Henry wants to try again,” said Juet. “He believes the uppermost estuary has promise.”

“The one we explored last summer? Nonsense. It’s another horsehoe inlet.”

“We agree with you, Mr. Pricket. But the captain…”

“Has clearly taken leave of his senses. Do you agree?”

They stared the deck, saying nothing.

“If we do this thing,” said Pricket softly, “we must do it entirely.”

What Pegman Saw: Manitoba

Historical Note:
After spending the winter of 1611 trapped by ice in the present-day Hudson Bay, the starving crew of the Discovery mutinied against its captain, Henry Hudson and allegedly set him, his teenage son, and seven supporters adrift in an open boat. They were never seen again.

Descriptions of the mutiny are one-sided because the only survivors were the mutineers themselves. Navigator Abacuk Pricket kept a journal that was the primary source for the narrative of the mutiny.

According to Pricket, the leaders of the mutiny were Henry Greene and Robert Juet, neither of whom survived the voyage home.

Latter-day historians belive that the story of the boat was a fabrication, and that Hudson and his supporters were in fact murdered in cold blood and dumped into the bay that bears his name.

8 thoughts on “Dog of a Mutineer

  1. Great tension here; I can feel why they might be motivated toward something as extreme as mutiny. But then as you say, the history is written by the survivors, so we can never be sure what really happened.

  2. I love how historians help unravel
    The truth and use journals and other sources to do it
    And this was a good read.
    Before I read the historical notes – about the starving – you conveyed it so well with
    “wan and thin as ghosts”

  3. Wonderful dialogue, Josh. I think you caught exactly the right tone for Pricket, and especially the way he frames the decision so carefully as a question both of legality and morality. You show him manipulating Juet and Green into mutiny. That’s brilliant in a story as short as this!

  4. This was fantastic, Josh! I can just feel their tension, despair and readiness to end the insanity. That area of Canada is quite forbidding…

  5. Having just watched the Marlon Brando version of Mutiny on the Bounty while Sitting in a hospital room a few days ago,
    I see lots of parallels between the tales.

    Both crews faced certain death no matter what they did: either at the hands of their captain, or later, at the gallows. Both were led by a charismatic if reluctant leader, against a stubborn or sadistic captain. Like your story, Bounty was also based on fact, I understand.

    You leave us with little doubt that it was Pricket who actually led the mutiny. I agree with Penny’s assessment of his powers of manipulation, and I admire how deftly you convey this desperate situation, so desperate that common sense demanded nothing less than mutiny.

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