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Little John Lou and the Mariner's Bow




Little John Lou and the Mariner’s Bow


Book 1




The Odyssey of Little John Lou





Phillip Wade






Little John Lou and the Mariner’s Bow and The Odyssey of Little John Lou

Copyright © 2015 by Phillip Wade

All rights reserved.




Thank you for downloading this ebook. This book remains the copyrighted property of the author, and may not be redistributed to others for commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoy this book, please encourage your friends to download their own copy from their favorite authorized retailer. Thank you for your support.


About The Rime of the Ancient Mariner


The Mariner encountered by Little John Lou in this book is the narrator and main character of English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s epic poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner published in 1798. Read a synopsis of it here: [+ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rime_of_the_Ancient_Mariner+].


The original full-text poem is public domain and may be found here:







To Nathan, Jonathan, and Breanna Marie

Who all enjoy a good bedtime story



Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Tsunami

Chapter 2: The Ghost Ship

Chapter 3: The Mariner’s Tale

Chapter 4: The Transformation

Chapter 5: The Gift



Chapter 1: The Tsunami


It all happened when

On the night of the storm,

When the dogs ran away

And the parents weren’t home,


When the sea rose up

From its bed in the bay

And washed all the boats

And the houses away.


Then the sun peeked over

The edge of the waves

And caught the moon napping,

So night slipped away.


Then Little John Lou

Awoke all alone

In his home like an island

Surrounded by foam.


The waves splashed against

The house with a roar,

But he felt like a captain

Far away from the shore.


Though lost and alone

On a billowing sea,

Strange though it was

He felt totally free.


So his house floated onward

On currents and waves

‘Til the sun slipped away

At the end of the day.




Chapter 2: The Ghost Ship


It went on like that

Over day and through night.

John drifted along

And the future was bright.


But darkness descended

One night on the sea,

And he heard a fell voice.

O who might it be?


Then out of the mist

A strange ship emerged.

Its crewmen were silent

But for one voice he heard.


“Albatross, Albatross,

Albatross he!

I shouldn’t have shot him

Now look where I be.


“I’m surrounded by water

With no drop to drink.

How could I have done it

Why didn’t I think?”


And after the mariner

Finished his cry

He spied Little John

And expressed his surprise.


“By thunder,” he said,

“Now what have we here?

A specter has come

Like a fog in the weir.”


Now Little John Lou

He declared with a huff,

“Ghost am I none

For there is no such stuff.”


“Oh Laddie, Oh Laddie

Now watch what ye say,

For you’re staring at specters

Yourself on this day.


“For the master he glares,

And the first mate, he pries,

And the helmsman, why

Look at the glow in his eyes!”


Then Little John noticed

Through shadows of night

The crewmen lay dead

But with life in their eyes.


Then Little John fled

And hid in his room

As his house was consumed

By a shadowy gloom.


But the voice came again.

It was louder this time,

“O be not afraid

My intent is benign.”


But Little John trembled

And Little John cowed

And Little John fearfully

Wondered aloud,


“So tell me then, seaman,

What am I to do?

For I’ve never conversed

With a skeleton crew.”


“It’s easy my laddie,

Just stay there to port,

And I’ll tell ye a story

To keep ye afloat.”


So he led Little John

Through a journey of woe

As he told him a story

Of long, long ago.






Chapter 3: The Mariner’s Tale


We had left back then

On a happy voyage

Set for lands unknown


When a storm arose

That blew us off course

And made the timbers moan.


To the south we went

At a harrowing speed

As the storm raged day and night


‘Til we woke aghast

On a foggy morn

Trapped in a sea of ice!


Then out of the sky

Came a bless’ed bird

Like an angel out of heaven


And we praised the Lord

For this holy sign,

For the gift that we’d been given.


So we fed the bird

With a cheery heart

And it circled all around.


Then the ice broke away

With a thunderous crash,

And a wind rose with the sound.


Then the helmsman

Steered us to the south

And through the crack that formed,


And that heaven-sent breeze

Pushed us pleasantly

Through the bright but foggy morn.


And that albatross

Fluttered overhead,

Or on sail or on mast would rest.


Like a pet he would come

When we called him near

And thus he would be fed.


But then one night

By the fog-dimmed moon

As I watched the bird from below,


I aimed at it

With a foolish heart

And I shot it with my bow.


“Oh what have you done?”

Cried the men with fear,

With voices tinged with woe.


You have killed the bird

Who broke the ice

And made the south breeze blow!”


But the breeze blew on

As if nothing wrong

To an undiscovered sea,


And we sailed on

But could scarcely see

Through the fog that refused to leave.


So they changed their minds

And said cruel things

About the albatross,


Said the bird was cursed,

I was right to shoot,

Because it had brought the fog.


Those were the words

That sealed their fate

With a spirit in the deep,


For at that moment

The sails went flat

For the bless’ed wind had ceased.


We did not move

Over days and nights,

And all our hearts did weep.


There was water,

Water everywhere

Nor any drop to drink.


Our eyes couldn’t cry,

Our throats were so dry

That we couldn’t even speak,


And my thoughts

Stewed over the albatross

And I couldn’t find my sleep.


But even worse

Were the eyes of the crew

That looked on me with rage.


Oh I wished I had spared

That heaven-sent bird

On the night of that fateful day!


Then on the horizon

We spied a strange ship

That sailed on a windless sea,


And as it drew near

It eclipsed setting sun

In a sight that we couldn’t believe.


For the rays passed

Through a skeletal bow,

Through tattered and limp-hanging sails,


And a haunting woman

Sat on the deck

Who caused my crew to wail.


And by her side

Sat death himself

And with him she tossed a dice


And then she declared,

“I’ve won! I’ve won!”

And then she whistled thrice.


Then one-by-one

The men fell dead

As the strange ship took to flight,


But their dead eyes keep watching me

Day and night

As I, cursed, stay alive.


It’s gone on like this,

Six days, six nights,

And though I try I can’t pray,


For I think each hour

Of that albatross

That I’d shot on that fateful day,


And my haunting and tortured

Dead crewmen’s eyes

Refuse to turn away.


And strangely enough

I have found you here

On the night of the seventh day.


So here I am

On this eerie night

As I travel the ocean blue.


I sail in the hands

Of the helmsman of fate,

And he’s brought me here to you.


So now it’s my chance

To ask you, lad,

What I cannot understand:


How do you live

In a house on the deep

Instead of on the land?




Chapter 4: The Transformation


With the mariner’s words

John emerged from his room

And said that he didn’t know


How he could have survived

When the sea took his house

Or how he could still call it home.


But he’d been there for days,

And he’d been there for nights,

How long he could not be sure,


“But this much is certain,

I’m glad I’m alive

In this beautiful, wondrous world.”


And after he’d spoken

These soothing words,

The mariner breathed out a sigh,


“I admit, Little John,

Through my journey so long

That I’ve only wanted to die.


“But your words give me hope

And your words give me faith

Despite the dead crewmen’s eyes.


“You remind me, my boy,

To have gratitude

That somehow I’m still alive.”


Then suddenly

The moon climbed high

And lit up the glassy sea,


And the ocean glowed brightly

With wondrous lights

That swirled within the deep.


Then they realized what glowed

Were creatures, serpents,

Swimming all around.


They were shallow and deep,

They were everywhere,

And the ship they did surround.


They were blue and green

And beautiful

And leaving trails of gold!


In the mariner’s awe

He blessed those beasts,

And a prayer came to his soul.


Then the ship lit up

With a magic light,

And the dead men came alive,


And they took their stations

With silent smiles,

And the anger left their eyes.


To the mariner’s wonder,

The guilt he bore

Of the albatross disappeared,


And the dead men watched

With pleasant looks

As they silently sailed and steered.


Then Little John disappeared

Briefly inside

And turned on his kitchen sink,


And he filled up a glass

Of water so pure,

And he gave the man a drink.


Well, the seaman he spoke

As the crew looked on

With grins of ghostly glee,


“Thank you my boy

For saving my soul

And helping to set me free.”







Chapter 5: The Gift


“Now dear Little John

Maybe both of us dream,

Maybe I am not real,

Maybe you’ve never been,


“But my ship draws away,

For the helmsman he turns,

And where I must go

I fear you cannot come.”


“Oh Mariner!” cried John,

If you must go away,

I hope in my heart

That you’ll reach land someday.”

Well the seaman he smiled

As the ship withdrew,

And he shouted, “My boy

Here is something for you.”

Then the mariner tossed

A small satchel to him

Where John found a bow

And three arrows within.


And also inside

was a finger-thin rope

that was smooth to the touch

with a magical glow.


“Be kind,” the man said,

“To all things great and small,

For dear God who loves us

Hath made and loves all.”


“Now lad,” then he shouted,

“One more thing to tell:

Learn from my albatross

Don’t shoot your whale!”


As he said those last words

The ghost ship disappeared

Just as quick as it came

Without rustle or cheer.


“Then why,” shouted John,

“Did you give me a bow?”

But his words died away

Because John was alone.


Oh what could he mean?

Little John could not tell,

For he’d never desired

To hurt any whale.


Then Little John slipped

Into troubling sleep,

And he didn’t awake

‘Til the sun reached his peak.


Then Little John marveled

At what he had seen!

“Was it real?” he had asked.

“Oh it couldn’t have been!”


But then he looked downward,

And clasped in his hand

Was the bag with the bow

He’d received from the man.


So that’s how it started,

This tale of the sea,

How John left his home

To voyage on the deep.


Adventures are many

And tales not a few

In the great epic journey

Of Little John Lou.




Thank you for reading my book, Little John Lou and the Mariner’s Bow. If you enjoyed it, please take a moment to leave me a review at your favorite retailer. You may also like the much longer second book of the series, Little John Lou and the Hunt for Moby Dick, also available where this book is sold.



Phil Wade




About the author


Phillip Wade resides in Logan, Utah, with his wife and four children. During the fall and winter, he can be found busily teaching literature at the local high school. In the spring and summer, as legend has it, he can be seen wandering the snow-capped mountains of Northern Utah or retreating with his family to the isolated canyons and secret fishing streams of the desert to the south. But on Friday nights, in a small tent pitched in his back yard, he can often be heard spinning yarns for his children, tales of oceans, rivers, caverns, pirates, heroes, and, of course, Little John Lou.



Little John Lou and the Mariner's Bow

"It all happened when on the night of the storm, when the dogs ran away, and the parents weren't home, when the sea rose up from its bed in the bay and washed all the boats and the houses away. Then the sun peeked over the edge of the waves and caught the moon napping, so night slipped away. Then Little John Lou awoke all alone in his home like an island surrounded by foam. The waves splashed against the house with a roar, but he felt like a captain far away from the shore. Though lost and alone on a billowing sea, strange though it was he felt totally free." So begins the epic journey of Little John Lou. Join him in his quest to return to his family as he drifts along the currents of oceans and time, encountering characters, places, and authors from classic literature who help or hinder him along his way. Full of imaginative imagery and rhythmic language, this story will charm readers of all ages. Parents, in particular, can introduce their children to characters and stories from classic literature by reading this unconventional children's tale one chapter at a time as a bedtime story. This first book provides a brief window into Little John's Odyssey as he meets the wandering seaman from Coleridge's famous poem "Rime of the Ancient Mariner."

  • ISBN: 9781311636737
  • Author: Phillip Wade
  • Published: 2016-07-16 02:40:08
  • Words: 2073
Little John Lou and the Mariner's Bow Little John Lou and the Mariner's Bow