The Amazing Slave Ship

slave ship

There is a story of the captain of a slave ship. I am sure the original story tells where he comes from, what his name was, and so on. But, really, none of that concerns me. Because, the real story goes beyond the particular and into the world of myth.

The story goes that this man, this captain of a slave ship, was roughing the harsh, stormy seas one night — rain was pouring, waves were splashing, lightning was flashing brightly in the sky. And yet, below all of that, beyond all of that, there was the hum of singing coming from just under the deck, in the bowels of the ship.

And, that hum was a hum we, today, would recognize anywhere. It was a ‘hm hmm huh hmm hmm… hm hm hmm hmmm’, a ‘D, G, B, G… B, G(2nd fret), G, D(2nd fret)’ if played on guitar — it was a song the captain had never heard. And, there was something about this song, legend says, that opened his eyes.

It was a message, he believed, from the Christian God. A message that told him what he was doing was inhumane. The singing from the bowels of the ship was coming from starved, sick, African people that he would be delivering into slavery. Something about the music they sang together changed the captain. He turned around, headed back to where they had come from. He prayed that if they would live and not be destroyed by the storm, he would deliver them back to their homes and he would live a different life.

Legend says he did just that. He delivered no more Africans into slavery and he, with the inspiration of the music hummed on the night everything changed, would write a powerful song we all know today.

“Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.”

Now, personally, I am not a believer. I don’t believe in the Christian God or any other God. But, the story that these would-be slaves, just singing to get by, just singing to survive, managed to change one crusty captain’s mind? Now that is a story I can’t help but to share.

This has been story time with Cody Storyteller.

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