Summary of “Scarlet Sails”

Summary of “Scarlet Sails”

About the work

The story “Scarlet Sails” was first published in 1923. The author sought to show in his work the possibility of winning a dream over everyday life. The story of Alexander Green “Scarlet Sails” tells about the girl Assol, about her fidelity to the dream and desire for it. The main conflict of the story “Scarlet Sails” is a confrontation of dreams and reality.

Main characters

Assol is a poor girl who lives with her father. Once, the old legendary collector Egle said that the prince under the scarlet sails would come for her. The girl believed with all her heart, and waited for her prince.

Arthur Gray is the only heir to a noble rich family, looking for himself and his place in the world. From the age of fifteen he leaves his home and goes on a voyage.

Other characters

Longren is an old sailor who lives with his daughter Assol. His wife died, he himself raised his daughter and makes a living, creating a model of wood from a ship.

Aigle is a collector of fairy tales and legends. Once in the forest he sees Assol with a toy yacht on scarlet sails, and tells the girl that the same ship will sail once behind her.

Hin Meners is the son of the deceased host of the Menners inn. He hates Father Assol and the girl herself, because Longren did not help his father when his boat was taken to the open sea.

The inhabitants of Caperna are mundane, cynical people. They do not

like Longren, and Assol is considered insane. The story of the scarlet sails for them is another reason for ridicule of the girl.

Chapter 1. Prediction

Longren, a sailor who went to sea on the brig “Orion”, after ten years of sailing leaves the service and returns home. He is forced to do this because once he returned to the small village of Caperna, he learned that he has an eight-month-old daughter, and Mary’s beloved wife died of bilateral pneumonia.

The birth was heavy, almost all the savings that were in the house left to recover. The poor woman was forced to go into the city in cold weather to lay a wedding ring-the only value-and buy bread. After a three-hour journey Mary followed and soon died. A neighbor-widow moved into a vacant house. She raised a small Assol. Longren also learned that his wife had asked to lend her money to the wealthy owner of the Menners tavern. He “agreed to give money, but demanded for this love.”

After the death of his beloved wife, the sailor became more unsociable, lived, raising a girl and earning a living with wooden toys in the form of ships and boats.

When Assol completed five years, “there was an event, the shadow of which fell on his father, covered and daughter.” In a terrible weather, Longren stood at the pier and smoked when he saw Menners in his boat carrying away to the sea. Menners asked to help him, but Longren simply stood and was silent, and when the boat almost disappeared from sight, he shouted: “she also asked you to! Think about it, while still alive…”. Returning home to the night, he told Assol, who had awakened, that he had “made a black toy.”

Six days later Menners was found, he was picked up by a steamer, but he was in a state of dying. The inhabitants of Caperna learned from him how Longren watched tacitly for his upcoming demise. After that he completely became an outcast in the countryside. Subsequently, Assol also lost friends. The children did not want to play with her. She was feared and repelled. At first the girl tried to establish communication with them, but it ended in bruises and tears. Soon she learned to play alone.

In good weather, Longren let the girl out into the city. Once eight-year-old Assol saw in the basket a beautiful white yacht, and her sails were made of scarlet silk. The girl could not resist, before the temptation to play an unusual boat, and let her swim in a forest stream. But there was a strong current that quickly carried it down. Running after the toy. Assol was in the thicket of the forest and saw Egli, an old collector of songs and fairy tales.

“I do not know how many years will pass, only a fairy tale will flourish in Caperna, a scarlet sail will shine under the sun in the morning… You will see a brave, handsome prince… I came to take you forever to your kingdom – he will say… “.

The joyful girl returned to her father and told him the story. He, not wanting to disappoint his daughter, supported her. Nearby passed a beggar who heard everything and told in the tavern. After this incident, the children began to tease Assol even more, calling her a princess and shouting that her “red sails” had come for her. The girl was considered insane.

Chapter 2. Gray

Arthur Gray was a descendant of a respected family and lived in a rich family estate. The boy was uncomfortable within the framework of family etiquette and boring home.

Somehow the boy sketched the hands of the crucified Christ in the painting, explaining his act by the reluctance of “that blood is flowing in his house.” At the age of eight he began to study the back streets of the castle and went to the wine cellar where the wine was stored, with the ominous inscription “Gray will drink me when he is in Paradise”. Young Arthur was indignant at the illogicality of the inscription, and said that he would drink it one day.

Arthur grew up as an unusual child. The castle no longer had children, and he played alone, often in the backyards of the castle. In the weeds of weeds and old defensive ditches.

When the boy was twelve, he wandered into the dusty library and saw a picture of the ship in a storm, with the captain standing on the nose. The painting, and especially the figure of the captain, struck Gray. Since that moment the sea has become for him the meaning of life, a dream that he could only learn from books.

At the age of fifteen, Arthur escaped from his estate and went to the sea as a cabin boy on an Anselm schooner, “to which Captain Gop took him first out of interest and desire to show the effeminate boy the real sea and life of sailors.” But Arthur turned from a little prince into a real strong sailor, from his past life he saved only his free, floating soul. The captain, seeing how the boy changed, somehow told him “Victory on your side, a rogue.” From that moment, Gop began to teach Gray everything he knew himself.

In Vancouver, Gray received a letter from his mother, she asked him to return home, but Arthur replied that she also needs to understand him, he does not represent his life without the sea.

After five years of swimming, Gray came to visit the castle. Here he learned that his old father had died. A week later, with a large sum, he met with Captain Gop, who was told that he would now be the captain of his own ship. First Gop pushed young Arthur and wanted to leave, but he caught up and sincerely embraced him, then invited the captain and the team to the nearest inn where they feasted all night.

Soon in the port of Dubelt was the “Secret” – the huge three-masted Gray.

On it, he sailed for about three years, engaged in merchant affairs, until, by will of fate, he found himself in the fox.

Chapter 3. The Dawn

On the twelfth day of his stay in the Fox, Gray grieved and went to inspect the ship before departure. He wanted to go fishing. With the sailor Leticia they sailed in a boat along the night shore. So slowly they got to Caperna and stopped there.

Wandering through the night forest, he saw Assol sleeping on the grass. The girl slept with a sweet, undisturbed sleep and seemed to Arthur the embodiment of beauty and tenderness. Without realizing why he was doing this, Gray put his family ring on her pinky.

Then, at the Menners’ tavern, the captain began to ask about the girl he saw at Hin Mennners. He said that it was, apparently, “Ship Assol”, a half-witted girl, that she was waiting for the prince under scarlet sails. The story of the sails was deformed and told in the key of mockery and irony, but its innermost essence was “untouched” and struck Gray to the core.

Hin also spoke about the girl’s father, calling him a murderer. The drunken charcoal that sat next to suddenly sobered up and called Menners a liar. He said that he knows Assol, he drove her many times to the city on her cart, and the girl is absolutely healthy and sweet. While they were talking, Assol went about her business past the window of the tavern. A single glance at the girl’s concentrated face and serious eyes, in which a sharp agile mind was read, was enough for Gray to make sure Assol’s health was healthy.

Chapter 4. On the eve

Seven years have passed since the meeting between Assol and Egle. For the first time in these years the girl returned home very upset and with a full basket of unsold toys. She told Logren that the owner of the shop no longer wanted to buy their crafts. They did not want to take them in other stores that the girl walked around, referring to the fact that nowadays modern mechanical toys are more valued than “wooden baubles” of Longren. The old sailor decides to go to sea again to earn a living for himself and his daughter, although he does not want to leave his daughter alone.

Upset and pensive Assol went to wander the evening shore of Caperna, and fell asleep in the woods, waking up already with the ring of Gray on her finger. At first it seemed to her someone’s joke. After thinking carefully, the girl hid him and did not tell her father about the strange find.

Chapter 5. Combat preparations

Back on the ship, Gray gave orders that surprised his assistant, and went to the city stores in search of scarlet silk. Gray’s aide, Panten was so surprised by the behavior of the captain that he thought he had decided to start smuggling.

Finally finding the right shade, Arthur bought two thousand meters of the cloth he needed, which surprised the owner, who called the sky-high price for his goods.

On the street, Gray saw Zimmer, a vagabond musician he had known before, and asked him to assemble fellow musicians for Gray’s service. Zimmer gladly agreed and after a while came to the port with a crowd of street musicians.

Chapter 6. Assol remains one

After spending the night in his boat on the sea, Londgren returned home and told Assol that he was going on a long voyage. Daughter, he left a gun for protection. Longren did not want to leave and was afraid to leave his daughter for a long time, but he had no choice.

Assol was disturbed by strange forebodings. Everything in her home became close. Met the coal miner Philip, the girl said goodbye to him, saying that he would soon leave, but where, until he knows herself.

Chapter 7. Scarlet “The Secret”

The “secret” under the scarlet sails was the river bed. Arthur reassured his assistant Paten, revealing to him the reason for this unusual behavior. He told him that in the image Assol saw a miracle, and now he has to become a real miracle for the girl. That’s why he needs scarlet sails.

Assol was at home alone. She was reading an interesting book, and the annoying beetle was crawling along the leaves and lines, which she now and then looked like down. Once again the insect climbed onto the book and stopped at the word “Look”. The girl, sighing, raised her head, and suddenly in the opening between the roofs of the houses she saw the sea, and on it – a ship under scarlet sails. Not believing her eyes, she ran to the pier, where the whole of Caperna was already assembled, perplexed and noisy. On the faces of the men there was a mute question, on the faces of women there was an open anger. “Never before had a large ship come to this shore, the ship had the very sails whose name sounded like mockery.”

When Assol was on the beach, there was already a huge screaming, inquiring, hissing with anger and surprise crowd. Assol ran into the thick of the ground, and people moved away from her, as if afraid.
A boat with strong oarsmen separated from the ship, among which was “the one… whom she knew, vaguely remembered from her childhood.” Assol rushed into the water, where she was taken to her boat by Gray.
“Assol closed her eyes, then, quickly opening her eyes, she smiled boldly at his radiant face and, breathless, said: Absolutely so.”

Once on the ship, the girl asked if Gray would take Old Longren. He answered “Yes” and kissed the happy Assol. The holiday was celebrated with the same wine from the cellars of Gray.


The story is multifaceted and reveals many important problems, so after reading the brief retelling of Scarlet Sails, we recommend that you read the full version of the story.

In the foreground is the problem of confronting the dream of everyday life. Caperna and its inhabitants are the antipodes of Assol and Gray. Assol awaits the execution of a dreamlike dream, and Gray embodies the dream of life by decorating his ship with sails from scarlet silk.

Symbolical is the color of the sail. Scarlet is a symbol of victory, glee. The village of Caperna is depicted in gray tones, against the background of its dirty roofs. The “secret” under the scarlet sails seems a miracle. This color is completely alien here, like Assol and Gray, so they leave here at the end of the story.

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Summary of “Scarlet Sails”