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ID
b119
Title
'The Ship.'
Genre
Story
Page Count
19
Word Count
3910
Publisher
Harper's Bazaar (US)
John O'London's Weekly
Publication Year
1938
Document Types
Autobiographical
First-Person Narratives
Topics
Boyhood, Mothers, Coming of Age

The story is told through the eyes of a young boy, who recalls his widowed aunt Franklin and her sailor-son Ephraim. One day Ephraim returns from a voyage with a wife, a girl from the South Seas.

When he sails away again, his wife's sole companion is the boy. They use a beautiful model of a ship, painstakingly constructed by Ephraim and long coveted by the boy, to communicate simple emotions and thoughts regarding her love of the island and her people.

Twenty-five years later the narrator writes that 'nothing can change the fact that for one afternoon I knew what it was like to be Ephraim Franklin...and sail the seas in that ship, and anchor off the little island of Kimusa in the South Seas, and fall in love...'. The setting for the tale, a taxidermist shop of the late uncle Franklin, is based on Bates's uncle Joseph Bates (Baldwin, 1987, p. 20).

In John O'London's Weekly (October 7, 1938), Harper's Bazaar US (May, 1939), The Flying Goat (1939), Thirty-One Selected Tales (1947).