Early in Chapter 1, Jim Hawkins uses vivid imagery to describe the frightening nightmares he has of a "seafaring man with one leg," whom Billy Bones has warned him about:
How that personage haunted my dreams […] On stormy nights, when the wind shook the four corners of the house, and the surf roared along the cove and up the cliffs, I would see him in a thousand forms, and with a thousand diabolical expressions. Now the leg would be cut off at the knee, now at the hip; now he was a monstrous kind of creature […] to see him leap and run and pursue me over the hedge and ditch was the worst of my nightmares.
Jim immediately likens the one-legged man's presence to a ghost or some equally terrifying presence. Jim imagines seeing him in a terrible storm and uses a hyperbole that emphasizes the pirate's elusive and enigmatic nature, suggesting that he sees a "thousand" versions of him. Like a sudden thunderstorm, the man arrives suddenly, bringing destruction and chaos. The man also has the ability to transform into "a thousand diabolical expressions," which foreshadows and accurately describes his manipulative nature. When Jim first encounters Long John Silver in Bristol, he thinks of him as kind and trustworthy. However, much to Jim's surprise, Silver turns out to be the very man he was warned about. Silver, manipulative and dangerous, thinks of himself first, and constantly relies on a combination of charm, wits, and pragmatism to survive.