Mother had finally agreed.
He had been tempted to sneak on board, but stowaways were often severely punished. At the very least he would be left off at the next port to make his way home however he could.
Charles thought back on all the reasons he shouldn’t go.
His home was just a poor hovel, and his mother and three sisters needed him to work their small patch of land.
He might never be seen again, his mother tearfully argued.
And the hope of enough gold to keep them for the rest of their lives was just…foolish.
“Ask her one more time,” Becky, his oldest sister, urged. “What’s the harm?”
And the answer had been—YES!
Charles raced off down the dirt lane to Uncle Samuel’s house, swerving to avoid heavy wagons, soldiers on horseback in silvery mail, and a runaway pig nosing about for food.
He slowed as he saw that Uncle Samuel had important company. He wanted to meet the great man that would be their admiral but—he looked down at himself. His clothes were dirty and ragged.
Uncle Samuel had promised to buy him some new clothes before the voyage—if he was allowed to go—but Charles shrugged. New clothes would get dirty and ragged soon enough, too, and the admiral probably wouldn’t even notice.
He quickened his steps and walked quietly toward the group. Admiral Columbus and his companion were talking earnestly, but Uncle Samuel flung an arm around Charles’ shoulders as he joined them. The two visitors stopped their discussion.
“This is my nephew, Charles,” said Uncle Samuel. He looked down at him. “And I surmise that your mother has changed her mind.”
“Yes, she’s agreed.” Charles tried to keep the excitement out of his voice and speak politely as he was introduced.
The men looked him over carefully.
“You look like a smart, sturdy lad. Your uncle has spoken well of you. You’re welcome to join us since your mother has given her permission.”
“And just in time, too,” said Uncle Samuel. “We’re leaving tomorrow.”
“You’ll be on my ship. It’ll be good to have you aboard, boy,” said the man who was with the admiral. He was the captain of the Nina.
As the two men left, Charles swelled with pride that they had actually spoken to him at all.
Mother was weeping. The two little girls followed suit, not really knowing what it was all about.
But twelve year old Becky hugged him and said, “I’ll take care of them. I’ll work twice as hard to make up for you being gone. Go and bring back lots of gold and have wonderful adventures.”
Charles nodded happily. He could always trust his sister to understand.
His dog leaped at him and barked excitedly, and he wished he didn’t have to leave Blackie behind. But he had no choice. He had to get to his job. It would be the most menial work at first but he didn’t care.
“Come on, boy!” called a sailor.
He hurried up the gangplank and got to work, hauling and lifting freight. But as the ships moved out and Columbus waved farewell to the people, he took time to wave to his family.
“I’ll come back!” he murmured. “I’ll come back rich and important—just like the admiral.”
But little did he know how long that would be, and how much he would change before he saw his family again.
To be continued….
By Carol Bennett
Christopher Columbus is a famous man whom we honor today. He was also an ordinary person who made mistakes and had some wrong ideas. But he did his best to do what he felt was right before God.
Many people criticize Christopher Columbus but it’s important to know what life, government, and religion was like centuries ago when he lived.
Just as Christopher Columbus explored both seas and foreign lands, let’s explore who he really was and what he accomplished.
This fictional story of a boy named Charles and his brave dog, Blackie, will help us do just that!