“The Ship in Distress”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1907 (and 19th century broadsheets)
Keywords: ship disaster cannibalism reprieve rescue starvation sailor
Found in: Britain(England(South))


Sailors on a becalmed ship suffer starvation. They cast lots to determine which of them shall die to feed the rest. The one who is chosen asks that a sentry climb the topmast to search for aid while he prays. A ship is sighted and they are rescued.

Cross references


  1. Sharp-100E 90, "The Ship in Distress" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Vaughan Williams/Lloyd, p. 96, "The Ship in Distress" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Roud #807
  5. BI, ShH90