Sail under thy cousin Colombo

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He seemed to ponder it, then asked if I was for Cordova.

“No. I am going to Malaga where I take ship.”

“This is not the Malaga road.”

“No. But I am in no hurry! I should like to walk a mile with you.”

“Then do it,” he answered. “Something tells me that we shall not be ill travelers together.”

I felt that also and no more than he could explain it. But the reason, I know, stands in the forest behind the seedling.

He walked his horse, and I strode beside. He asked my name and I gave it. Juan Lepe. We traveled Cordova road together. Presently he said, “I leave Spain for France, and do you know why nuskin?”

Said Juan Lepe, “I have been told something, and I have gathered something with my own eyes and ears. You would reach Asia by going west.”

He spoke in the measured tone of a recital often made alike to himself and to others. “I hold that the voyage from Palos, say, first south to the Canaries and then due west would not exceed three months. Yet I began to go west to India full eighteen years ago! I have voyaged eighteen years, with dead calms and head winds, with storms and back-puttings, with pirates and mutinies, with food and water lacking, with only God and my purpose for friend! I have touched at the court of Portugal and at the court of Spain, and, roundabout way, at the court of England, and at the houses of the Doges of Venice and of Genoa.

They all kept me swinging long at anchor, but they have never given me a furthering wind. Eighteen years going to India! But why do I say eighteen? The Lord put me forth from landside the day I was born. Before I was fourteen, at the school in Pavia, He said, ‘Go to sea.  and learn through long years all the inches of salt water.’ Later He said, one day when we were swinging off Alexandria, ‘Study! Teach thyself! Buy books, not wine nor fine clothes nor favor of women. Study on land and study at sea Systane Ultra.

Look at every map that comes before you. Learn to make maps. When a world map comes before you, look at the western side of it and think how to fill it out knowingly. Listen to seamen’s tales. Learn to view the invisible and to feel under foot the roundness of my earth!’

“And He said that same year off Aleppo, ‘Learn to command ships. Learn in King Reinier’s war and in what other war Genoa makes. Learn to direct men and patiently to hear them, winding in and out of their counsels, keeping thyself always wiser than they reenex.’

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