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Finding New Hope


Photo copyright: Lucy Fridkin
Photo copyright: Lucy Fridkin

The leaden water matched her eyes, the journey had been particularly bad. The water and food had been no better, but few could eat as the storms had tossed the small ship like an apple in an apple bobbing tub. Emelia wondered what lay ahead for her, was it bright like the sky or dark like the ocean. The Barbary privateers had plucked her from the St George as it was sinking. Now as she stood on the stone plinth it seemed that her life belonged to the Ottoman Empire. Well damn that, Irish girls did not give their favours for free.


Many ships at sea as well as coastal villages in Ireland were targets for barbary slavers. Rescue was unlikely and hope must have been very rare. When I saw the picture containing Ellis Island my thoughts turned to the peril of ocean travel.

This Post Has 43 Comments
    1. That is a kind comment, as for the novel it might be possible, sadly my energy levels are to low for a novel at present. Perhaps I need to try a winged fly suit, and blow the cobwebs away.

    1. Very true, several of my ancestors took to the oceans escaping famine in Ireland. The human being will strive to better their lot – I guess just like an animal that strives to obtain food. Now I am getting philosophical.

  1. Great story, Michael with some great lines. My favourite was the last line. I also have Irish ancestors who came to Australia around the time of the famine…and a few sent out earlier as convicts. The English could never really subdue the Irish and far be it for a Barbary pirate to succeed!
    xx Rowena

  2. Wonderful, Mike! I felt that sense of being there and knowing these people. You packed a lot into that narrative. Super!

    Five out of five Dramamines.

  3. The perils at home outstrip the perils of the voyage. Guess that’s why India gets refugees from Sri Lanka. Similar boat people are landing all over the world. They rather face the wrath of the seas or various peoples of a land than the wrath of their native land. Poignant!

  4. A great historical tale, and very vivid writing. I agree with the others that this could turn into a novel. In only a few words you’ve made Emelia an intriguing character. Great writing.

  5. I suspect she’s going to need that feistiness you’ve described so well, in her predicament. Lovely character building. And the backstory is most evocative and full of potential for development – as others have said.

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