Ravi loves writing within the cusp of relationships, history, and the bizarre, where boundaries are blurred and possibilities are immense.
Fate Can Be Unpredictable at Times
It was an unbelievable twist of fate but then he had 20,000 dollars in cash to show me, proving its veracity.
Anil and I are childhood friends and we have been working as software engineers for a reputed company based in Mumbai. Anil’s family along with his kids had gone on vacation to their hometown in Kolkata and Anil was practically leading a bachelor’s life in their absence gorging on junk food, wine, and weekend partying.
“It all started yesterday evening at 8 pm as I was returning home from the office. As I opened my house and closed the door, I saw a tall, thickset, swarthy complexioned man sitting in the living room. Before I had time to react, he pointed a gun at me, motioning me to be silent.”
“I am a fair person. If you shout, I will kill you. On the other hand, if you give what I want, I will reward you. The choice is yours.” He said, keeping a stony face.
“Good,” he said, without even waiting for my answer, and then he proceeded to tell me, one of the most extraordinary stories I have ever heard about my long-dead ancestor of 300 years and his connection with one of the most bloodthirsty pirates in history Olivier Levasseur.
The Story of Olivier Levasseur
“Find my treasure, the one who may understand it.”
These were the dramatic words shouted out to the crowd by the pirate Olivier Levasseur, also known as La Buse as the noose tightened around his neck at the gallows on Bourbon Island (now called Reunion island).
As the legend says, Levasseur threw into the crowd, a cryptogram written on a piece of parchment that contained an elaborate system of clues to find his fabulous treasure.
Levasseur was said to be an intellectual, a Greek and Latin scholar who was well versed in masonic symbology and the mysterious cryptogram contained a complex riddle seeped into Greek and Hebrew mythology. This was Levasseur's challenge to the intellectuals of the world; a challenge that has remained unbroken for nearly 300 years.
As the story goes, in 1721, Levasseur and his associates came across a Portuguese galleon flying British colors, Nossa Senhora do Cabo, in the port of La Reunion, then called Bourbon Island.
It was a sitting duck of a ship with no security. Levasseur quickly captured the ship and killed the crew. The pirates fled to their headquarters in Madagascar and were surprised to see the fabulous contents of the ship that they called ‘a floating treasure’.
The treasure consisted of stacks of gold bars, piles of silver bars, dozens of boxes of gold guineas, diamonds, pearls, works of art, silks, and most notably religious objects from the Cathedral in Goa. In fact, a solid gold cross inlaid with diamonds was so heavy that it took three men to carry it. Every pirate got his share of the booty and Levasseur kept the rest.
To date, Levasseur's treasure is yet to be found. Despite the numerous failed attempts to locate the treasure, there are people who have dedicated their entire lives to finding it and dream of joining the ranks of the billionaires' club.
My Ancestor Dinanath
“I know you would be wondering why I am telling you this story of a bloodthirsty pirate and his hidden treasure. The reason has to do with your ancestral uncle Dinanath who worked along with Levasseur and was one of his closest friends.” He said.
“Not many know that Levasseur throwing that piece of parchment into the crowd was a smokescreen. It was just a clever ruse that fooled people for over 300 years. Levasseur always intended to give his treasure to the people he trusted the most. And one was your ancestor Dinanath and the other was my ancestor Samuel Williams who died a few years later after the death of Levasseur.”
“And here is where you come in the picture,” he said nonchalantly playing with his gun.
From this point onwards, his story became even more weird and fantastic.
Just hours before his hanging, Levasseur called Dinanath and Samuel Williams and gave them a little black notebook each saying.
“Guard your respective notebooks with your lives. Once things are safe, you can follow the instructions given and seek my treasure. Remember you need instructions from both the black notebooks to find my treasure. One without the other is useless.”
“Samuel Williams died immediately after the death of Levasseur but his little black notebook with all its maps remained within our family attic for generations till I found it one day. I also found a letter from Dinanath to Samuel stating that he has kept his black notebook ‘safe and sound’ within the base of the idol of his family deity.” He continued.
“It took me years to track Dinanath’s family and that finally led me to you.”
He Gave Me 20,000 Dollars
“Give me your family deity and take these 20,000 dollars in return. If you play smart, you die.” He said, pointing the gun towards me.
“I don’t know what deity you are talking about, but we are devotees of Lord Krishna and his idol has been with us for the past 500 years.” I stammered.
“Show me,” he growled in excitement as he literally snatched the idol from our family prayer room.
He tapped the base carefully as his fingers gradually pried out a piece of stone cleverly concealed within the intricate design. As the stone popped out, a rectangular opening appeared, and inside it was lying a small, black notebook in pristine condition.
He skimmed through the notebook, his eyes glowing with excitement and his gun dangerously wobbling very near to my face. Satisfied, he gave me a big smile, laid 20,000 dollars on the table, and left me in peace. I never saw him again after that.
However, one thing is for sure; It was fate that connected me somehow to Levasseur. And it is pure fate that gave me 20,000 dollars out of the blue. Who that ruffian was, where he came from and whether he found Levasseur’s treasure remains a mystery to me.
But I couldn’t care less, I got my little share of the treasure and I am quite happy the way my fate played out that bizarre balmy evening.
- Olivier Levasseur
- Olivier Levasseur: on the trail of the lost treasure of the pirate La Buse
- The Lost Treasure of Olivier Levasseur
© 2021 Ravi Rajan
Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on June 04, 2021:
The Fascinating Story of a Pirate's Small Black Notebook
Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on June 04, 2021:
FlourishAnyway from USA on June 04, 2021:
I like how you combined history and creative writing. Good job.