We were taking a walk on deck one evening, when we came across the stowaway. It was twilight and we did not see him until we had almost stepped on him. He was blithely walking in front of us as if he didn’t have a care in the world and indeed he shouldn’t have had any worries as he made his presence felt in the best stowaway fashion, only when the ship was far away from land. We picked up the pigeon and examined him. There was nothing particularly remarkable about him apart from a metal band fixed around his leg which gave us his code number and told us that he was from Spain. He must have come aboard our ship while we were at Algeciras.

He seemed to like being at sea and the sailors started spoiling him dreadfully. Our ship was crossing the Atlantic Ocean and having the pigeon on board reduced the monotony of the long voyage. The stewards fed him grain and brought him water to drink in a cup and saucer belonging to one of the ship’s best tea sets. The officers and crew vied with each other to feed him special delicacies. Soon the pigeon was busy playing favourites much to the disappointment of those less in favour. He was a greedy little bird and he paid more attention to those who fed him in larger quantities. However, he looked at me with complete disapproval for he always hopped away when he saw me approaching even though I made several overtures of friendship. The pigeon could have been a mind reader and if so, he must have known the number of times that I visualized Roast Pigeon on the menu at meal times when the cook prepared some of his less appetizing dishes.

The pigeon soon grew quite plump as the direct result of the tender ministrations of the ship’s crew. He waddled along the alleyways and inspected the cabins, but he spent most of his time on deck. As we approached the Archipelago of Azores, everyone wondered whether the pigeon would decide to make his home on one of the nine islands. There was great excitement when the pigeon did leave in order to fly towards the Island closest to the ship, but he soon returned as Azores did not meet with his approval.

We reached Chesapeake Bay and were anchored off Norfolk but the pigeon seemed to have no immediate plans of migrating to the United States. However, dozens of small birds flew onto our ship and soon discovered the supper set out on the deck for the pigeon. When we sailed out, the majority of these birds remained on our ship and cheerfully shared the pigeon’s meals, while he looked on in a huff. The moment we reached Ocean Cay, an island in the Bahamas, the birds flew away in one small cloud. The pigeon remained with us when we sailed out and seemed pleased to have our undivided attention once again.

When we reached New Orleans late one night, the pigeon took off immediately without a backward glance. The sailors laughingly remarked that he seemed to be flying towards Bourbon Street, which is renowned for its nightlife. We waited anxiously for some days, but the pigeon never did return to our ship and we had to sail out without him since he no longer had the desire to be a sea dog.


31 responses »

  1. Beyniaz says:

    Yes Vimala. One has to see this through a child’s eyes or be childlike to enjoy the small and purest pleasures of life.

  2. vimala madon says:

    lovely little tale Beyniaz. Imagine the thrill your children would have had had they been born then! The purest and most infectious form of enjoyment is when one sees the unalloyed delight in the faces of little kids.

  3. gc1963 says:

    Wonderful account as usual of the sea life. 🙂

  4. Irene says:

    What an interesting pigeon 🙂

  5. Smita Luthra says:

    Very interesting account Beyniaz. 🙂
    I was almost expecting that the fat little pigeon would have difficulty carrying the newfound excess weight and would no longer be able to fly. I even thought maybe he really would end up on your plate as Roast Pigeon. (That was a really funny bit! :))
    Why the stowaway chose New Orleans of all places, still remains a mystery. Though the sailors guesses may just be right…

  6. Sonal Shree says:

    This is a new side of the food connoisseur which all of us on write space are enjoying. Keep enlightening Beyniaz. Loved the name Piggy 🙂

  7. Indrani Talukdar says:

    What a delightful read, Beyniaaz. If only your traveling companion could read…

  8. Dear Beyniaz,

    Nothing is amateurish if written from the heart and written well, which I believe you have done…

    And I agree with Om, about bringing joy to Write Space by writing about the dolphins, the pigeons. Hoping to see many more lovely animals and birds aboard this blog….

  9. Deepa Shailendra says:

    Loved the voyage across the big pond. Thanks for the lovely picture in words.

  10. sreelata menon says:

    A Spanish Pigeon! If you were to check his code with the authorities we might know what happened to him.Your piece has me hooked! I’m dying to know .Is that or would that have been possible Beyniaz?

  11. Absolutely fantastic post.

  12. Beyniaz,
    Nice to read about something OTHER than homo sapiens. Really nice. First, you brought the dolphins alive to most of us – now you make a pigeon, called “piggy”, a friend! Thanks for sharing.

    • Beyniaz says:

      Thank you Om. Glad you liked this. At first I wondered if this blog was too childish but then I remembered the hours spent fruitfully watching Piggy and wondering about his future travels!

  13. vimala ramu says:

    A delightful account , Beyniaz. These days when the birds are fitted with identification bands and radio collars to check their movements, your piggy really ‘cheated ‘ by hitching a hike !

    • Beyniaz says:

      Thank you Vimala, for reading this. Lots of birds still hitch a lift or use the air currents to glide. Seagulls especially like the fish churned up to the surface in the ship’s wake.

  14. nadi says:

    i like your Piggy.
    may i call him piggu?

  15. Mira Pawar says:

    Hey Beyniaz! Nice one……do you still miss piggy? I am sure there was some connection between you and piggy from the previous life.

  16. Shernaz says:

    A very pleasant and enjoyable read, Beyniaz. Didn’t anyone name him? What an enviable and exciting journey for him.

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