Chapter 4: Circe’s school report

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Ahab is a little nervous but also a little excited about Circe reading her report for school.  Now Circe stands up in the small classroom with windows all around and the other students all look at her.

When Circe first had the idea, he didn’t like it at all.  She wore him down.  “Ahab, the report is supposed to be on somebody that helped us when we needed help.  That was you!”

He couldn’t argue with her.  He wasn’t sure why.

Now Circe is waiting for everyone to pay attention.  She gets it and looks at her paper and says, “My report is titled, ‘My Brother Ahab.'”

“Ahab is now my brother after my parents asked him if they wanted to adopt him, and he agreed, once he understood what it meant.”

She goes on. “When we learned that Ahab lived by himself in the woods, we asked if he wanted to live in our house with us, and he did.”

“I have learned a lot about where Ahab is from.  It is very different from the life most of us have had.”

Ahab listens intently even though he had listened to Circe read it several times at home.  

All the facts were from his own life that he had told to Circe, but he liked to notice what things she found interesting.

“Ahab is from a far away place, across the sea, nowhere near our chain of islands.  So how did Ahab get here?  Well, Ahab’s family were pirates.”

This is the part Ahab worried about. This is why he keeps his distance from the other students. He feels all their eyes on him. He stares at the front edge of his desk.

Ahab hears a few other children whisper something he can’t understand to each other.

The teacher, still the oldest person Ahab had ever seen, taps her rings on her desk, which was her signal that the students should be quiet.  Then the teacher looks right at Ahab and smiles and Ahab feels a tiny bit better, but still really miserable.

Circe reads more. “Many of us have heard terrible things about pirates. Our island has never been raided. But we know that others have been.”

Circe goes on. “But Ahab is very special and we all are happy he is here with us now.  After all, we all remember how Ahab made that robot that chased away the soldiers. He saved our village, remember?”

A few children make noises like they all agree. One of the younger students looks up from her blocks and said “I love the robot.”  This gets a laugh from the room.

Ahab sees Circe watching him over her paper.  He feels better.

“Pirate children don’t know anything about raids until they go on their first raid.”

“Last year was Ahab’s first raid.  While they were sailing in their gigantic ship, Ahab’s older brother explained they were sailing to another island to get things from them.  When they sailed to the island, Ahab watched the adults leave their ship and go to the shore on little boats and they brought back boxes of food and machines and medicine and shoes while the people that lived on the island watched.”

“Ahab later asked his brother and the other adults why the people on the island looked so sad.  The other adults ignored him.  His brother explained how the people of the island had to give them all the things in the boxes or they would burn down their houses or do even worse things.”

Ahab in the classroom feels like the villain again.

“Ahab tried to convince everyone that they didn’t have to take anything. They could figure out how to share.  But they told him they had to do what they did because it was what they had always done.”

“That night Ahab couldn’t sleep.  He felt awful about what happened and he knew that the plan was to sail to more islands.”

“The next day, the pirates sailed to a new island.  Ahab saw how this island was surrounded by big round rocks in the water.  This island had gotten news from the first island and now soldiers in big towers on the beach watched for pirates.

The pirates had said they would wait until it was dark and the towers wouldn’t be able to see them.  Then they would sneak past the towers, go into the village, and take anything they wanted to take.  Some of the adults said they wanted to make this island too scared to try to defend themselves next time.”

“While the pirates put on their armor and picked up their weapons, Ahab begged his brother and the adults not to take anything away from the people on this island.”

“At first they ignored him, but when Ahab started yelling, one pirate said “be quiet or they will hear us” and he grabbed Ahab and shook him and then tied his hands up and tied them to the rail of the ship.”

“Ahab looked at his brother while this happened, and his brother looked away and kept putting on his armor.”

Circe pauses again.  Ahab knew there was a line on her paper that said “pause for dramatic effect.”

Ahab hates thinking about that moment.  He loved his brother more than anything in the world, and his brother looked so disappointed in him.  He remembers how his brother looked away and then put on his black helmet.

Circe continued.  “Ahab watched as the pirates left his ship and headed toward the island as he pulled against the ropes.  He struggled to escape but the ropes were too tight.”

“He looked at the water and saw the pirates were still travelling to the beach in little boats and the guards in the towers had not seen the pirates yet.”

“Then Ahab had an idea. Ahab stretched out and with his foot, pushed the big alarm bell in the center of the boat.  It swung just a little, not enough to make a ring.  Then when the bell swung to him and then away, he pushed it away again.  He did it a third and a fourth time and fifth time and finally the bell rang, and louder every time.  Ahab kept pushing the bell as hard as he could over and over and soon the bell rang loudly.”

“Next Ahab saw bright lights all around the beach and on the rocks in the water as well.  Soldiers in the towers yelled and pointed at the pirates in the pirate boats.”

“The big round rocks began to move because they were actually giant snapping turtles.  The turtles stuck their legs and heads out of their shells and swam toward the pirates in the boats.”

A few students in the class had earlier stopped paying attention but now listen again.

“The turtles started smashing the boats as the pirates climbed back into their ship.”

“The pirates shot their guns and tried to hit the turtles with their swords, but the cannon balls just bounced right off the shells of the turtles.  One cannonball bounced back at the ship and struck into the rail right next to Ahab and exploded.”

“When Ahab woke up, he was floating in the water in the middle of the ocean by himself.  He was still tied to the rail, but the rail was just a big piece of wood floating.

“We found the island that he described on a map in the library.  And it is very far from here, so he may have floated for a really long time.  He had a machine in his pocket that gave him clean water to drink and he had a few snacks in his pocket as well, but he was very hungry when he washed up on the beach of our island.”

“Ahab hid away from all of us because he thought if we knew he was a pirate, we would hate him.  So he lived in the woods in the old haunted houses and he ate our garbage.”

“But Ahab is a hero two times. He saved our village from the evil soldiers and he always warned the people of the turtle island that they were in danger.”

Circe read the last line. “We are all very grateful he is our friend and I am extra happy he is my brother.”

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