…… And The Whole World’s Foe
Götz has to think a long time about what Pitt has said. He thinks that the rich man is not acting justly if he does not help poor people. But the Victual Brother is not acting justly either, if he steals and kills, even if he gives part of his booty to the poor. He thinks about his conversation with his friend Walther many years ago. They discussed the question of how one can live justly in this world. This is still an important question for Götz.
After the long, cold winter comes spring. The Likedeeler are going on a naval raid. They will not stay in Marienhafe but will sail to other cities in East Frisia as well. The will see how the people in those cities are doing. They will also board and capture ships of the Hanseatic fleet.
Götz will also go on the naval raid but he still has many questions about the activities of the Likedeelers. He understands them better but he still doesn’t know if he can join them fully. Stealing and killing are not right. Luckily, he is still the cabin boy and doesn’t have to board and capture.
One day, while on a naval raid, Götz speaks with the capt’n about his questions. They talk with each other for a long time. At the end, the capt’n says: <<By death and the devil, boy! I love you like my own son. If you can’t cope with this life, then we’ll find something else for you. You can read and write, shiver me timbers! You can find something. But this spring and summer you will stay with me while we raid. Is that all right with you?>>
<<Aye, aye, capt’n! That is all right with me>> says Götz.
Everything starts off well for the Likedeelers. They find many Hanseatic ships to board and capture. They sell the loot or give it away. They sail with other Likedeeler ships. They sail to Heligoland Island. There, Störtebeker visits his old friend Gödeke Michels. Many years ago, they were together on Gotland Island. Then they had to come to East Frisia. Störtebeker lives on the mainland in Marienhafe but Michels lives on Heligoland Island.
After the visit, many ships of the Likedeelers go on naval raids. The Hanseatic ships are having big problems with the Likedeelers this spring. But there are fewer and fewer Hanseatic ships in the North Sea.
One day, the capt’n brings Götz, Pitt, and a few other sailors to another ship. This ship is smaller than the Sea Tiger. It has herrings on board. Götz asks himself what they are going to do with them. Soon he will know.
They sail along the coast from Marienhafe. There are many islands along the North Sea coast, and they can sail without being seen. After three days, they arrive in Wangerland. A day later they are at Sibet’s Castle with another group of Likedeelers. Here, they spend the night.
The next day, they sail around the island of Butjadingen and into the Weser, an important river in the North. Now they have to sail slower because they are sailing against the current. They all are a little bit afraid. Here, they are in Hansa country. For three days, they sail the Weser upstream. They sail past Lehe and Brake. They are surprised when they sail through Bremen because there are no problems. Then they sail to Verden without a problem.
Finally, they arrive in Verden. Some people say that Störtebeker is originally from Verden. They also say other things about the “Red Devil”. He comes from Wismar. He comes from Verden. He comes from a dozen different cities. Some say he is a nobleman who lost his money because he always drank too much. Some say he is a servant who drank his master’s beer. Some say he is a secret agent for the Bremen city council.
Götz doesn’t know what he should believe. He thinks that it is not important where the capt’n is from. It is important that they get out of Verden without fighting with the Hansa. Now, Götz learns why they are in Verden.
There is a famine in Verden. The Hanseatic cities are not doing anything. Only the “Red Devil” is doing something. He is helping the city. He is bringing herrings. He is bringing many herrings. He is bringing a tun of herrings. He is also bringing rye to make bread. He is bringing twelve “himten” (medieval dry measure, ~ 48 pounds = ~ 576 lbs.) of rye to make bread. Now the poor people in Verden can eat bread and herrings.
Götz and the other sailors bring the herrings and the rye ashore. Everything is supposed to be brought to the cathedral and then be given to the poor people. But Störtebeker and his men are not staying in Verden. They are sailing back to the North Sea. They don’t learn until later that the poor people did not get much of the herrings and the rye. The workers in the cathedral took most of the herrings and rye.
The ship sails back without a problem. After a week, they arrive on Heligoland Island. The Sea Tiger and its crew are there.
When they arrive, they hear that there are problems. Many <<peace ships>> of the Hansa are already in the North Sea. But these are war ships that fight against the Likedeelers. But they call them <<peace ship>> because that sounds better than saying <<war ship>>. The Likedeelers have already been fighting against these <<peace ships>> for a long time. The ships of the Likedeelers, such as the Sea Tiger, are much faster than the <<peace ships>>.
However, now the Hanseatic cities of Hamburg, Rostock, Wismar, and Lübeck have two new ships. These ships are from the Netherlands and they are said to be very fast. A rich man, Simon von Utrecht, brought them to Hamburg from the Netherlands. He also brought many men, who can fight well, to Hamburg. The whole Hansa is fighting against the Likedeelers.
The <<Red Devil>> says to his men: <<Shiver me timbers! Everybody is against us. We really are the whole world’s foe.>>
©2012 Robert Harrell