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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Legend of Old Quork's Point #northcarolinapioneers #ncgenealogy


The Legend of Old Quork's Point
By Jeannette Holland Austin

Old Quork's Day"Old Quork" was the name of a man, a castaway who had washed on Ocracoke Island. He was the survivor of a shipwreck and afterwards elected to remain on the island among the courageous people who helped him to survive. The skin of "Old Quork" was a light gold color, seemingly of Arabian origin, and his native tongue pronounced his name in such a manner that it was said to mimic the croaker fish. But that was not all. "Old Quork" was known to possess strange and outlandish habits and mannerisms. He was a quick learner of the skills of the fisherman and soon owned his own boat. The boat was as old as the 94-year old fisherman who sold it to him. Quork could cast a net without attracting sharks. On the morning of February 6, 1788, one month after Christmas was celebrated in the village of Rodanthe on Hatteras Island, Quork put out his fishing boat from a point of land near Ocracoke Village. His nets were neatly folded in the stern of his boat and his sails were spread to the freshening wind despite the fact that the old-timers predicted a full gale before the next high tide. He sailed alone and it was not long before his little boat disappeared over the horizon. The weather worsened and the islanders worried. When his boat was spied heading for shore, she seemed low in the water. Quork sped through the inlet and Pamlico Sound and tied up to the dock. Now, the trim of the boat was apparent as it was loaded to the gunwalkes with good, marketable fish. His neighbors helped him to unload his catch. By now the wind had quickened into a half-gale and the breakers were growing larger. The fisherman congratulated themselves upon getting the boat unloaded before the Sound became too rough to work. But, to their surprise, Quork refolded his nets and refilled his drinking-water jugs to prepare a return to the sea. They tried to persuade him that it was foolhardy to risk a return to the sea, but the wild light in his eyes revealed his stubborn determination. They warned him that he would be "flying in the face of the Almighty Himself." Aghast, his neighbors watched as he successfully traversed the inlet and reached the open sea. Some say that just before he sailed out of sight, a lone figure in the driving rain and spume, they heard a high, mocking laugh. "Old Quork" was never seen again! There is highway sign as you approach Ocracoke Village which marks the very point from which he is said to have sailed. This is the meaning of "Old Quork's Day."

Source: Legends of the Outer Banks by Charles Harry Whedbee (1966).
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