The Witch's Ballad
By Rose Clements
They said the storm fed her; she drew her powers from the clouds and the rain and the darkness. They said that during her reign of terror, the sun did not shine once upon the Kingdom of Jabez. They called a poor peasant woman was a witch, a murderer, a thief, a traitor, and a harlot.
Bippity Bippity Bippity Bop, stay away from Arbol Knopp
They did not say that the ‘witch’ had been born to the same family as the King of Jabez. They did not talk about the witch’s real name, which was Arbol, or the witch’s son, Jack. They did mention Jack later on, in reverent tones, when he led the witch hunt and valiantly lost his right hand in battle. They very rarely spoke of the supposed witch’s sordid love life, which went from the ruffians of the slums of Jabez to the King’s sons, Wilddin and Penguin.
Jack had strength, Jack had charm; Jack no longer has both arms.
They would have you believe the witch’s life ended when she was caught for the ninetieth time and actually imprisoned long enough for a trial to be held. They will tell you that the King banged down the gavel with all the fury of the throne, and sentenced Arbol to be executed right then and there. They are severely misled.
The sea was deep, the sea was dark; she took to the sea, on a great big ark.
The witch was banished, by a laughing, amused older step-sibling of a King. She was escorted to the Jabezian Sea, where she promptly seized control of the royal fleet and took to piracy. They will never tell you that the royal son, Wilddin Go, only ever became head of the Royal Navy so he could continue chasing a woman who, technically, was his aunt.
Terrible hag; ought to be shot; never trust a woman, whose love can be bought.
They will go on and on and on about Wilddin’s glorious retirement from the Royal Navy at the ripe old age of five and twenty. They will spend hours extolling the beauty of the bride he returned with, and the quiet, cold grace she exhibited. They would have you believe that the royal son of Jabez, Wilddin Go, married a young, foreign woman of noble blood and royal birth. They, in case you have not yet gathered, are easily fooled. For Wilddin’s bride was well over thirty, and certainly not foreign.
So lovely was Sir Wilddin’s bride, the entire kingdom sang with pride.
They will claim that when the King abdicated the throne, Wilddin Go stepped back so his brother could rule. They know little of the three day sword fight that raged on in the throne room, as Wilddin’s ‘beautiful bride’ looked on in boredom. They did not hear the curses shouted by the Royal Son Penguin, or the names he chose to call his brother’s wife. They remain completely unaware that Penguin’s winning stroke came when he sliced off a good portion of Wilddin’s calf, then grabbed Arbol by the shoulders and kissed her until she herself was forced to stab him in the thigh.
With great gratitude, and so much grace, did Sir Penguin take his brother’s place.
They don’t have a clue that the former King did eventually step in between his sons and his step-sister, only to inform them that if it wasn’t all sorted within two hours, he would simply admit to being the father of half the servants in the palace, and name one of them the next King.
Sir Wilddin and his bride left our fair kingdom so that others could find freedom.
In the end, Penguin got the crown, and Wilddin got the girl. Arbol and he departed shortly after, traveling over many kingdoms, leaving a trail of ruin behind.
They represent our kingdom with grace and pride, peace following astride.
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I am a young, unpublished writer. I dabble in all forms of fiction and mostly free-verse poetry.
Labels: Rose Clements