Verona Wicklow never thought the day would come, but it did: she’d had quite enough of the open sea.
She stood at the bow of the Merry Mariner, the adventuring windmill-ship aboard which Verona and the rest of the intrepid family Wicklow made their home. The wind blew swift and strong, churning the ship’s windmill-sails around and around, propelling them forward through the steady waves. Verona kept a hand on her lucky yellow hat so it wouldn’t fly away.
On any regular day, the sight of the endless horizon would have filled her with a joyous anticipation. Anything could lie beyond—strange lands to be explored, wondrous cities to wander, curious peoples to encounter, exotic foods to taste! There was adventure to be had! Each and every morning, Verona leapt out of bed at dawn’s first light, ready to tackle whatever the new day brought, and each night she fell asleep imagining what new marvels might come with tomorrow. She intended to be a famous and important explorer, and what better place to practice her profession than on a windmill-ship which sailed ‘round the Seven Seas?
But several weeks had now passed since they last saw land, another ship, or indeed anything at all besides sea, sun, and the empty horizon stretching in every direction. Verona was navigator aboard the Merry Mariner, and she knew that they currently sailed through the barest expanse of the High Sea, the largest and widest of the Seven Seas. At their current speed, it would be over a month before they saw land again. Verona wasn’t certain she could wait that long.
“How am I to become a famous and important explorer,” she said to herself, “if I’m not able to do any exploring?” Every minute that passed felt like another minute wasted. She wished she could be thrust up like a firework through the air, blasting towards the next adventure without a moment to lose. “This old ship is so slow,” she sighed. She raised her arms up to the sky. “Ahoy there, wind!” she cried. “Can’t you blow us a little bit faster?”
No sooner had the words left her lips than Verona felt a shifting beneath her feet. The windmill-sails creaked and the ship’s wooden hull groaned.
“Eureka!” cried Verona. She could hardly believe it. “Who knew the wind had ears?”
But something felt wrong. The waves came gentler now, not faster. The ship’s windmill-sails slowed, the sea calmed. The gusty wind dwindled to a gentle breeze, then a mere draft, until finally it died altogether with a hush.
“No, no!” cried Verona. “Ahoy there, wind!” she tried again. “Wind! Come back! Please, come back!”
The sea wobbled and rippled and smoothed itself out like a soft blue blanket. The Merry Mariner rocked to and fro, until finally it slowed to a complete and utter stop.
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