Two Enemies at Sea

Two enemies were on a ship; one up front, the other in the back. The ship was sinking and the enemy at back was delighted he would see the other sink first.

Ultimate satisfaction is seeing your enemy perish before you.

Townsend VersionTownsend version

Two men, deadly enemies to each other, were sailing in the same vessel. Determined to keep as far apart as possible, the one seated himself in the stem, and the other in the prow of the ship. A violent storm arose, and with the vessel in great danger of sinking, the one in the stern inquired of the pilot which of the two ends of the ship would go down first. On his replying that he supposed it would be the prow, the Man said, “Death would not be grievous to me, if I could only see my Enemy die before me.”

L'Estrange VersionL’Estrange version

There were two enemies at sea in the same vessel, the one at the ships head, the other at the stern. It blew a dreadful storm, and when the vessel was just ready to be swallow’d up, one of ’em ask’d the master, which part of the ship would be first under water; so he told him the t’other end would sink first. Why then, says he, I shall have the comfort of seeing my enemy go before me.


‘Tis a wretched satisfaction, that a revengeful man takes, even in the losing of his own life, provided that his enemy may go for company.

1001Navigantes in Eadem Navi Inimici

In eadem navi vehebantur duo qui inter se capitalia odia exercebant. Unus eorum in prora, alter in puppi residebat. Orta tempestate ingenti, cum omnes de vita desperarent, interrogat is qui in puppi sedebat gubernatorem, utram partem navis prius submersum iri existimaret. Cui gubernator “Proram,” respondit. Tum ille, “Iam mors mihi non molesta est, cum inimici mei mortem adspecturus sim.”

Perry #068