Captains Courageous

by Rudyard Kipling

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Captain Courageous, by Rudyard Kipling, is the story of a 15-year-old boy named Harvey Cheyne Jr., the spoiled son of a wealthy railroad tycoon. He is on an ocean liner bound for Europe when he falls overboard and is rescued by a group of cod fisherman off the coast of Newfoundland. Harvey tries to get the fisherman to take him back to port, but they refuse to do it. He also tells them that he is wealthy and his father will pay for the trip back, but the fisherman don’t believe him. When Harvey accuses the captain, Disko Troop, of taking his money, the captain is angry and punches him, but then makes Harvey join the crew and work as a fisherman for the remainder of their trip.

Under the tutelage of a rough and tough crew of fisherman, and with the assistance of Dan, the captain’s son, Harvey doffs his “spoiled little rich boy” attitude and learns some manners and the value of hard work. He learns to be a good fisherman and to respect the crew. He also appreciates that they value him for his dedication and contribution to the crew and not for his money. When the fishing schooner returns to port, Harvey wires his parents, and they retrieve their son in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where the schooner arrived in port. Harvey’s parents reward the fisherman who saved her son from the water, they offer Dan a job as the officer of a railroad fleet, and they send their son to Stanford where he will learn what he needs to know to take over his father’s railroad fleet.

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