The Day the Ferries Raced

by Bubbinster Bladebender

Cast of Characters:



The Old Sailor strides out in front of the audience dressed in weather-beaten clothing, cradling a mandolin in one hand and a mug of beer in the other. You see an elaborate stage set up like two opposing ships of some sort, while the Old Sailor stands betwixt them, on what appears to be a dock.

The Old Sailor guzzles a beer.

The Old Sailor finishes drinking, then suddenly notices the audience, blushes, then gets ready to start the performance.

The Old Sailor sings:

When yer in de Crossing and going’ to Leth,

Der iz a river dat blocks yer path.

And if yer south and yer travels north lay,

Der iz dat same river still in yer way.

De rivers deep, de rivers wide,

How do we get to de other side?

De ferry of course, of which der are two,

One or de other, de job dey will do!

Kertigen’s Honor and Hodierna’s Grace,

Either will get ye from place to place.

De ferries been running fer a long time indeed,

Ready to serve ye when yer in need!

Have ye ever noticed in de middle dey pass,

Have ye ever wondered which one is more fast?

Well mebbe ye haven’t, but I’ll tell ye who do,

De captains of ferries as well as de crew!

The Old Sailor smiles a funny little grin. With a casual wave of his arm he motions to the two Captains, one on each side of the stage, each of whom seem to be posing at the helm of a ship.

The Captain of the Kertigan’s Honor salutes.

The Captain of the Hodierna’s Grace salutes.

The Grace’s Captain recites:

Greetings friend, how do you do?

Welcome aboard, and a good day to you!

I am the captain, of the slick Grace,

And I say my ferry, will win any race!

The Grace’s Captain inspects his ship for imperfections, taking only a moment or two to glare at the other Captain and her miserable tub, the Honor.

The Grace’s passengers cheer.

The Honor’s passengers boo.

The Honor’s Captain recites:

I am also a Captain, how do you do?

Please know when you pay me, I share with my crew!

For I steer the Honor, a ferry so quick,

don’t listen to that guy, he makes me sick!

The Honor’s Captain stands with her foot firmly planted on the prow with a smirk curling her lip.

The Honor’s passengers cheer.

The Grace’s passengers boo.

The Old Sailor waves to the Captains then looks at a group of passengers, some of whom seem to be boarding the ferry Grace, some boarding the Honor.

All the Passengers sing together:

We are de travelers,

Tired and sore,

We pay our coin

To reach yonder shore!

The Honor’s Passengers sing with the Honor’s Lead:

We ride de Honor,

Tis our favorite ship,

Its crew is the fastest,

Dey never slip!

The Honor’s Passengers come aboard, milling around and looking for a place to sit.

The Honor’s Captain rubs her bullwhip with a gleam in her eye.

The Grace’s Passengers sing with the Grace’s Lead:

Grace is our pleasure,

A ferry so neat,

With our crew and captain,

We can’t be beat!

The Grace’s passengers come aboard, lining up at the rail to stare at the other ferry.

The Grace’s Captain parades up and down the deck waving at the crowd but never takes his eye off his able bodied crew.

The Old Sailor sings:

So on it continued, the talk of who’s best,

‘Til the time when all talk would be put to rest.

For this day the ferries had a battle of pride,

Both ferries will start from de same side!

Dey lined up both ships as de ropes groan and creak,

today we would find out who’s mighty, who’s meek!

De captains were glaring, each wanting to win,

der crews were excited and started to grin.

The Honor’s Captain walks among her men, whispering encouragement and glancing over at The Grace’s Captain.

The Grace’s Captain fingers the smooth wood of the wheel and leans into the wind hoping to beat The Honor’s Captain on the draw.

The Old Sailor sings:

De passengers wondered, wot wuz going down?

Which would be first to reach Crossing town?

De winner would be de first at de wharf,

De race would be started by a humble old dwarf!

The Old Sailor on stage attempts to look humble, but really just looks pathetic.

The Old Sailor sings:

De dwarf raised his arms, the crews grit their teeth,

The passengers wondered wuz de dwarf a thief?

Down came de arms, the dwarf flashed a grin,

De passengers wondered does he play mandolin?

The Old Sailor acts suspiciously like a thief for a minute, then resumes his old mannerisms, and strums his mandolin briefly.

The Grace’s Captain sings:

Pull on those ropes boys!

Pull those ropes hard!

Pull like you’re pulling,

This beast down to Shard!

This race is important I’ll have you know,

And in a short moment away we will go.

Man your positions, tow your own line,

I promise you wenches! I promise you wine!

The Grace’s Captain laughs heartily with a crazed look in his eyes!

The Honor’s Captain sings:

Pull on the ropes mates,

Though pulling gets tough,

Pull like you’re pulling

A rich Trader’s fluff!

The Honor’s Captain’s voice calls cadence over the grunts of her straining crew.

All Passengers sing together:

Oh my goodness, oh my gosh,

Look at the river water slosh!

The Honor’s Passengers sing with Honor’s Lead:

We shall win, we shan’t lose!

Wonder if they’re serving booze?

The Grace’s Passengers sing with Grace’s Lead:

Watch ’em pull, hope they last!

My this ferry ride is fast!

The Old Sailor sings:

With a mighty heave the ferries began the race,

The captains scowled and yelled while the crews joined the chase!

The passengers were smiling, for there was time yet,

To throw the dwarf their coinage, for he wuz takin’ bets!

All passengers toss coins to the Old Sailor.

The Old Sailor makes several greedy grabs for the airborne coins.

The Old Sailor sings:

The crews were pulling fiercely, starting to break a sweat,

The passengers were coinless, with nothing left to bet,

Onlookers were gathering, here to see the sight,

Of ferries racing madly, their Captains filled with spite.

The Honor’s Captain says:

Look to your ropes men!

The Honor’s Captain smacks the backside of her first mate for luck, grinning to her passengers!

The Grace’s Captain yells:

Take ship, me hearties!

​The Grace’s Captain grins confidently as he flips a coin at the feet of the dwarf with a dazzling spin.

The Old Sailor sings:

On the shore the dwarf stared at the boats,

Mandolin in hand, he played some racing notes.

No matter what would happen, no matter who would win,

The dwarf knew quite fer surely, this wuz a tale to spin!

The Old Sailor ponders how many beers folks would buy him to sing this story.

The Old Sailor sings:

Now the crews were straining, pulling on the ropes,

Captains were going crazy, pondering their hopes,

‘I’ve never seen em faster’, a passenger did say,

Neck and neck they jostled, as they neared the point halfway.

The Honor’s Captain sings:

I’ll be damned if I will lose it,

I’ll give you the whip,

I’ll drive you all much harder,

To beat that man’s ship!

The Honor’s Captain cracks her mighty bullwhip in the air threateningly!

The Grace’s Captain sings:

We must not be beaten!

Our weight is too soft.

Ah! The way we shall win,

Is to throw someone off!

The Grace’s Captain violently grabs the Lead Passenger and tosses her overboard while he screams curses and threats at his crew, driving them on!

The Grace’s Passenger 2 screams in terror at seeing someone chucked overboard.

The Honor’s Passenger 2 sings:

Our Captain’s on a power trip,

I wonder if she would sell dat whip?
Hear it snap, hear it crack,

I am glad she’s not whipping my back!

The Grace’s Passenger 2 sings:

The Captain threw that woman in the drink,

I wonder if she’ll swim or sink?

The Grace’s Lead Passenger sings:

Our Captain iz rotten to de core,

I guess I’ll swim to yonder shore!

The Old Sailor sings:

So now the race wuz raging with the ferries at great speed,

The crews were feeling tired, their hands began to bleed,

The ropes were taut and rigid, burdened with the strain,

No one seemed to notice, for ropes could feel no pain.

Passengers were yelling, cheering on their ship,

The Captains screamed crazily, brandishing their whips,

The crews were getting worried, afraid their ship might lose,

The gamblers yelled ‘Daddy, needs a new pair of shoes!’

Now the dock wuz getting closer, the race wuz almost done,

In just a few more minutes we would know who won.

The ships were still dead even, though a passenger wuz tossed,

Who would be the winner when the river run was crossed?

Can ye guess the winner? Which ferry won the crown?

You may never know the answer, fer neither reached the town.

For in the final seconds the ropes could take no more,

Snapping with a mighty crack heard above the rivers roar.

The Grace’s Captain shouts:

Arrrrrggggghhhhhhh, were going doooowwwwwwnnnnnn!

The Grace’s Captain frantically tries to regain control of his ship, but the ferry, like its Captain, was too wayward to be controlled.

The Honor’s Captain exclaims:

Gaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh, were going to droooooowwwwwwnnnn!

The Honor’s Captain hangs on to the wheel, desperately trying to steer the Honor to shore!

The Honor’s Lead Passenger sings:

Man this stinks, this really blows,

wonder where this river goes?

The Honor’s Passenger 2 sings:

We are doomed, we’re gonna die,

I wonder if a Tog can cry?

The Grace’s Lead Passenger sings:

I’m glad my armor wasn’t wore,

Or I never would have made it to shore!

The Old Sailor sings:

That day they learned a lesson as they washed wildly down the stream,

Who’s faster doesn’t matter, important as it may seem.

For the only one who gained in this tale of ferry lore,

Wuz the humble old sailor, who stayed upon the shore!