It was noised about New Amsterdam, in the days of Governor Peter Stuyvesant of yore, that a round and bulky ship flying Dutch colors from her lofty quarter was careening up the harbor in the teeth of a north wind, through the swift waters of an ebbing tide, and making for the Hudson. A signal from the Battery to heave to and account for herself being disregarded, a cannon was trained upon her, and a ball went whistling through her cloudy and imponderable mass, for timbers she had none.
Some of the sailor-folk talked of mirages that rose into the air of northern coasts and seas, but the wise ones put their fingers beside their noses and called to memory the Flying Dutchman, that wanderer of the seas whose captain, having sworn that he would round Cape Horn in spite of heaven and hell, has been beating to and fro along the bleak coast and elsewhere for centuries, being allowed to land but once in seven years, when he can break the curse if he finds a girl who will love him.
Perhaps Captain Vanderdecken hoped he could land in some Dutch settlement on the Hudson; or perhaps he expiated his rashness by prayer and penitence; howbeit, he never came down again, unless he slipped away to sea in snow or fog so dense that watchers and boatmen saw nothing of his passing.
A few old settlers declared the vessel to be the Half Moon, and there were some who testified to seeing that identical ship with Henry Hudson and his specter crew on board making for the Catskills to hold a carouse and some point their ship could be spotted dropping anchor between the Tappan Zee Bridge and Albany.