In accordance with Mr. Gullible’s wishes, I take up the task of recounting a bizarre tale that he related to me in his last years. I have made every effort to remain true to his account, despite some literary license.
A Great Storm
In a sunny seaside town, long before it filled up with movie stars driving convertibles, there lived a young man named Jonathan Gullible. He was unremarkable to anyone except his parents, who thought him clever, sincere and remarkably athletic, from the top of his tousled sandy-brown head to the bottoms of his oversized feet. They worked hard in a small chandler’s shop on the main street of a town that was home to a busy fishing fleet. It had a fair number of hard-working folk, some good, some bad, and mostly just plain average.
When he wasn’t doing chores or errands for his family’s store, Jonathan would steer his rough sailboat out the narrow channel of a small boat harbor in search of adventure. Like many youths spending their early years in the same place, Jonathan found life a little dull and thought the people around him unimaginative. He longed to see a strange ship or sea serpent on his brief voyages beyond the channel. Maybe he would run into a pirate ship and be forced to sail the seven seas as part of the crew. Or, perhaps, a whaler on the prowl for oily prey would let him on board for the hunt. Most sailings, however, ended when his stomach pinched with hunger or his throat parched with thirst and the thought of supper was the only thing on his mind.
On one of those fine spring days, when the air was as crisp as a sun-dried sheet, the sea looked so good that Jonathan thought nothing of packing his lunch and fishing gear into his little boat for a cruise. As he tacked beyond the rocky point of the lighthouse, he felt as free-spirited as the great condor that he watched soaring above the coastal mountains. With his back to the breeze, Jonathan didn’t notice the dark storm clouds gathering on the horizon.
Jonathan had only recently begun to sail beyond the mouth of the harbor, but he was getting more confident. When the wind began to pick up strength, he didn’t worry until it was too late. Soon he was struggling frantically at the rigging as the storm broke over him with violent force. His boat tossed dizzily among the waves like a cork in a tub. Every effort he made to control his vessel failed, useless against the tremendous winds. At last, he dropped to the bottom of the boat, clutching the sides and hoping that he would not capsize. Night and day blended together in a terrifying swirl.
When the storm finally died, his boat was a shambles, its mast broken, sails torn, and it leaned in a definite list to starboard. The sea calmed but a thick fog lingered, shrouding his craft and cutting off any view. After drifting for days, his water ran out and he could only moisten his lips on the condensation that dripped off the shreds of canvas. Then the fog lifted and Jonathan spotted the faint outline of an island. As he drifted closer, he made out unfamiliar headlands jutting from sandy beaches and steep hillsides covered by lush vegetation.
The waves carried him on to a shallow reef. Abandoning his craft, Jonathan swam eagerly to shore. He quickly found and devoured the pink guavas, ripe bananas and other delicious fruit that flourished beyond the narrow sandy beach in the humid jungle climate. As soon as he regained some strength, Jonathan felt desolate but relieved to be alive. He actually grew excited at his unintended plunge into adventure. He immediately set off along the white sand beach to discover more about this strange new land.
”’Ken Schoolland is an associate professor of economics and political science at Hawaii Pacific University.”’
”’The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible began as a radio series on KHVH in Hawaii and was later broadcast as a dramatic production in Alaska.”’
”’The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible, A Free Market Odyssey, is in its third, revised and expanded edition, 2001