Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/421

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SEAMEN LONG IN EXILE

Dutchman, which the governor jestingly denied; but presently the red-bearded one broke his silence, and the tears ran down his cheeks while he told them that his name was Jan Wettevri of the town of Zyp, Holland.

He had been wrecked on the Korean coast in a Dutch frigate in the year of 1626, when he was a young man of thirty-one, and his age was now fifty-eight. Twenty-seven years had he been held in Korea, and no word respecting the fate of his ship had ever gone back to Holland. Two shipmates had been saved with him, Theodore Gerard and Jan Pieters, but they were long since dead. Both had been killed seventeen years before this while fighting in the Korean army against a Tartar invasion.

Often had he besought the King of Korea, sighed this red-bearded sailor, Jan Wettevri, that he might go to Japan and join his countrymen at Nagasaki,

 

but all the answer he could get from that prince was an assurance that he should never go excepting he had wings to fly thither; that it was the custom of the country to detain all strangers, but not to suffer them to want anything and that they would be supplied with clothing and food during their lives.

 

Jan Wettevri found difficulty in speaking his own tongue when he attempted to tell his story to these