Christian Short Stories

John writes, "I am 63 years old and I have just started writing. This story is taken from a dream I had."

Never Delay
By John Wright

Once upon a time, there were three pirates. A more bloodthirsty trio would be hard to imagine. For years they roamed the high seas, killing and plundering the ships of the Royal Fleet. They had treasure scattered all over the known world, on little islands whose tiny populations welcomed them and the wealth that they brought. True, they had to tolerate a few murders and many assaults, but, gold was gold, and they were poor.   

The three pirates may have been brutal, but they were not dumb. They had no intention of taking all of their treasure to any one of these islands, after all, the citizens were darn near as mean as they were, and would have killed them and stolen it all.

So, they found a tiny, isolated island with no people, and stored their vast wealth there. One day, they came ashore to get a bit of gold. They anchored their ship offshore, rowed to land, loaded their gold and were about to head back, when they saw it. Off near the horizon loomed a great warship, with Royal colors flying.

Well, these pirates were prepared. They had cannon ashore and readied them, anticipating a great battle. Suddenly they heard the crack and roar of cannon fire, and their great, sleek ship was gone. Then, a small boat left the Royal ship and made its way toward them.

Just out of cannon range, the boat stopped, and a grand young man stood and said, "Surrender, and we will take you to prison. If you do not, we will leave you here to waste away."  

"Never," they cried. And the small boat left, and then the large ship sailed away. 

A year passed and the three survived. The island had a fresh water spring and fish were plentiful, but living was hard. They quickly grew to hate each other and fought constantly until, at last, they divided the island into three parts and stayed away from each other. Still, it was hard. The isolation was more depressing than the fighting.    

Then one day, a ship appeared on the horizon. A boat lowered and approached. A mild voice called to the men, who forgot their arguments and stood together on the shore.                                   

"I am the new Prince of the Kingdom. Times have changed. You have suffered enough. Come home with us and all will be forgiven."   

One pirate shouted, "You're lying, it’s a trap." He hustled to the small boat they still had and began rowing away from the island."   

The Prince sighed and said, "He will lose himself in the ocean and die, but I will not force anyone. Come, the rest of you, and be saved."  

The second pirate wept and said, "I have done great wrong. I cannot be forgiven, not now. I must stay here and suffer. I still must do penance." 

The Prince assured him that he had suffered enough, but the pirate wept and crawled away to suffer. "What of you?" he asked the third man. "Will you come and be saved?" 

The third man said, "Yes, I will. I, too, have done great wrong, but if you are gracious enough to offer me forgiveness, I cannot refuse." With that, he was taken to the great ship and returned to the Kingdom.   

The Price was true to his word. The man apologized for his evil and was forgiven. He spent the next year working at several jobs, and he lived a comfortable and peaceful life, and wherever he roamed, he always told everyone about the great Prince's compassion.  

But, he was troubled. He thought often of the man left on the island and his suffering. He filed a request to see the Prince, and when he approached him, they talked of the plight of the third pirate. The Prince also said that he was often troubled by the pirate's decision, but, he was unable to go see him again. He did, however, agree to have his great ship take the man to see if he could convince his old shipmate to come to the Kingdom. 

So the ship set sail and after months of travel came to the tiny island. The third pirate was still alive, but very ill. This time, he agreed to come back, after his comrade told him how the Prince had kept his word and how he had lived well in the Kingdom.   

By the time the ship returned to the Kingdom, the old pirate was near death. Still when they set foot on shore, the Prince was there to greet him. The man cried when the Prince forgave him, then he died. His old comrade said, "Well, at least he died knowing that his crimes were forgiven."  

The Prince was weeping, "Yes, that is true, and it is good, but still, I wish he had come sooner, so he could have enjoyed his time as a free man."   

(© 2014 John Wright – All rights reserved. Written material may not be duplicated without permission.)


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