Never did a more well-spoken band of pirates sail the seven seas than the Polite Pirates of the Puxatana. Many a prisoner was made to walk the Puxatana’s plank but never without a friendly “Please,” and while the Polite Pirates pillaged and plundered as all good pirates should, they never, ever forgot to say “Thank you” as they sailed away.
It was the Polite Pirates who stole the famed Fraser treasure, which everyone said could not be stolen. The Fraser family kept their gold in an iron chest locked away in the darkest dungeon inside their strong stone fortress. Many armed guards paced the walls of the castle, and no one was brave enough to try to break in. Only the Polite Pirates, who knew that with good manners you can accomplish anything, would make such an attempt.
The first thing they had to do was get past the guards. That was not a problem for the Polite Pirates. The pirate captain marched straight up to the front gate and pretended to be a traveler who was looking for a place to sleep for the night. While he very politely asked for directions, the other pirates sneaked up behind the guards.
“Please do the me the favor of dropping your weapon,” said each pirate to each guard. And each guard did. A simple please can so often get you what you want. Holding a sword to someone’s back also helps.
When all the guards were disarmed and tied up, the pirates took the keys to the great front door from the chief guard and walked quietly inside, not forgetting to wipe their feet carefully in the mat. Without a sound, the Polite Pirates crept down the stairs toward the dungeons. They arrived at the barred doors of the cell that held the treasure, they paused, while the captain and the first mate politely discussed various ways of opening the door.
“I believe that blasting it open with this dynamite will be the best course,” said the Captain.
“If you’ll forgive me, sir,” said the first mate, “I think that will be much too loud. It may bring more guards. I would advise picking the lock.”
“You make a very good point,” said the captain, “but I don’t think you’ve considered how much time that will take. We really don’t have time for picking the lock. Someone could happen by at any moment.”
“I understand your point of view completely, sir,” said the first mate, “but I still must say that we would be better to take the time than to risk the loud noise.”
They probably would have gone on this way for quite a while, each trying very hard not to offend the other, if the cabin boy hadn’t said, “Excuse me, captain,” and then waited patiently for the first mate to finish his sentence. When the captain and first mate acknowledged him, the cabin boy said, “Thank you for listening, sir. I have something here that could probably be of help.” He held up the keys to the dungeon which he had stolen from one of the guards.
“Well done, son!” shouted the captain. “I knew if we discussed this reasonably we could come to some understanding!”
The first mate nodded his agreement. The doors were soon open and the crew carried the iron box out of the castle. It was very hard to get such a heavy box up the stairs. Half way up, the men in front dropped it, and it landed on the first mate’s toes. He let out a yell that would put fear into the heart of any pirate, “AAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH!”
“We’re so terribly sorry,” said all the other men.
“AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!” yelled the first mate again. Then he got himself under control and said through gritted teeth, “It’s quite all right. I know you didn’t mean to, but I really think we should open the box here and divide up the treasure for carrying.”
Seeing as how the first mate was badly injured, no one wanted to argue with him about that. Several of the men had brought along heavy hammers for opening the box and now they began to pound away at the lid, each man making a great crash and trying his best to break off the hinges. Of course, they all took turns and waited patiently and passed the hammer back and forth very carefully. Working together so courteously, they naturally had the lid off in no time. Each man filled his pockets with gold from the chest, passing it from one to the other with a whispered, “Thank you!”
By this time, all the hammering and yelling had brought more guards down from the upper parts of the castle. The Polite Pirates were ready to move. They fought bravely up the stairs and out into the courtyard, but before they could get to the outer gate, they found themselves surrounded by guards and backed into a corner. It was a terrible moment for the Polite Pirates. They knew no pirate could ever surrender, so that meant that they were all probably about to die. The captain, who was out in front, could see the shining tips of all those swords that were pointed at them and from somewhere behind those swords, he heard someone give a great sneeze, AAACHOOO!
Without second thought, he pulled out his white handkerchief and held it up. “I believe you are needing this,” he called.
The guards stopped. Could it be that the pirates were surrendering? Yes, he was definitely holding up a white flag. Lowering their swords, the guards walked forward to accept the surrender. But the pirates had never meant to surrender. When they saw the guards lower their swords, the pirates made a mad rush and broke free, running for the gate and down to the harbor with great piratey cries.
The pirate captain was the last to get on board the Puxatana as the Polite Pirates prepared to sail away. He carefully set down the handkerchief, hoping that whoever had sneezed would still find it. The Puxatana was sailing away as the guards finally reached the water’s edge, but they could still hear very clearly echoing back over the water, “God….bless…you!”