As I continue to work on my next project of writing a novel, I have enjoyed remembering the various legends and ghost stories of the area in which I grew up. A lot of the stories can be found in print or on the web, but I have been unable to find the story in print that was once told, almost 40 years ago, by a local near Sneads Ferry.
Many of the details are foggy, as I was truly young, but I remember that storyteller, aged from the winds of the coast, telling of an undying love between a sailor and his wife. The sailor was aboard a merchant ship that sailed the shores of Virginia and North Carolina. Somehow the sailor saves the woman’s life from being betrothed to a wicked, treacherous man of Virginia. One evening, he sneaks her aboard the ship to set sail for North Carolina. He cares for her and promises her the opportunity of freedom to find her true love. Once in North Carolina, she is happy and filled with dreams. She becomes his bride, but claims it is not enough and promises to repay the gift. Of course, before she can repay, she dies at a young age, and I was told she was buried with a frown of despair due to unfinished business with her husband. As the story goes, the sailor remained a sad loner that lived near her grave and lost meaning to living without her love. Later or perhaps years, her husband refused to leave the area near his home and wife’s grave when a storm was approaching and with warning. A hurricane swept the coastline and took the man from his home to be claimed by the sea, but he grabbed a hold of wood that was floating by and was washed ashore. As I was told, it was her coffin that he had grabbed, and when opened, she had a smile upon her face because she had given back the same gift and saved her husband. It was her love that saved him that day and gave meaning to continue to exist until old age gave him the opportunity to join his wife. The local shared as the ending to the story that it has been sighted, a couple hand-in-hand, both smiling as they gaze into each other’s eyes, walk into the waves, and then disappear.
These stories and legends can stay with me from the memories of how they were creatively told. These stories of the past can give meaning to the present. This story of love goes beyond the fairytale of “happily ever after”, but gives substance and purpose to love. It gives meaning to a Love that can rescue and offers the promise to give, which touches the heart to defend, preserve and protect that which can live forever.
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