A story about a ferocious pirate and his parrot. A fun read for younger children, free to download!
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by Emma Laybourn

Neptune the parrot and the pirate captain eye each other

Chapter One

"Shiver me timbers!" roared Captain Snatchit, swinging his cutlass around his head.

"Shiver me timbers!" squawked Neptune from the Captain's shoulder, ducking to avoid the cutlass.

"There's a ship on the horizon. Raise the anchor, you scabby guttersnipes!" bellowed the Captain at his crew.

"Jump to it, shark-bait!" screeched Neptune.

Swearing and cursing, the pirate crew pulled up the anchor. Their boat, the Seaslug, began to lurch through the waves.

Neptune flew to the top of the tallest mast to look for the other ship.

"It's a big one!" he squawked down to Captain Snatchit. "It's the biggest scabby ship in the whole scabby sea!"

"Hoist the sails, you plug-ugly rabble!" yelled the Captain at his crew. "We'll be rich by tea-time!"

"Speed up, lazy lobsters!" screamed Neptune.

The pirates began to hoist the sails. Neptune swayed on his high perch as the Seaslug tossed and rolled.

Neptune the pirate's parrot on the mast

Neptune had always been a pirate's parrot. He'd sailed the high seas ever since he was a chick.

Captain Snatchit gave him nothing to eat but maggoty ship's biscuits; and taught him no words except horrible threats and curses. It wasn't much of a life for a parrot. But it was the only life that Neptune had ever known.

Now he watched the distant ship draw nearer and nearer. It was the biggest ship he'd ever seen.

"Stone the crows!" he squawked. "It's a blinking, stinking monster!"

"Excellent," growled Captain Snatchit. "All the more loot for us to snatch!"

"Stone the ravens," gasped Neptune. "It's got a thousand blinking, stinking sailors!"

"Excellent," roared Captain Snatchit. "All the more men for us to rob!"

Neptune stared at the ship. Beneath his feathers, he turned pale. "Stone the albatross," he screeched. "It's got a hundred blinking, stinking cannons!"

"Shut up, you lily-livered bird-brain!" bellowed Captain Snatchit. "Men - get ready to attack!"

The pirates grabbed their cutlasses and pistols. They waved them wildly, roaring dreadful oaths.

"Wait!" screamed Neptune. "Stop! Turn round! It's a scabby battleship!"

But nobody could hear Neptune.

All of a sudden, cannon-fire boomed out like thunder. Smoke billowed from the cannons on the battleship.

CRUNCH! went the Seaslug. It had been hit by a hundred cannonballs.

BOOM! went the cannons a second time.

SPLOSH went a dozen pirates into the sea.

"Man the scabby lifeboat!" shouted Captain Snatchit. "Jump to it, you gormless guppies!"

The remaining pirates barged into each other as they scrambled to the lifeboat.

BOOM! went the cannons for a third time.

SNAP! went the tallest mast. Neptune was nearly thrown into the surging ocean. The waves leapt up to grasp him. Just in time, he managed to flap upwards and away.

The cannons were still booming. The Seaslug was sinking fast. Captain Snatchit and his pirates all squeezed into the lifeboat, cursing. They rowed away as fast as they could.

"Wait for me!" screeched Neptune. But when he tried to land on the lifeboat, Captain Snatchit whacked him with an oar.

"Get lost, you scabby stowaway!" he yelled. "There's no room for you here."

Hurt and bewildered, Neptune flapped away. He flew up, higher and higher, above the noise and smoke, frantically looking for a place of safety.

All he could see for miles around was grey, cold, churning water. He was just about to give up hope when, far away, he saw a small green island.

With weary wings, he set off towards it.

Chapter Two

Neptune was nearly exhausted by the time he reached the island. It took the last of his strength to flutter over the beach and collapse onto the nearest tree.

After a while he recovered enough to look around.

The island was covered in tall, lush, dripping jungle. It rang with howls and screeches.

The howls came from monkeys dangling and swinging in the trees. But the screeches came from parrots - bright green, red and yellow. A flock of them flew past Neptune.

"Who are you?" cried one.

"I'm Neptune. I've just landed."

"Well, don't hang about here!" the parrot said. "The figs are ripe!"

"Pieces of eight!" squawked Neptune.

"Pieces of what?"

"I mean, pieces of fig!" said Neptune quickly.

"Sure. Let's get there before the monkeys do!"

Neptune joined the flock of parrots. Soon he was feasting on ripe figs. Not just figs - there were mangoes, dates and pawpaw. He couldn't believe his luck.

No more maggoty ship's biscuits! He could eat his fill of ripe fruit.

No more dodging careless cutlasses! The monkeys were easy to dodge.

No more kicks and curses from Captain Snatchit!

For the other parrots were a friendly bunch and welcomed Neptune. This was a parrots' paradise!

When he met a beautiful female parrot called Liana, his happiness was complete.

He never mentioned his former pirate life to the other parrots. He stopped saying "pieces of eight" and "shiver me timbers" and talked proper parrot language instead.

Life was wonderful. He even began to think about setting up a nest.

Then, one day, a battered boat washed up on shore. Out jumped Captain Snatchit and his men.

They'd spent three weeks rowing around in circles, living off ship's biscuits and raw fish. They were starving, smelly, and in a very bad mood.

"Come on, you scabby centipedes!" yelled Captain Snatchit at his crew. "I want a cabin! I want a fire! And I want food! Hop to it!"

The pirates grabbed their cutlasses and set off into the jungle, shouting horrible oaths. They slashed fruit off the trees and gobbled half of it up. They trampled the rest into the ground.

Then they fetched an axe and began to chop trees down to build cabins. They lit fires and shot monkeys and roasted them for tea.

The parrots heard the commotion. They flew down to the shore to find out what was going on.

Neptune perched in a tree and peered through the leaves. He was horrified when he saw Captain Snatchit.

"Shiver me timbers! It's scabby Snatchit!" he squawked.

All the other parrots turned and looked at him in surprise.

"What?" said Liana.

"Er - shiver me timbers. It's pirate language."

"You speak pirate language?" asked Liana in astonishment.

"It just slipped out. Sorry." Neptune shuffled on his perch, feeling quite ashamed.

"You mean you used to live on a pirate ship?"

"I'm afraid so," said Neptune.

"So what else can you say in pirate language?"

"Walk the plank, fish-food," mumbled Neptune. "Hand over the loot or I'll shave your ear-lugs with a rusty razor. Lots of stuff like that." He hid his head under his wing with embarrassment.

Down below, they heard the Captain bellow:

"Those scabby trees are in our way! Chop them down, and throw them on the flaming fire."

"This is terrible!" cried the parrots. "These pirates are dreadful people. First they killed those poor monkeys, and now they're going to destroy the whole jungle!"

Neptune was overcome with shame to think he had been one of the ship's crew. The other parrots would all hate him now...

"We've got to get rid of them!" announced Liana.

"Agreed!" the parrots squawked.

"I suppose that means you'll have to get rid of me as well," said Neptune miserably.

"Certainly not!" Liana said. "We need your help."

"My help? What can I do? They've got cutlasses and pistols! You've no idea how nasty they can be!" wailed Neptune.

"They've no idea how clever we can be," said Liana calmly. "Everybody gather round and listen. This is what we do..."

Chapter Three

An hour later, the parrots all flew up from the trees. They formed a huge, bright flock, with Neptune at its head.

On silent wings, without a single squawk, they glided downwards to the pirates' camp. They settled in the trees on every side. The pirates were too busy chopping logs and making fires to notice them.

Captain Snatchit didn't see them either. He was busy tucking into roast monkey.

Neptune took a deep breath. Then he began to screech.

But this wasn't an ordinary parrot's screech. This was pirate language.

"Drop your scabby weapons, you yellow-bellied earwig-eating toads!" he shrieked. "Or I'll chop you into more slices than a cucumber!"

"What?" Captain Snatchit's mouth fell open.

Then hundred of parrots joined in from all sides, screaming at the tops of their voices.

"Scram, you horrible lot, or we'll pickle your eyeballs and toast your toes for breakfast!"

The pirates stared around wildly. They could hear hundreds of vicious pirate voices all around - yet there was no-one to be seen!

"There's nobody here, Cap'n!" they quavered, terrified.

"Walk the plank, fish-food!" screeched the parrots, hidden in the trees. "Go jump in the scabby sea, you turnip-headed twits!"

"Who is it? Who's there?" cried Captain Snatchit.

"We're the ghosts of a hundred hideous heartless pirates, you knobbly-nosed nincompoop!"

Captain Snatchit's eyes bulged. "Ghosts? We're on a haunted island! I'm off!" And he sprinted to the lifeboat.

At once the other pirates all raced after him. They tumbled into the boat on top of each other, swearing and cursing. No-one wanted to be left behind.

"Row, you jabbering jellyfish! Row!" yelled Captain Snatchit.

The boat pulled away from shore. The sound of the pirates' curses slowly faded. At last the lifeboat was a distant black smudge on the deep blue sea.

The island was peaceful once more. In fact, it was more peaceful than it had ever been. All the parrots were so hoarse that they could barely squawk.

But they were delighted.

"They've gone!" croaked Neptune. "We did it!"

"We certainly did," Liana wheezed. "Yo ho ho and shiver me timbers, matey!"


Copyright © 2012 Emma Laybourn

Read the second story about Neptune:
Captain Snatchit's Revenge
Read the third story about Neptune:
The Wreck of the Seaslug

Download all 3 pirate stories in one volume,
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the free ebook Captain Snatchit's Parrot, containing 3 children's 
pirate stories

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