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It was barely audible at first. Almost like something remembered or perhaps imagined; a dream or a fantasy.

Then it got louder.

The song was sweeter than honey and sadder than a last kiss. One by one, the men dropped what they were doing and stood still to listen. The ship drifted, its sails falling loosely without the wind to hold them.

The song grew louder. Some of the men jumped overboard and tried to swim towards the sound. Others simply fell to their knees and closed their eyes.


The Captain’s wife and daughter ran up onto the deck. The crew hadn’t wanted them onboard – an old superstition said that it was unlucky to have a woman on a ship, let alone two – but the Captain had insisted. Now they raced around the ship like Furies. The wife carried a stick to knock the men down, her daughter carried rope to tie them up.

The men fought them. Swore at them. Cursed the air that they breathed. But the two women took the wheel just in time to turn the protesting ship away from the rocks. Away from the sound of singing.

The Captain was the first to regain his senses. He embraced his wife and daughter with tears in his eyes.

“My darlings,” he whispered, “My angels. I always knew you were my good luck.”

© Kari Fay