USS White Plains
(AFS-4)

The Orient Express

Fiddlers Green

Fiddler's Green

Legend has it that there is a special paradise awaiting sailors. This place was called Fiddler’s Green. Descriptions of it go back at least to 1685, when a description of it appears under the name of “Lubberland.”

Fiddler’s Green grew in the telling, but it was a place where there was always music, and where dancers never got tired. There was plenty to eat – pudding, meat, pie, candy. Tobacco and alcohol were plentiful and free. Often a sailor's soul in Fiddler’s Green was tied to a ship, but on these magic ships there was no work. The wind always blew fair, and if one was fishing, the fish jumped into the net of their own accord.

Often in this place, the low were raised high and the mighty were laid low. A ship’s captain served his crew, preparing food for them and sharing his whiskey. Landlords never needed to be paid. (Many men who first went to sea were farmers whose families had been evicted from the a farm they had held for generations.) There were no lawyers.

And when one came to land, the locals were welcoming (rather than suspicious of strangers) and the girls were all pretty and friendly. Rivers and streams flowed with wine, trees grew roast meat and sugar, and the streets were paved with gold. Everyday people wore silk and satin clothing. The weather was never too hot or too cold (though apparently Fiddler’s Green had the usual seasons in the usual order).

It wasn’t heaven. It was a special place for sailors. To earn one’s way into Fiddler’s Green, a man had to be honest with his fellows, and hard-working. And he needed to have suffered as a sailor. Since most sailors were beaten regularly, and endured bad food, harsh weather, sickness, and unfair treatment, this wasn’t hard to achieve.

The opposite of this was Davy Jones’ locker. Simply put, Davy Jones was another name for the Devil. The name was safer to use than calling him either Satan or the Devil. Such names might draw his attention - something you definitely did not want to do! His job was to take the souls of dead men down below the sea, and keep them forever. Few, if any stories actually tell about this. To be taken to the bottom of the cold, dark, crushing water, and kept there in chains by an evil spirit was bad enough.

However, ritual was also helpful in getting to Fiddler’s Green. Though it wasn’t necessary, being properly buried, either at sea or on land, was a big help.

Pirates (and other sailors) are often pictured with a gold ring earring. This was to pay for a proper burial should they be killed ashore.

Info thanks to Pirate Empire

The following shipmates have gone before us to Fiddler's Green. Raise a glass to them! RIP shipmates, we have the watch.