Story: Titus Tentacle gets into trouble
“Land ahoy!” calls the lookout man, and all the pirate monkeys rush to the ship’s railing. Indeed, there before their very eyes amid the endless deep blue ocean is a small deserted island. It is further from the nearest mainland than any other island. “Avast, me hearties!” shouts the captain. “Hoist the main sail, hard on the wind and let’s make our fortune... because there on that island is the legendary gold treasure that we’ve been searching for.” The high waves are rocking the ship up and down, and the strong wind is tugging at the sails.
“Look out!” yells the sailor from atop the mast. “Strong ocean currents and sharp rocks.” He is perched in the crow’s nest and has the best all-round view. The helmsman of the pirate monkey ship steers a careful course around the reefs whilst constantly keeping the small island in view. But what is that? Ahead of them, a gleaming red mass rises out of the water. The helmsman rubs his eyes. No, he wasn’t imagining it. “Skipper, look over there!” he exclaims in horror. The sight he beholds sends a shiver down his spine.
The captain stares hard, reaches for his telescope and looks through it. In front of the white beach of the small island is a giant octopus thrashing about in the shallow water. His long tentacles are whipping up the waves and making the water foam. It almost looks as if the sea is boiling. But then the huge creature becomes less agitated and lies motionless. “Keep calm,” says the captain to his helmsman. “Steer towards the eastern shore of the island. The beach is also flat there, and we’ll navigate around the octopus.”
The helmsman corrects the course, and the pirate monkey ship turns gently in the new direction. But just as they draw level with the giant octopus, the cook drops a bowl of banana salad in the galley, which is located deep in the bowels of the pirate ship. The clang and clatter is deafening and clearly audible on deck. “Big heap of pirate banana poo!” yells the cook at the top of his voice and adds a further string of curses. The Captain and the helmsman flinch... but it’s already too late. The water around the sea monster begins to boil and bubble. And a pair of huge eyes emerge from the waves.
“Who dares to approach my island?” booms the voice of the octopus. But the captain refuses to be intimidated and stands tall at the railing. “I am Captain Alfonso, the scariest, most ruthless, bravest, best etcetera pirate captain of the seven seas. Have you not heard of me? Anyway, I’m the captain of this brave pirate crew, and what I say goes.”
“Well, well, the scariest, most ruthless, bravest, best pirate captain of the seven seas,” roars the octopus. “I’ve heard it all before, but it never did any of them any good. For I am Titus Tentacles, and I will show you who’s boss!” Upon which, he reaches out with his long arms and begins to lift the pirate ship out of the waves. But then he drops it again and starts screaming: “Ouch, ouch, ouch!” The octopus is howling so loudly that the pirate monkeys are temporarily deafened. They quickly stick their fingers in their ears and regain their composure. The Captain stares at the sea monster. Titus Tentacle is wallowing in the water, wailing plaintively to himself.
“Hey, Skipper,” says the helmsman, “Look at the suckers on the octopus’s tentacles.” The captain sees that the suckers are bright red and full of splinters. “I think the octopus has injured himself,” he says. “Good for us. Now we can grab the treasure while he’s distracted.” But Captain Alfonso is mistaken: just as the pirate ship is steering towards the beach, the octopus rears up ahead. “Hey, you puny wannabe pirates,” rumbles Titus Tentacle. “I may not be in good shape, but there’s no way you’re going to outsmart me.”
The Captain considers his options and then makes a suggestion: “Well, Titus Tentacle, you obviously have a problem here with your octopus arms. We can pull out the splinters, but we want your treasure. You have no chance against us anyway, so accept our offer.” Titus Tentacles sinks into the bubbling water but immediately surfaces again. “Well, you may have a point. Recent pirate ships have been so old and rotten that the timbers immediately snapped, leaving splinters in my tentacles after I had sunk them.
But I’m not prepared to surrender the whole of my treasure. I’ll give each of you one gold coin.” “No, we want three coins per man!” says Captain Alfonso. “We’ll start on four of your eight arms, and then we get our gold. After that, we’ll clean the other four arms.”
Titus Tentacles agrees begrudgingly and stretches out his arms towards the pirate ship. The pirate monkeys clamber along to the suckers and pull out the splinters. After they have cleaned up four of the arms, Titus Tentacle heaves a chest with gold coins on deck. The pirate monkeys stick to their promise and clean the other octopus arms. “I have to thank you,” concedes Titus Tentacle. “But now be on your way and don’t ever try to steal my treasure again.” The pirate monkeys set sail and head for the nearest island. “Goodbye for now,” Captain Alfonso calls back. “Remember, though, that I’m the scariest, most ruthless, bravest, best pirate captain of the seven seas. Once we’ve looted the treasure from all the other islands, we’ll be back!” He waves his black pirate hat at the octopus and grins.