Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Bard.

All activity stopped when he strode into the village. The blacksmith put down his hammer and wiped his sooty hands, shaking his head. The greengrocer ceased his harangue long enough to eye the outlandish visitor, and the priest interrupted his duties long enough to pray. The prostitutes hanging out the upper windows of the taverns and pubs sized up the advancing figure favorably, and began cat-calling, begging for his company or the mention of their name in a song. More respectable young ladies blushed and smiled if he turned his charming glance their way.

All down High Street heads turned and eyes appraised the flamboyant costume. His boots, striding with purpose, were well-worn travellers' clogs - hard-soled, supple, the stains of the muddy road blending well with the brown leather. They were the kind of boots that the locals called "puddle-catchers;" folded down at the top so that any splash was caught, thereby keeping the breeches unsoiled. His breeches were unsoiled indeed, and as bright yellow as the midday sun. A sword belt hung low on his hips, the thin blade easily within his reach. He wore a deep purple tunic over a flowing white shirt, gathered at the wrists to allow his hands free play at whatever pursuit they chose. A simple grey cloak fell over his shoulders, strikingly plain in contrast to rest of him. Folk wondered at this, then winked and nodded knowingly at each other as they realized that the cloak's lack of stains indicated some hidden magic. This entire ensemble was topped by the most ridiculous hat the stunned villagers had ever seen - bright green, broad-brimmed, with an enormous white feather stuck into the band.

Oblivious to the stares yet craving the attention, this adventurer reached the town square and mounted the steps of the crier's rostrum. The villagers gathered around, repulsed by the apparition, yet unable to resist his charisma. The anticipation waxed as he slung the polished mandolin from his back and dexterously tuned it, strumming a few nonsensical notes to warm his fingers. Grinning widely, he turned to the gathered crowd and began a low melody,

"Come one, come all by field and dell

from flag and fen, march and wall,

Young and old, lads and lasses all-

I've a tale to tell..."

© Copyright Jezla 2007

No comments: