Mystery Files

The Mystery of the Salty Dog

The clues: An oddly shaped wood stick with an address attached to it, an old letter addressed to Captain William Johnston, a bottle with a paper curled up inside The file label: "Salty Dog" The investigation: E.B. and Kyla wonder if this "salty dog" mystery could be about a dog. But the clues don't seem to add up. Time to dig deeper. Kyla heads to the address attached to the strange wood stick. There, she meets Cutlass Kate and a group of pirate re-enactors. She discovers the weird stick is a peg leg that's used in pirate costumes. Kyla boards the pirate ship, but not before getting her very own pirate name: Musket ball Bernard! While sailing, Kyla finds out that real pirates used to rob ships and hurt people. Movies and adventure books made them into fun characters but the real pirates of long ago were bad people. Meanwhile, E.B. found someone who knows all about William Johnston: A man who portrays Johnston in a pirate festival. It turns out that William Johnston was a privateer, a kind of pirate that was officially sanctioned by the government during wartime. The old letter is called a letter of marque and it was Johnston's government license as a privateer. E.B. goes through an obstacle course where he uses rigging and ropes to board a ship the same way a pirate would have snuck onto an enemy ship. Kyla heads to the harbor museum to investigate the bottle. The paper inside the bottle is carefully removed and on it is an image of skull and crossbones with something around the ears. How confusing! She sends the image to E.B. while she checks out artifacts from shipwrecks. She finds out that sometimes divers visit shipwrecks underwater and steal artifacts illegally. They're sort of modern day pirates. E.B.'s image search reveals that the image is from a website where both he and Kyla have downloaded free music. But the website also has links to other things that people can download illegally. That's Internet piracy! Mystery solved: The kids find out that "salty dog" is slang for a pirate. This mystery was all about different kinds of piracy.