کتاب های خیلی ساده

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فصل 05

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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CHAPTER FIVE

Death, life, and Thursday

There were nine captains at the trial. Peter Hey wood stood in front of them, and talked about the night of the mutiny.

‘It was four years ago,’ he said. ‘I was a young officer, fifteen years old. When I came up on deck, Captain Bligh was Mr Christian’s prisoner. How could I help him? I didn’t have a sword or a gun. Mr Christian put Captain Bligh and eighteen men into the launch.’

One of the nine captains asked: ‘Did you try to help Captain Bligh, Mr Heywood?’

‘No, sir. I couldn’t. Christian and his men had swords and guns… I had nothing.’

A different captain asked: ‘Did Mr Christian do the right thing, then? What do you think?’

‘No sir, of course not!’

‘But you didn’t get into the launch with Captain Bligh. Why not?’

‘I couldn’t, sir! It was full. There were nineteen men in it. It nearly sank without me.’

‘Did you say anything to Captain Bligh?’

‘Er… no, sir, I didn’t. Some men did, but not me.’

‘So, Mr Heywood, you were an officer on the Bounty, and you saw this mutiny, but you did nothing. You just stood, and watched. Is that right?’

‘Er… yes, sir.’ Peter Heywood was afraid now. ‘I was… very young then, sir.’

‘You were an officer. An officer must always help his captain. Wait there.’ The nine captains walked out of the room.

Peter waited for a long time. His mother and sister were with him, but he felt afraid. Then the captains came back, and the oldest captain said: ‘Peter Heywood, because you did not help Captain Bligh, we say you helped the mutiny. And there is only one punishment for mutiny. Death. Do you understand?’

Peter’s face was white and he felt ill. But he said quietly: ‘Yes, sir. I understand.’

Two days later he saw the oldest captain again. There was a small, cold smile on his face. ‘Mr Heywood, I have a letter from the King. The older sailors must die, but because you were a young boy on the Bounty, the King says you can live. You can go, Mr Heywood. You are a free man.’

‘Oh, sir! Thank you. Thank you very much.’

Peter Heywood lived for many years. Twenty years later, he was a captain of a ship, like Captain Bligh.

Captain Bligh went back to Tahiti, and took some more breadfruit trees to Jamaica. After that, he sailed many more ships. He was an important man. He died in 1817.

But what happened to the Bounty, and Fletcher Christian? For years, no one knew. Then, twenty years after the mutiny, in 1809, an American ship, the Topaz, visited a small island called Pitcairn. When the captain of the Topaz came home, he had an interesting story. And five years after that, in 1814, two British ships - the Briton and the Tagus-arrived.

Pitcairn was a small island with nowhere good for ships to land. But a canoe came out through the white water to the British ships. The men from the canoe came onto the Briton and looked for the captain, Sir Thomas Staines.

‘Good afternoon,’ he said. ‘Who are you?’

A tall young man answered: ‘I’m Thursday.’

‘I’m sorry,’ Captain Staines said. ‘What did you say?’

‘My name is Thursday,’ answered the young man. ‘Thursday October Christian. I live on this island. You are welcome here. Would you like to come to my village, and eat with us? Mr Adams would like to see you.’

‘Well, thank you very much,’ said Captain Staines. ‘And Captain Pipon, from the Tagus-can he come too?’

‘Of course,’ said Thursday. ‘He is welcome.’

The two captains got into the canoe, and Thursday and his friends took it through big green and white waves to the island. Near the beach was a small village.

‘How many people live here?’ Captain Staines asked. ‘About forty,’ said Thursday. ‘Here is our king, John Adams.’

An old man with white hair came towards the two captains. He wore trousers and an English sailor’s shirt. ‘Good afternoon,’ he said. ‘My name is John Adams, of HMS Bounty. Welcome to Pitcairn Island.’

Some old women gave the captains wonderful food, and John Adams told them his story.

‘When the Bounty left Tahiti, Christian was very worried. “A ship is going to come from England,” he said. “They want to kill me. They must never find us.” So when we landed here, we took all the pigs and goats, and burned the Bounty. We stood by the sea and watched. Then we made our village. But Christian was always worried and afraid, and it was difficult to live here. The Tahitian men didn’t like the English sailors. There were ten English men, seven Tahitian men, and twelve Tahitian women. When Christian took the wife of one of the Tahitian men, the Tahitian man killed him. Then the Tahitian men killed most of the English men - they nearly killed me! But the women stopped them - the women killed the Tahitian men! After that, there was one man alive on the island - me! But there were nine women, and some small children - this young man, Thursday, is Fletcher Christian’s son.’

‘Oh, I see!’ said Captain Staines. ‘So… you were alone here, with nine wives!’

John Adams smiled. He looked a tired but happy man. The old women near him smiled too. ‘Well, yes, sir,’ he said. ‘But I’m a good husband to them, and a good father to all these children. And of course, now that these boys are men, they have wives too.’

‘Do you all speak English?’ Captain Pipon asked.

‘Yes, sir. English and Tahitian too. We have our pigs and goats and coconut trees, and we think about God every day, sir.’

‘You are very happy,’ Captain Staines said.

‘We are, sir,’ John Adams said. ‘All of us. But…’ He stood up slowly. ‘I know why you are here. You are going to take me to England with you. I must die there.’

Captain Staines looked at him. The Pitcairn islanders looked very sad, and some of the women began to cry.

‘What do you mean, man?’ Captain Staines asked.

‘Well, Captain, I was in the mutiny against Captain Bligh. It was a long time ago, but I did it. I must take my punishment.’

‘But… my God!’ Captain Staines looked at Captain Pipon. ‘Of course the man is right,’ he said. ‘But… we can’t do this. You’re an old man, Mr Adams, and you are happy here. Your wives and children need you. It was twenty years ago, man! People in England don’t talk about the Bounty today. And Fletcher Christian is dead!’

‘He is dead, but I’m not,’ John Adams said. ‘I helped him, and I’m here, now, in front of you.’

‘And this is your home,’ Captain Staines said. ‘You are an old man. You must die here - not in England. Sit down, Mr Adams. Let’s finish this wonderful food.’

‘All right, Captain,’ John Adams said. ‘And… thank you.’ He sat down, and the Pitcairn islanders smiled.

‘Tell me about Bligh,’ Captain Staines said. ‘He’s an important man now, you know. But most people like him. Why were you all angry with him?’

Adams thought for a minute. He looked up at the trees over his village, and at the smiling faces of his wives and children. ‘Bligh,’ he said. ‘Well, he was a good sailor, of course. We were angry with him, but I can’t remember why. It’s a very long time ago…’

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