My fellow pilgrim , rake the fire,
Its light will let me play my lyre.
This tune, of such a sweet delight
A ballad, sad, to ease this night....
My song tells of long time ago,
When farmer kept both sword and bow
Close to his hand, for he must fight
When viking ships hove into sight.
(These Norsemen came to rape and pillage
Left naught but death and burning village).........
A minstrel, tired of wandering;
A troubador, he'd played for kings.
Now heading homeward to his wife,
No more for him the nomad’s life.
When chafing strap of mandolin
Caused him to rein his pony in,
From vantage point took in the scene:
Houses burning, women's screams,
Local men, all dead or dying,
Women, children, captives - crying.
The viking raiders, fifty men,
Had headed North to kill again
His family home lay on that trail
But on fast horse they might prevail!
He rode the pony far too hard,
So chance to be in time was marred
By pony's laming - slowing, slowing.
He ran the last mile, sick with knowing.
Through smoke and dust, at last could see,
His house ablaze and bodies three.
His wife; her mother and his child
His mind was shattered, senses wild
His screams and wails were heard till night
But all went quiet in pale moonlight.
They found his body the next day
Below the cliffs around the bay.
His mandolin, crushed, by his side
Was swept away by ebbing tide
The dragon ships soon left the bay
But sailed no more than half a day
When frightful storm drove them aground
And each and every Viking drowned
Through all the hellish thunder's din
They’d heard a plaintive mandolin
Was this the wind blown by the moon?
Or ghostly troubador's last tune?
By Tam the Chanter
© 2011 Tam the Chanter
(All rights reserved)