Scudding Homeward – Fiddlers Green

At Fiddler’s Green, where seamen true
When here they’ve done their duty
The bowl of grog shall still renew
And pledge to love and beauty.

In Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman comic book series, Fiddler’s Green is a place located inside of the Dreaming, a place that sailors have dreamed of for centuries.

We ultimately rounded New Caledonia and with an easterly gale behind us found ourselves scudding homeward with all the impressions derived from our experiences of Polynesia and the inhabitants of the scattered islands. The weather, on average throughout, has been pleasant and at time charming, evidencing that under such a climate life might be rendered very enjoyable within suitable habitations, seeing that the fertility of the soil yields such a prolific return for cultivation, while the scenery is grand and romantic with the soft sea breeze wafting over the blue expanse under brilliant sunshine.

During these inspiring interludes the trio, comprising the Captain, Doctor and myself, would discuss politics, history, philosophy and theology from different points of view. I found each of my companions well informed and well read critics of the history of humanity, of which they were thoughtful and observant. In our immediate experiences the environment afforded a very impressive object lesson in substantial emblems, suggestive of the future of humanity, in regard whereof, as concerning sailors, the Captain propounded that there was no day of judgement for them, as they had had so many troubles in life that they were released from all penalties of the next world, where they all went to a place called ‘Fiddlers Green’ (a heaven reserved for sailors or soldiers, especially cavalrymen)

The Captains logic becomes plausible, although the material ‘Fiddlers Green’ may be doubtful; yet the law and the prophets proclaim that every man will be rewarded according to his work. A life of service like that rendered by a sailor, deprived of all social comforts and privileges, is a life of sacrifice for humanity. Whatsoever a man sows shall he reap, so that snatched awy in their prime, like Scupper and Bruce, how can we reconcile the fact with principles of eternal and infinite justice, unless such men continue their existence and fulfill the destiny whereunto their desires and aspirations were leading them? At this point of the speculation, the doctor propounds a solution, in affirming reincarnation as the sure and certain resurrection of humanity, the only practical common sense explanation of past, present and future existence.

Look around, he remarks, and see nations inheriting their legacies, the mighty inventors and discoverers of today are the same plodders who in preceding generations may have endured a want of poverty, yet ultimately died with their schemes unperfected but having become reincarnated in a succeeding generation which has advanced in its social organisation through the services of those who have lived in preceding periods, opportunities are found which the early strugglers sought in vain.