"Blackbeard: Scourge of the Spanish Main". American Folklore and Legend. [edited by] Jane Polley. Pleasantville, NY : Reader's Digest Association, 1978. pg 76-78

Ethnic Origin: United States

Running Time: 7 minutes

Power Centers:

Maynard saying "I expect no quarter from you, nor shall I give any." [Defines the situation/makes it absolute life or death/demonstrates resolve/indicates confidence and marks off the beginning of the battle.]

Maynard's sword breaking. [Drama, suspense, makes Maynard's situation seem desperate and his death inevitable.]

And when Blackbeard's decapitated head starts yelling as his body hits the water. [Shocking, dramatic, introduces the supernatural, makes Blackbeard suddenly superhuman giving him power after death.]


Boats in ocean (screaming across the intervening bit of ocean). Maynard's sloop (sea battle). Teach's Hole (cove off Ocracoke).


Characters: Blackbeard.




Blackbeard is a pirate. Maynard comes to defeat the pirate. They talk. They fight. Blackbeard loses. Maynard cuts off Blackbeard's head and keeps it but discards the body. Blackbeard's headless ghost stays in the


Special phrases/flavor: "Damn you for villains who are you? And from whence came you?" "I cannot spare my boat, but I will come aboard you as soon as I can with my sloop" "Damnation seize my soul if I give any quarter or take any from you" "I expect no quarter from you, nor shall I give any" also bowsprit, boarding, "cut 'em to pieces", belowdecks; various and sundry nautical terminology


Young adults [probably best for 12-16] Less for any theoretical developmental reasons and more simply from observation that young adults seem to appreciate battles, gore, and ghosts [especially with the suggestion or possibility of realism and legitimacy to make it more immediate.]


various half remembered histories and

Cordingly, David and Falconer, John. "Blackbeard". Pirates: fact and fiction. New York: Cross River Press, 1992. pg 22-23

Cordingly, David. Under the Black Flag: the romance and the reality of life among the pirates. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1995. (primarily pages 194-201)

There really isn't much variety in the main part because the battle is, more or less, historical fact, most of our knowledge is from Maynard's accounts of it. The conversation before hand comes from "Johnson's version, which seems to have been based on newspaper accounts" according to Under the Black Flag and is also recounted in that book which gives Maynard's own account of the conversation as well: "At our first salutation, he drank Damnation to me and my Men, whom he stil'd Cowardly Puppies, saying, He would neither give nor take Quarter." Legitimate histories will leave out the bit about the head calling out after being struck off and the headless body swimming about. American Folklore and Legend provided other information about the ghost having a lantern, rumors about buried treasure, the ghost needing his head so his shipmates might recognize him in hell, and various others. There's also some rumor about his skull having been made into a cup and tales of his goblet floating around somewhere I couldn't find or document and really didn't care to use regardless. I chose what of it I did because it encompassed what struck me as most interesting and was somewhat sounded authoratative and coherent. I think that adding too many half-related rumours and stories of the ghost would result in the story loosing it's potence as a tale to something resembling meandering speculation.