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the gospel of Harvey the Pirate

These days I am spinning stories about Harvey the Pirate whenever Harvey the toddler is in need of a distracting interlude. Harvey the Pirate is a good pirate (says Mama) who sails his ship on the high seas and rescues treasure from the King's enemies. Yesterday at lunch I was recounting how Harvey the Pirate saved a schoolbus of children from a deserted island. I know that doesn't make sense. I had only half a brain turned on at the time; I was trying to eat my lunch.

"Can you tell me about Harvey the Pirate in the belly of the fish?" asked Harvey.

"Okay," I say. "One day Harvey the Pirate fell off his boat. God arranged for a great fish to swallow Harvey the Pirate. And he was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. And Harvey the Pirate prayed to his God from the belly of the fish - "

"Noooooo," interrupts Harvey. "He didn't pray. He just couldn't see anything down there."

"Oh, okay. So he didn't pray. And the fish vomited Harvey the Pirate onto dry land. And from there he went to Nineva and spoke out against it because its evil ways had offended the Lord."

"Can you tell me another story about Harvey the pirate?"

"Well, if we're on this kick, one time Harvey the Pirate was crossing the sea of Galilee when a terrible storm came up. And the wind was blowing and the waves were crashing, but Jesus was asleep on the deck of the boat. So Harvey the Pirate woke up Jesus and said, 'Don't you care? We're perishing!' And Jesus said to the wind, 'Stop blowing!' and he said to the waves 'Be calm!' and they were! And Harvey the Pirate said quietly, 'I think this is the son of God!'"

"Ha ha," Harvey laughs. "Can you tell me about Harvey the Pirate nailed to a cross?"

"um, well, okay. Harvey the Pirate was nailed to a cross next to Jesus. And there was some other guy on the other side of Jesus, and the other guy was mocking Jesus saying, 'If you're the son of God get us all down from here!' but Harvey the Pirate said to Jesus, 'Don't listen to him. Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.' And Jesus said to Harvey the Pirate, 'Truly I tell you, this evening you will be with me in paradise.'"

"There's a tomb in that story."

"Yes, er, then they were all laid in a tomb. Jesus and Harvey the Pirate and this other guy."

"But then other people came."

"Yes, other people came to the tomb and Jesus wasn't there. The angel said, 'Jesus is alive!' And they were happy. Hurray! The end. Now at your lunch."

Golly. I hope Harvey stops asking for these kind of stories by the time he's old enough to find this upsetting.

(Now for a joke only Dan will appreciate: Earlier Jesus had said, "You ask to see miraculous signs. I tell you the truth. No other sign will be given except the sign of Harvey the Pirate. For just as Harvey the Pirate was three days in the belly of the fish, so the Son of Man will be three days in the depths of the earth.)

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