Once there was a seafaring captain (we will call him Bikke. +1 if you get the reference) who sailed from port aboard a mighty ship. Indeed one of the most beautiful in the fleet. Given a crew, he was instructed by the port master to sail the seas and return with all manner of treasures. His crew was made up of greenhorns and land-lubbers, but the captain, being a master of the sea, was also tasked with turning them into the greatest crew on the seven seas.
Unfortunately, however, the captain was partial to the rum, and he partook of it often. So much so that he would often sail around for days in circles or lock himself in his quarters while the crew was left to fend for themselves. Being the master of the sea he was, however, he still managed to teach his crew of greenhorns and land-lubbers a thing or two, but more often than not he would lead them in song or silly games. The crew thought him a fine captain, though. Though he expected them to stay in line he was never harsh, and though they learned how to sail and navigate the sea from time to time they enjoyed the captains fun antics. He held them to account, but never demanded more than that.
So it was that one day the captain was sitting in his quarters when he drifted into a deep, rum induced sleep, and dreamed. In his dream he and his crew, after many years at sea, returned to port. There, on the dock, stood the port master, expecting a ship full of all manner of treasures. The captain, standing on the deck, suddenly panicked! He was pulling into port, but knew that his ship contained nothing! So enamored had he been by the taste of rum that for seven years he sailed the seven seas, and had nothing to show for his travels. His crew, though now hearty men, were ill trained. The captain knew that were they to be placed on another vessel they would be ridiculed for having been at sea for so long, yet they would know nothing but the most basic skills. Stepping onto the dock, the captain swallowed hard as the port master approached.
“Hail, good captain!”, he said, “It is good to see you have returned from your journey! I expect you have many tales to tell, many treasures to share and a crew of hearty men, ready to take on the very kraken himself!”
Before he could answer the captain awoke. Swallowing hard, he came to the realization that he most certainly did not have any tales to tell the port master. He most certainly didn’t have treasures to share and he most certainly didn’t have a crew that could take on a kraken. Taking his rum bottle in hand, he walked out onto the deck and, while the crew watched on, he poured what remained into the sea. Vowing in his heart to never touch the stuff again, he found himself instantly sober, and he turned to his crew, barking orders.
The crew, through their surprise, jumped into action! Certainly this was their captain, but something was different about him! He seemed more sure of himself, and his eyes had a glare in them, like a great man of the sea.
Alas, by the end of the week, as the crew settled down for the night, they muttered amongst themselves. They had always loved their captain, and looked to him as a great man of the sea, but something had happened. He had changed. The crew, so used to the captain who joined them in song and taught them silly games, wasn’t sure they liked this new captain. He made them work harder this week than ever before! He barked orders and expected them to be done as soon as the last word left his mouth – certainly not like the old captain who, if he asked you to do anything at all, would often forget and not care. He started to teach them about The Laws of the Sea, and expected them not only to remember them, but to actually live them! It was difficult, and the crew missed the old, fun captain.
By the end of the month the crew was beside itself. The captain had held fast to his pledge never again to drink the rum, and, with a clear head, he had become a different man altogether. He would walk with a mighty stride across the deck of the ship. He expected each member of the crew to answer him with ‘Aye, captain!’ instead of a simple ‘ok’. He expected every member of the crew to be able to recite at least some of The Laws of the Sea from memory and daily he taught them lessons on how they, too, could become great men of the sea. Over the past few weeks the crew, under the command of their reformed captain, had acquired several fine treasures and battled some of the worst demons of the sea, but the captain, no longer under the influence of the rum, was a strong man. Singlehandedly he felled enemies, urging the crew to watch and learn until they too could jump into the fray. Despite all of this, however, the crew was at a loss. The captain had changed so much and so quickly it left them in a headspin. Finally they could take it no more and brought their complaints to him, asking him “Why? Why have you changed? The crew cannot take such changes so fast and accept them! What are we to do?”
The captain, an old seafaring man, replied: “I do this because it is my duty and my authority. I have an order from the port master, and for too long I was derelict and let my mission lay aside while I drank the rum, but no longer. We haven’t much longer on this journey, but I must gather what I have been told to gather, and I must train you, my crew, to carry on when I am gone, which I have not done until now. As for you, well, I am your captain, you are under my command. We are on this ship together, and we will be until we return home. Therefore, obey, that you will not be held to account for mutiny when we see the port master again! Do this, and together we will have a good and profitable journey. Disobey and the port master will have his way with you. I will be held to account for my years astray, but I tell you that now I have seen the error of my ways, and seek the right path. Be you with me, or be you against?”