Many a sailor, no matter how brave and fearless, knows well how unpredictable and deadly the sea can be. Before every setting of the sails, a prayer goes throughout the crew, praying to God for the safety of their voyage. A wise man knows that prayers are not always answered and many a man has traveled to the briny depths of the sea, never to be seen again. Some men say though, they have managed to cheat death in those moments with a ritual that may not be worth living for later.
The ritual is fairly simple, but not one that one wants to use unless they are in mortal peril and know it. Providing that they are not sinking fast enough in the water to choke their words, a man must repeat the words, “Devil take my soul across the Styx, God has abandoned me,” three times at the top of his lungs. If he truly puts himself and his soul into it, the Ferryman shall come, no matter how much the waves rage and toss. His ship shall not be turned, nor shall he capsize.
The man shall feel his wrist grabbed and be pulled into the boat. From there, he will not feel the waves rocking him. He will feel no hunger, no thirst, only the breath in his lungs and the wind blow softly across his wet face.
It is important that the man does not look up into his eyes. This is because calling him out is a trick. You see, the Ferryman will not take a soul across the Styx without payment. He will hear him speak, asking for payment. When he asks, he must proclaim that he is without payment and needs to go get it from home. The Ferryman will then begin to row to the sailor’s home shore.
He cannot look at him at all the entire way. If it takes three days and three nights, it will not matter. This is because if the Ferryman looks into your eyes, he will know you are lying and return you to the waters to drown.
When you finally reach the shore, the sailor must thank him and tell him he will return shortly. The sailor can never return to the sea after this. The Ferryman will never come to the shore to collect, only be there by the water, awaiting his payment. If a sailor ever does set foot on a boat again, he and all the men on it shall perish in a violent and destructive manner.
Be warned though. One cannot outrun the Ferryman forever. I know a man who is in his last years and fears closing his eyes at night, lest he pass from this world and his soul meet the Ferryman once more. He feels the grip around his wrist tighter and tighter at night with each dream when he finally falls into sleep, and sees a monstrous face looking at him enraged.
No one truly cheats the Ferryman. He is simply far more patient than most realize.