Before the mast

He begged and pleaded but his men refused to untie him from the mast. Before they entered the dangerous waters around the island of the Sirens, he had ordered his men to ignore his demands to be released. The wax stopping his crew’s ears meant that they couldn’t hear his cries anyway. And now, with the Sirens’ voices filling his head, he regretted his commands.

But he was a crafty man and he had provided himself with a means of outwitting even himself. He had given his crew a special code word which, were he to utter it, would countermand his earlier orders. And one of his crew was deaf and could read a man’s words by watching his lips moving..

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