From Boatsheds to Battlefields 6 On Women and Religion

End of 5th Entry: As the two lunched Bertie looking at their spoil remarked “What are you going to do with your flowers, Mick? You haven’t got a girl.”

“If I had I wouldn’t be giving them to her. I want them myself. I like flowers and so do Dad and the Mater. Think I’d bally well give Disas to a girl? Not much!

Old Jack reckons women are a necessary evil. Get keen on them and it’s all up with a chap. They’re like snakes. I know a chap that makes pets of snakes. Well he plays with them and likes them and some are jolly pretty but he has to be jolly careful or they’ll turn on him. Girls are like that or like a kitten – she plays nicely as long as you do, but if you get tired or don’t keep giving her things, she scratches.

Old Muhammad Abdul, he’s old and he has been to Mecca – he’s a Hadji and can handle a boat better than anyone in the world – well if he doesn’t know about girls who does? He’s had ten wives and has scores of children – he told me the Holy Prophet said God only made girls to be playthings when young and to be workers when old.

Old Jack says the same and he has sailed round the Horn and been in the South Sea Islands.

Abdul he says girls are made to give men enjoyment and women to work for men and ease their lives – the Prophet said so and he reckoned women and girls didn’t go to Heaven, they just died, bar the prettiest and they were taken to Heaven to minister to the wants of men. I reckon Muhammad was a darn good man and made a fine religion.

The Christian religion is all ‘You mustn’t do this and you mustn’t do that’. I reckon the parsons have made it all quite different to what Christ wanted. He was always chums with the fishermen and publicans and sinners and if this religion was like the Christian religion today none of the fishing crowd would have followed him.

I like the old Norse religion too – Thor and Odin and their crowd had a good religion. I feel darn sorry for the old jarls and Vikings in the Sagas being driven into the North and killed by the followers of the White Christ (term used by the Vikings because the converts wore white robes). I reckon the Vikings, Moors, and Aztecs were a better crowd than the Portuguese and Spaniards.

All the crowds had civilizations without Christianity and they stuck to their religions. I reckon the Catholics were right to have the Inquisition. If a nation has a religion all the crowd that isn’t true to it ought to be tortured – only its got to be a proper religion where everybody knows what are the rules of it like the Catholics.

Bertie looked at Mick in a worried fashion – “Why on earth do you keep thinking about deep things like religion, Mick? No other fellow of our age does.”

Well, sailors and fishermen and mountain folk do. The Malays are always talking about the Prophet and the Koran, and sailors talk about God; not like Sunday School people, but wondering what God’s like and whether he takes into consideration Jack’s hard life, or whether he’s like a Yankee Skipper with Gabriel and Michael and St Peter (Peter, a Jewish fisherman, was called to be a disciple of Jesus at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry) as mates and boatswain. Most reckon they’ll get a square deal up loft but skippers and mates and bo’suns and shipowners they’ll get chucked into Hell. Well, let’s get moving.”

“Let’s get out on the side of the Window first,” replied Bertie and swinging on their rucksacks they made off down the stream by which they had camped. A hundred yards and they paused – the tiny burn dropped over into a huge cleft of incredible savagery – wild rocks, great precipices dripping water with nowhere a possible route to be seen.

Thousands of feet below lay a wonderful view of the Indian Ocean, its long rollers breaking against the white beach of Muizenberg – All False Bay backed by its mighty mountain ranges lay before them – just under was the famous Constantia Valley with its ancient Dutch Homesteads, its vineyards and orchards and the beautiful suburbs of Cape Town below.

A while they gazed awestruck at the immensity of it all, then turned to once again continue their tramp.


From Boatsheds to Battlefields 3 Thoughts on Religion

End of 2nd entry: Spellbound the two lads gazed on the majesty and wonder of the old world – far beneath them lay thousands of human habitations – great churches, proud colleges, mighty houses of business, the huge dockyard and the homes of the wealthy.

Seen from the ramparts of the world a colony of Lilliputian race spreading over one of ten thousand valleys. Look where they would the work of man seemed but the tiny castles, the pygmy gardens, the little works of children playing amongst the wide sands of a far-flung beach.

“Makes one feel pretty small doesn’t it Mick?”, whispered the one. “Wait until you know the mountain as I do, be up there with the mists rolling over and the Sou Easter shrieking down the gorges – Man! I tell you a chap feels that a fly climbing up about the wall of a room can’t feel more tiny or lonely.”

“What you say about the mountain holds just as true about the sea,” replied Mick. “It must be pretty rotten up here in bad weather but to get really scared a chap wants to get caught in a howling Sou Easter or worse still by the North. The mountain’s big and strong I grant you, but what about the Atlantic when it lets itself go? I’ve been fooling on the sea for a couple of years now and to have funk properly shoved into you I bet the old sea can give the mountain long odds.”

Bertie grinned – “All right Old Man, you tell me that tonight – you haven’t done any rock work yet, but you will in a couple of hours and then we’ll see.”

Mick flushed, “I’ve been up to the main-truck of  Yankee Ship flying skysails, Old Chap. Over 120 feet, and I didn’t go through the Lubber’s Hole either. I bet I’ll climb any beastly rock you can.”

The older boy grunted, “Climbing masts and climbing rocks aren’t the same, you’ll see – bet you my Redskin and Cowboy against your jackknife you get funky before I do.”

Image result for redskin and cowboy henty

“Done,” said Mick expectorating in a fashion learned from American Sailors and the two cautiously crawled back to safe ground.

“I wasn’t funky there,” exclaimed Mick as once more he rose to his feet.

“I bet you were all trembly inside and your legs felt full of water,” said Bertie, “I did and I’m used to it.”

Micky gulped, “Well if you admit it, I admit it, but it isn’t funk – funk is when a chap starts howling before he’s hurt – like a three quarter passing the ball because he thinks he’s going to be tackled – feelings don’t matter as long as you tackle the job you’ve set yourself on.”

“Why did you ask whether Religion is true?” asked Bertie. “Of course it’s true – there are the Bible and all the churches and parsons to prove it.”

“Bibles, churches, and parsons don’t prove Religion” replied the youthful skeptic – “What about the Muhammadans – they’ve got the Koran and it’s a blooming sight more sensible – take the Old Testament, it’s all parables and there’s nothing clear – not the way the churches teach it anyway. I’m going to find out what the Roman Catholics teach, I bet they know better than all these blighters.” Bertie gazed fearfully upon his companion, “Stop it Mickey, man – it’s bad luck to talk like that on the mountain – wait until we get off – one never knows anyway and I’m not taking risks. If God hears you he might let a bit of rock break when you’re climbing and then you’ll go straight to Hell.”

Mick looked thoughtful, “I know it’s the same at sea, I wouldn’t go arguing about God if I was in a Sou’ Easter, but all the same, I want a God, one I can see and hear like the Sun or the Old Viking Gods of  Thor and Odin.”

Bertie moved away from dangerous ground – “You take the Claremont side Mick and I’ll keep straight on – bet you I get more disas than you do.”

“Bet you, you won’t,” replied his chum and the boys took to the moor again.