The lighthouse keeper’s bride

It was said she’d come from a large family. Dark secrets and her father’s cruelty made her long for a secluded life. So, when William Staker, who’d been considered, before that time, wedded to the sea, posted his notice, she replied.

They married, then set sail for the northern-most point of the county, a windswept spit with a knob of land big enough for the lighthouse, a cottage, a kitchen garden and a pen for goats and chickens.

Boats that took supplies brought back stories of the wild sailor and his pretty bride, happy in their isolation. It was said she kept the peninsular immaculate and, under her hand, it became almost cheerful. She ordered whitewash for the fences, and planted bulbs filling the ground with colour each spring.

The wounds of many storms caught up with William Staker. He could no longer look after the light. The night before a new lighthouse keeper was to arrive the sailor’s wife disappeared. Unwilling to be taken from the island without her, the sailor dove into a raging sea and was crushed upon the rocks. The lady was never seen again, except by passing ships who reported a woman, her bonnet and dress shaking in the wind, on the edge of the rocks looking out to the stormy horizon.


2011—Richard Holt / small stories about love (