The Phantom Whale by Warren F. Robinson

Lady-“Can’t you find work?”

Tramp-“Yessum; but everyone wants a reference from my last employer.”

Lady-“And can’t you get one?”

Tramp-“No, mum. You see, he’s been dead twenty-eight years.”

 

There was salt in the air too, or so it seemed, a tang and zip to the breeze that made a fellow’s heart thump a little harder and made the feet move a bit faster. Roistering laughter from an inn disturbed the busy hum of life at the waterfront, and down a side street a fight was going on. The boys hurried on watching the masts of the ships appearing over the roof tops, slender rigging strung out against the sky, and sails on some ships flapping and billowing alternately in the wind, drying out. It was old New Bedford in its day of glory when hundred of ships cleared from the harbor in the course of a single season, when fortunes were made and lost in the great gamble of men and wooden ship against the sea and whales, when the blunt-bowed craft carried the Stars-and-Stripes to the tiniest coves of earth’s far-flung coast line, across and upon the deepest, broadest oceans! In those dim days the doughty whalemen haunted waters not marked with certainty on any chart, and played adventurer, discoverer, pioneer for the world, building a great, complex industry—giving light to mankind! The coldest climes were not unknown to those Yankee skippers and their crews. The hottest parts of the world were familiar stamping grounds.