By Rhys Hughes
THE VOYAGES OF CARACTACUS GIBBON First Voyage He took a ship, a sailing ship, and he sailed away across the bay but then he turned around with a frown and groan and came right back to his home town and postponed his trip for another day because it was raining. Oh, brave Caractacus Gibbon! Second Voyage He took a ship, another ship, and he cast away the mooring ropes and all his hopes of having fun were at a high as he toured the sun kissed lands on the far ocean’s side and his smile was wide as he allowed the tide to pull him into a harbour where damsels stood in a welcoming pose with very few clothes and he told them stories about the glories of sailing the deep blue sea on a vessel of wood and they giggled as if tickled and wiggled hips and pouted lips and he was a happy man. Oh, plucky Caractacus Gibbon! Third Voyage He took a ship, a gift from the king, tied up in a ribbon instead of string, and he sailed it far by following a star to the edge of the world where a pool that whirled span him around and down with a dreadful sound and he ended up spilling a cup of rum over his tum and then his bum as the ship capsized and his subsequent sighs were deeper than any abyss. Oh, sopping Caractacus Gibbon! First Drunken Interlude I’m a jolly sailor but I go to a very good tailor and so you can see when you look at me my coat with a hood fits perfectly and so do my shirts, my trousers too, but just to you I must confess that I look a mess because I wear them back to front. Is that understood? Fourth Voyage He took a ship, a groaning hulk, and though he sulked and made a fuss like a fish on a hook, he sailed it through the foaming murk of the stormy passage where it’s not at all obvious If he’ll emerge alive in time for his tea at a quarter past five but he did, yes he did. Oh, thirsty Caractacus Gibbon! Fifth Voyage He took a boat, a rowing boat, and he rowed it right into the mouth of a thesaurus and because the planks of his hull were porous / hollow / full of holes he wallowed / rolled until he was swallowed / consumed by the waves but he remained bold / courageous / brave as he went down in a race to the bottom without a frown on his visage / face. Oh, valiant Caractacus Gibbon! Second Drunken Interlude You are a figurehead most alluring, and if I said we ought to wed I wonder how you would respond? And yes, I know you are made of wood and fastened to the bows of this ship with pegs But I don’t care, you have great legs. Let’s get varnished together! Sixth Voyage He took a canoe all painted blue and he paddled while addled with a potent brew and somewhere out there upon the sea an eel jumped up and bit his knee but for only for a moment. Well, we are quite aware that when an eel bites our knee in such a way that eel’s a Moray. Only when it bites our knee for rather longer can we say with confidence that the eel’s a Conger, and this one didn’t do so. And now he wishes He was resting on a couch, ouch ouch ouch! Oh, sore Caractacus Gibbon! Seventh Voyage He took a raft, which is extremely daft, and he let it drift in a random direction and for many days without a purpose he sat and talked to dolphins with great affection but never to creatures similar in shape and size who were a lot less friendly and a little less wise. Yes, he sat and talked for many long days without a porpoise. Oh, lonely Caractacus Gibbon! Third Drunken Interlude Come with me and be my fantasy girl under the pearly grey of the stormy sea and we’ll drink tea laced with rum and have such fun in courteous Atlantis dunking biscuits provided gratis by the inhabitants beneath the sea. Come my love, we ought to risk it. Eighth Voyage He took a ship, a paddle steamer, and splashed his way to the port of Lima to buy bananas from tropical farmers. What a dreamer! But he didn’t know he had a stowaway, a cunning schemer hiding in the hold. And then one night on the journey back when the stars were bright and the wind was light the uninvited passenger came up on deck and climbed the mast fast to the very top. Heck, it was a monkey! And the hold was full of empty banana skins. Oh, fruitless Caractacus Gibbon! Ninth Voyage He took a yacht, how about that? carved in one piece from an iceberg, And he sailed away with an open mouth directly south to the hottest place on the face of the earth but he kept his cool for as a general rule he rarely panicked unless his mechanic who was a parrot shouted a warning that the ice was melting which he soon did just before flying away unlike the captain who was forced to stay and end up in the drink. Oh, steamy Caractacus Gibbon! Last Voyage He took a ship, a sailing ship, and he wrapped it up in a very big sack and addressed it to you-know-who or maybe you don’t but that’s not my fault, and with a stamp he mailed it thither like a gigantic arrow in an enormous quiver because it’s easier to let the post office do the work while he stayed behind with an enormous smirk. Oh, efficient Caractacus Gibbon!