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Peg Legs

Author: Krzysztof Wilczynski

Peg Legs: Probably originated from the story "Treasure Island", from the character "Long John Silver". The character does not a use a peg leg in the story; his use of crutches has been misrepresented and through time and Hollywood productions this pirate legend was formed. In real life, however, this stereotype holds a good deal of truth; although its use is exaggerated in the minds of many people. If a pirate were injured in the leg, amputation would in most cases be the only option to save him. If the pirate crew were educated enough, they would call upon the cook to cut the injured limb off (to prevent Gang Green, or infection). Doctors were uncommon aboard pirate ships, so often the ship’s cook would be called upon in the case of amputation. However, such crude operations were seldom successful, as the inexperienced "surgeon" could not stop the bleeding which followed. Although much less likely, the pirate might also die from infection. A substitute was later required for the missing leg, which was usually any free material on the ship, a long piece of wood, for instance.


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