Think about the town where you currently live: its local customs, traditions, and hangouts, its slang. What would be the strangest thing about this place for a first-time visitor?
Like any person born beyond the parishes of Lisdoonvarna or Ballyvaughan, I was, in that place, a foreigner. It was a custom of the town, possibly an entertainment, for all such people to be introduced to Mr Seaborn. This was not a difficult thing to effect, as he held court almost nightly at Doolin’s finest public house. You might imagine that he was a great drinker, but this was not so. He could however, always procure himself a pint due to the beauty of his voice.
He had met travellers from all over the world, some in fact had sought him out on account of his mysterious early life. There was much curiosity about this stranger from the sea. They had addressed him in many languages. so many, in fact, that he could now greet an Austrian hiker with ‘Gruss Gott!’ and make the correct bow to a Japanese engineer. He had not, at the outset, recognised any foreign languages, but he did show an amazing faculty for learning then. It was if the clean sheet of his mind was always ready to receive new text.
I can report that Benny Seaborn was a fit man of middle age who spoke with the accent of the locality. Like many in the village he was a witty man and loved a story, either to tell or to hear. After all, if one wishes to hear stories, they must have tales of their own in return. He was also a fine singer. As far as I could tell, he had no tattoos or other such marks that are common to sailors. His natural bearing led me to believe that maybe he had been of the officer class.
He told me that there still those among the older folk who thought he had come from the devil. He had only been Saved, they said, by the good Father O’Brien. ‘Why would they think this?’ I asked, he seemed a mild and courtly man and not much given to evil. The clouds, apparently, had bled that night. He was only spotted on the beach due to the uncommon lightness of the night sky. Had it been a dark night in that cold November, he would have certainly perished.
This is another excerpt of an ongoing fiction work ‘Mr Faraday’s Cage & Other Tales of Obscure Science’. I will be publishing new parts twice weekly.