Monday, April 20, 2015

John Smith of Jamestown Fame: not An Ordinary Fellow

QUOTE: “He first left home at the age of 16, after his father died. By 1602, the future hero of Jamestown was a soldier of fortune in Romania hired by Austria to fight the Ottoman Turks. As the Austrians besieged an Ottoman stronghold, the Muslim commander, Lord Turbashaw, issued a challenge. He would come out and meet any Christian foe in a horseman-vs.-horseman duel, one life against another.
With trumpets sounding and ladies cheering, Smith, 22, donned a knight's armor and accepted the challenge. On the first thrust of his lance, he pierced the Turk's armor at its weakest spot, the facemask visor that allowed the rider to see. For a gift to his general, Smith severed the Ottoman's head—a deed that enraged Turbashaw's friend Grualgo.
The next day, Smith did battle with Grualgo. The Englishman won again, this time with a well-placed pistol ball that unhorsed the Turk. Smith collected Grualgo's head, too.
Smith then challenged any other foe. Hence, a duel with a Turk named Mulgro, using battle-axes. Mulgro's ax hit so hard that Smith was left with only a small sword. But "beyond all mens expectation, by Gods assistance," he dodged the next blow and stabbed the Turk in the back. The Ottoman fell and, in Smith's words, "lost his head, as the rest had done."
As a reward, the young captain received an insignia bearing three Turk heads. He was wearing it when a "dismall battell" a few months later left him wounded and prostrate amid thousands of corpses. Pillagers noticed the insignia, judged Smith a man of esteem thus worth money, and sold him into slavery. He ended up on a Turkish farm where his head was shaved and an iron ring put around his neck. One day as he threshed grain, his master rode by to "beat, spurne, and revile" him. Smith clubbed his oppressor to death with a thresher, donned the man's clothes, and—with iron ring still around his neck—rode his horse to friendly Russia.”