A long time ago there was a dreadful pirate called Hookbeard because he tied rusty fishhooks in his thick black beard. Hookbeard the pirate was the meanest, nastiest, ugliest pirate of them all. Whenever Hookbeard met another pirate, he made sure to make fun of them. Once he challenged Peg-leg Pete to a race, which of course Peg-leg Pete lost because he only had one leg and Hookbeard had two. Peg-leg Pete was so upset that he started crying, and Hookbeard called him a crybaby, which only made Pete cry more.

As you can imagine, this didn't make Hookbeard popular. Because he was so mean, nasty, and ugly all of the other pirates sailed the other way when they saw his ship, and when Hookbeard walked into the tavern to drink some grog, all the other pirates quickly paid their bills and left Hookbeard to drink alone by the fireplace.

One day, when Hookbeard was sitting alone in the Tavern drinking his grog, something happened that had never happened before. The door opened, flooding the dark stinky tavern with fresh air and sunlight, and someone walked into the tavern and sat down right next to Hookbeard at his table by the fireplace. It was a tall, pretty woman pirate with long tangled red hair. One of her eyes was as blue as the ocean, and the other one was covered with a leather eyepatch adorned with a skull and crossbones.

Hookbeard did his best to ignore the woman, but he wasn't used to anyone even being in the same room with him, much less sitting at the same table with him. Finally, he couldn't stand it anymore.

"Who be you and what be you doing at me table?" Hookbeard asked in a crude, rude voice.

The red headed pirate woman looked at him with her one blue eye and answered, "Me name be Elena One-eye, and I be drinking grog next to the fire."

"Well," said Hookbeard, "your hair looks like a mess of rusty chains, and I think your eyepatch looks silly."

Elena just laughed and drank a sip of her grog.

"You didn't think that was mean?" asked Hookbeard.

"Not particularly," said Elena One-eye. "I like me hair, it looks fiery like the fire yonder, and as fer me eyepatch, it don't look nary sillier than yer hooks in yer beard."

"Hmmm," said Hookbeard. "Ye know, I haven't bathed in a month of Sundays. Don't ye be thinkin' I'm stinky and nasty? Don't me smell make ye just want to retch?"

"Nah," said Elena. "Me daddy was the dread pirate Stinky Steve, and he never bathed a day in his life. In fact, I kind of like the way you smell. All fish and grog, just like me dear old dad."

"Hrumph," grunted Hookbeard. "Don't ye think I'm particularly ugly, what with me matted black beard all full of fish hooks and all?"

"Well," answered Elena One-eye, "it's a bit dark in here, and I do only have one eye, so maybe I can't see you very well. Why don't we go outside into the sunshine so I can see you better?"

Well, Hookbeard did something he hadn't done since he was a little boy. He smiled.

Elena One-eye grabbed Hookbeard's grimy hand and pulled him up out of his chair and dragged him out of the tavern and into the street. When they were out in the sunshine, she squinted her one blue eye and regarded Hookbeard carefully.

"Nah. You aren't so ugly," said Elena. "I mean, you might be ugly around this island, but I've seen a lot worse. If you want to see ugly, you should meet Ugly Ursula Crabsword."

Something was wrong. He looked down and noticed that Elena was still holding his hand. Hookbeard felt kind of weird. For the first time in his life, he didn't know what to say.

Elena just smiled at him and they took a walk down to the beach to watch the sunset and look for treasure. They became best friends and terrorized the seas together for many years to come, happily ever after.

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AuthorBrennen Reece