French pirate Louis le Golif became known by the descriptive French name
As the title of the book suggests, le Golif was very taken with himself, and his tales of bravery, wit, and cunning are exceptionally detailed and likely embellished. His story begins when he escaped indentured servitude to join the buccaneers. For a time, he was used as a sex slave, but later began sailing as a pirate. He became a pirate captain after the ship he was on was fiercely attacked by a Spanish ship. Amid the chaos, the ship's captain was killed. Le Golif immediately assumed command, and devised a plan to trick the Spanish into believing that they'd mistakenly attacked a Spanish merchant ship and the crew were in desperate need of assistance from their “brothers.”
Using the only man onboard who spoke Spanish, le Golif succeeded in his ploy, and after killing the men sent to assist them, the pirates dressed in the dead Spaniards' clothes and rowed over with the intention of capturing the vessel. It is said that a bloody battle ensued and le Golif himself was forced at times to fight four or five men at once, firing a pistol from one hand while swinging his sword with the other. When the battle ended victoriously, le Golif's men elected him captain, and they sailed the Spanish ship, renamed the
Pirates love to recount a good tale, often creatively embellishing details as a story passed from person to person. Spreading gossip among a ship's crew or in the taverns of a pirate haven was known in the pirate realm as
Le Golif continues to describe his many adventures throughout his memoir, all of which were filled with danger and gallantry. While his tales are a fun read, it's very likely that Half-Arse never really existed. There's no mention of him in any other stories of that era, which would seem unlikely considering his extraordinarily daring exploits. Much of the information that he reveals in his book fails to mesh with confirmed historical facts, which leads one to believe that Half-Arse is a fictional character ghostwritten by an unknown author who took great care in writing a cheeky adventure.