I love this story! We don't get to hear much about Ben's young life at sea, and this story fills out the picture in a manner worthy of "Treasure Island"...the characters in Ben's tale are so vividly described! The antagonism between Reedy and Squint is especially great. And as usual, your characterization of the four Cartwrights is terrific! I especially like when Joe is hiding behind the chair and Adam comes in...I can clearly envision the emotions of all the Cartwrights at that moment.
My favorite line from the story was when Ben was speculating that the priest had given Joe a couple extra names..."Joseph Mischief Trouble Francis Cartwright.” I have a hunch Ben was right! :D
Thank you, ansi, for a fantastic story!