Having shot an albatross, he and his companions were subjected to fearful penalties. On repentance he was forgiven, and on reaching land told his story to a hermit. At times, however, distress of mind drove him from land to land, and wherever he abode he told his tale of woe, to warn from cruelty and persuade men to love God's creatures. —Coleridge.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
More on Ancient Mariner from Fact Monster: