Basil the Bat peeked around the edge of the cave. It was morning and the rest of his family was sound asleep. They’d all been busy the night before chasing down insects for the family meal. But Basil was too excited to sleep. Unlike the rest of his family, Basil wasn’t content with just being a bat. He wanted to join the Sea Elves and have daring adventures at sea.
So all morning he’d kept an eye on the harbor far below. Today it had been especially busy. Ever since sunrise, he’d watched ship after ship enter the harbor, while others sailed away. The tiny bat was fascinated by all this activity. He longed to be down there in the midst of the action.
After a quick glance behind him to make sure everyone was fast asleep, Basil decided to venture out of the cave and fly down for a closer look. Just for a minute, he told himself, he’d curl up inside one of the furled topsails. Just long enough to imagine what it would be like to go to sea.
So the adventurous little bat slipped out of the cave and flew all the way to the top of the mast on the nearest sailing ship. He crept into the rolled up topsail and settled himself inside, hanging upside down from the top as if he was still sleeping in the cave. He listened to the creaking of the ship as the waves brushed against it, feeling it roll gently even though it was tied securely to the dock. He was so excited he could barely breathe. For the first time in his life he was on a full-masted sailing ship.
Eventually the gentle rocking of the ship had its inevitable effect. He forgot he was supposed to quickly fly away. After all, he’d been up all night, and daytime is the natural time for a bat to rest. So even though he’d meant to just stay for a moment, he soon fell sound asleep.
While Basil slept, the members of the crew came aboard. In no time at all they had the ship ready to depart. When the captain called out “All hands on deck!” the ship slid away from the dock. Soon it left the harbor behind and was out on the open sea. As the wind picked up, the captain ordered the crew to raise more sails so they would gain speed.
“Raise the topsail!” the captain cried out at last. And the highest sail on the ship began to open.
End of part one.