Essay: “The Finding of the Graiken”, William Hope Hodgson, 1913.
This is another Sargasso Sea story (published a month after “The Thing in the Weeds”) with another ship caught in the Sargasso seaweed and besieged by a monster, here another giant cephalopod.
This story has a twist, though. Hodgson always managed to keep his Sargasso Sea stories fresh despite the repetitions of plot and setting.
The narrator has recently come into money and bought himself a yacht. His friend Barlow comes with him. Barlow’s fiancé had sailed on the Graiken twelve months ago, and the ship was presumed lost.
Barlow acts strangely, claims that he has some idea that the Graiken is trapped in a “vast world of seaweed”, and he knows exactly where. He asks the narrator to turn navigation of the ship over to him. The narrator refuses.
Barlow then takes to altering the compass and then inciting a mutiny against the narrator who is locked in his room for a few days.
The ship does find the Graiken; the narrator repents of not supporting Barlow and says there are no hard feelings between the two since Barlow was acting to save his fiancé.
After rescuing her and the other members of the ship, Barlow becomes sick and loses consciousness. When he recovers, he has no memory of events. It seems that, for weeks on end, he had been “in a sort of dream in a hyper state” which somehow enabled him to undertake great navigation feats to find the Graiken.
In the mutiny, the captain of the ship and two mates were confined. The narrator makes it up to them in a manner that he says is a story for another day.