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. ceayr

    Tensely built tale, Michael.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you so much C.E. – Fortunately history offers so much to the writer.

  2. rochellewisoff

    Dear Michael,

    Your story is well told and the last line is perfect.



    1. Michael Humphris

      Emelia appreciates your support and so do I.

  3. dmmacilroy

    Dear Michael,

    This was tale for the ages and has within it the seeds of a novel, don’t you think.



    1. Michael Humphris

      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.

  4. neilmacdon

    I loved the line “The leaden water matched her eyes”

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thats kind, she had a bad day, and things could get worse – but she a fighter.

  5. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)

    Indeed, yet through great perils they came…

    1. Michael Humphris

      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.

  6. Dale

    This does sound like it would make a great part to a novel…

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Dale. I really do wish that I was strong enough to write that novel. I have great respect for anyone who completes a novel, published or not.

  7. Rowena

    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

    1. Michael Humphris

      I have always found the Irish to be really strong. Loved the last line of your comment.

  8. Michael Wynn

    Great delivery Michael. The last line gives an ominous foreboding of what’s still to come, even after the horrors of the stormy sea

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Micheal, I am so glad that you let me know that the foreboding feeling came across.

  9. draliman

    A nasty situation, great last line.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you, i am grateful to get your feed back

  10. wmqcolby

    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.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you so much, I don’t think that i ever got five out of five at school, so once again thank you so much.

  11. FabricatingFiction

    There are some great lines in here Michael. Perhaps a novel one day.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Some great writers like Patrick O’Brian have done much better than I ever could; but thank you so much for the vote of confidence. Mike

      1. FabricatingFiction

        I don’t put yourself down Mike! Although self-doubt is part and parcel of being a writer I think.

        1. Michael Humphris

          I will try not to but I think it is part of being a writer. When posting stories, one always wonders how the story will be received.

  12. ansumani

    Great last line. I can see this part of a larger story.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you so much, it would be great to be able to write such a story or even a novel.

  13. spicedmullings

    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!

    1. Michael Humphris

      Sri Lanka is such a beautiful island, it is evil that people need to flee Such a place.

      1. spicedmullings


  14. yarnspinnerr

    History is such a faithful muse. Great write.

    1. Michael Humphris

      She certainly is, thank you for commenting. Mike

  15. Life Lessons of a Dog Lover

    A tragic tale that was woven between the lines, more about what was not said rather than what was.

    1. Michael Humphris

      That is very true, thank you. Mike

  16. gahlearner

    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.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Intriguing she is, thank you. Gabriele

  17. lingeringvisions by Dawn

    Your story makes me fear for her.

    1. Michael Humphris

      I fear for her too, yet I know she is very strong mentally. I believe that she will out fox them.

  18. Alicia Jamtaas

    As a partially Irish girl I can attest to Emilia’s thoughts.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Well done you,

  19. Margaret

    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.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Margaret. It is true a more focused and energetic person might have taken this story further.

  20. patriciaruthsusan

    What a horrible situation to be in. She sounds like a survivor, though. Good writing, Mike. —- Suzanne

    1. Michael Humphris

      I believe she will survive, but do not know if we will hear about her in the future. Mike

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