On the cliff top where the rain touched the weather-rounded rocks beneath the old lighthouse, a watchman once stood.
When the darkness falls, and the last of the cold sunlight flees into the night, some people still report seeing his ghost to this day, wearing a yellow jacket, bowler’s hat and handlebar moustache, staring out into the angry and ever-changing southern ocean.
His name was Henry – Henry Cottle. After his wife’s passing he moved to the coast and worked the lighthouse for twenty-five years from 1825 to his unfortunate demise in 1850.
He lived as a hermit and not much was known about his life save for a few children’s stories and old wives tales, his whole existence shrouded in a mysterious fog.
One of the old men of the village did give an account worth retelling: the tale of how Mr. Cottle perished.
A huge tempest battered the coast one September afternoon. The gray icy rain pelted flesh like thousands of stinging needles. The watchman stood unmoved at his post on the top of the cliff underneath the lighthouse with his old telescope extended and pointed out to sea.
Monstrous waves, driven by the hundred-year storm, pounded a tiny vessel caught in the swirling vortex of tides and wind and rain. The boat, The Harbor’s Hope, had lost its mainsail and rudder. The severe weather began to tear the ship apart. Some men panicked and jumped overboard into the darkness, never to be seen again. But other sailors managed to release a solitary lifeboat and paddled franticly towards the shoreline.
Henry closed his telescope and edged along the narrow roughly hewn stone walkway down the side of the cliff. The sailors reached the shore on a wave, and saturated by water they crawled across the rocks. They saw only a few feet in front of their faces, until the man in the yellow jacket reached the shoreline. Lightening flashed. Henry extended his free hand to each of the men in turn while gripping the slippery rail.
One by one, then men were saved. Except for one. Unfortunately the unpredictable sea raged and picked him up and smashed him into the rocks. The blow knocked him senseless.
Henry screamed over the howl of the squall but the man did not move. Henry glanced up. The other men disappeared up the walkway. Henry waited until the sea had recoiled into low ebb and then let go of the rail and walked briskly towards the unconscious man across the sharp ice-like rocks.
When the man regained consciousness, he found himself tied to the rail and held upright by Henry’s yellow jacket.
No one ever seen Henry alive again.
While searching his small room in the lighthouse, the local constable found upon Henry’s bedside table a worn bible that was open. Henry had underlined only one verse with a fountain pen.
John 15 : 13
Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
The villagers erected a plaque at the base of the old lighthouse in his honor containing this verse.
I know he is with God now. His final actions prove where he is, but sometimes I wonder if God did not on occasion send an angel, wearing a yellow jacket, bowler’s hat, and handlebar mustache, to be seen as a reminder of Cottle’s sacrifice.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be right now. CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.