“Tell me what you know about Mariner’s Maiden please, Kirby.”
Kirby took a long draw on his beer before he began his narrative.
“It was years ago, around 1800 Miss Emily, when the original land owner arrived on the Island with settlers from Norway. He’d claimed five hundred acres on this southern point of the Island for himself. He became wealthy in cattle, wheat, timber and cheese. As his family grew and were educated on the Mainland, they moved, one by one, off Island. They were a wealthy, hard-working lot, but needed less and less of the acreage they owned.Much of the original plot was donated to the Town throughout the years. Some sections were sold. “It got down to the last hundred acres when Colin Jorgenson bought the property, around 1890 or 1900. I am not exactly sure. The main house was much smaller and less grand than it is now, for sure.“Now, Colin was a Maritime Captain and often he’d be gonefor months at a time. He sailed the Great Lakes several times a year with supplies, spices, fancy goods and ‘fortunes of bounty’. That’s what they called it then. It was for sale to rich settlers throughout the Great Lakes. He’d earned all his wealth in trading by the turn of the century. He came and went for several years until, in his mid-thirties, he met and married a much younger woman, Amalya, and came back to the Island with her.”
Kirby sat back, drained his beer and continued. “The property was called Mariner’s Cove then. He spent two years with Island tradesmen rebuilding this house for his wife. To honor her, and before his return to the water, he commissioned a maritime woodcarver to create the figurehead of Amalya you saw yesterday on the tree marking the entrance.
He had the figure of Amalya mounted on the bow of his ship and apparently felt she was always with him in his travels. She died one summer, pregnant with their first child, shortly after his returning from his last trip of the season. He shut himself away in this house—a broken man, left forlorn and alone, to die years later of a broken heart as a recluse. It’s said he returns night after night trying to find his Amalya, his beloved.”
“But that’s just old folklore, Miss Emily, there’s nothing to it but made up stories from the past by gossips and romantics. This place has never been haunted—no one has ever said it was, anyway. Even though he was long dead, this property was held in Old Colin’s estate until your uncle bought it around 1955, I think. I suppose there is more you can find out at the Archives office in the Island library at the town offices, if you want. That’s about all I know and it ain’t much.”
Refusing a second beer, Kirby was off to finish his chores. “Thank you, Miss Emily,” Kirby said as he stood to leave.
Emily walked him to the door with Barkley in tow.
“Oh, there is one more thing” he added. “There is supposed to be a crypt on the property somewhere. I heard tell that Old Colin buried his Amalya in there and when he was dying, he crawled into it to die on her casket. Creepy, but no one’s ever found it to my knowledge—and between me and my dad, we’ve covered this property as caretakers for over fifty years.”
Emily extended her hand in gratitude for the information and company. “Thank you, Kirby. All of that is so very interesting. He must have been deeply in love with Amalya.”
Kirby, a middle-aged man, stood and shook Emily’s hand.He turned to leave, stopped and dropped his head as he hesitated at the bottom of the steps. A simple country man, this time was no different.
“Miss Emily…” He looked up at her rather sheepishly, and stuttered slightly, “Forgive me, Miss Emily, if I offend you. I have been a bachelor all my life and never had a way with women or much of a need for them.Oh, don’t get me wrong, I like ‘em well enough, but I never was able to pick the right words in their presence. If…if you don’t mind my saying…you look an awful lot like those paintings in the house of Miss Amalya.”
“Oh my word, Kirby, how you flatter me! It is purely a coincidence, I assure you.” Emily smiled, as she dismissed the compliment and waved good-bye at Kirby. As he left, she thought about the love shared between these two remarkable people, Colin and Amalya. Amalya and Colin.
She had forgotten to ask what became of the baby…