>> Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Were days that long, was grass so green,/In seasons of youthful desire,/Roaming o'er seas of aquamarine,/Where westering suns drown in fire?/'Cross mountain, forest and river,/I'd wander, carefree and bold,/Never heeding the days to come,/When I'd wake up, slow and old./Oh, how the silent summer noon,/Warms dusty memories,/In an orchard, midst my dreams,/'Neath verdant, shadeful trees./Come visit me, you little ones,/Hear stories, songs, and rhymes,/A roving warrior's saga,/Of far-gone golden times.
"Dibbuns Against Bedtime, that's wot Dab means."
"Haharr, me old mateys, welcome aboard the Stopdog!" Sagax looked at him questioningly. "The Stopdog?" Kroova winked and gave him a rougish grin. "Aye, that's the last thing I 'eard those searats hollerin' after me. 'Stop, dog!' So that's wot I called 'er, the Stopdog!"
"Summer summer summer sun,/Can't catch me 'cos off I'll run,/I'll dash into the stawb'rry patch/An' every one I see I'll snatch./Gobble it up, right down the hatch,/A fine tummyache I'll catch, I'll catch,/ A fine tummyache I'll catch!"
"Poor blighters. Fancy perishin' from lack of tuck and a measly drop t'drink. Good grief, it boggles the blinkin' imagination, wot. I'd jolly well die before I'd let that happen t'me!"
"Stan' aside an' give way, soldier rat. Where a Freebooter goes, 'is weapons go too!"
"Oh, say something, Malbun, say something. Don't leave me alone here like this!"
"My old ma will be standin' at the cottage door with a jolly brave smile on her face, hidin' the blinkin' tears, I know she will. Boohoohoo!" Sagax sat up, sniffing and wiping at his eyes. "Waahahaaa! But you don't live in a dear old cottage, you live in a whacking great mountain, just like me. Waahaaah!" The hare used his long ears to mop at his eyes. "Jolly nice thought, though, ain't it. Boohoohoo!"
Welfo took the food without even glancing at the spoon as it was brought to her mouth; her eyes were fixed on Urtica. The young hedgehog sat staring silently back at her, the flowers still clutched in his paw. The visitors stood in silence for what seemed like an age, as both Welfo and Urtica seemed unaware of their presence. Shogg interrupted, asking and answering his own questions. "Ahoy there, Welfo me ole mate, 'ow are ye?" "Oh, Shogg, I'm fine, I'm much better, thank you!" "Ho, that's nice, now git yoreself well, missie, an' eat lots o' good vittles." "Oh, I will. Thank you for coming to see me!" "Aye, an' thank ye for chattin' t'me, mate. Nice talkin' t'ye!"
"Way haul away! Way haul away!"
"I wish I could stay and pay her back for murdering poor old Drufo. I'd give her the same chance she gave him. None!"
"Righty ho, rabbit, we'll let you'n yore mates live, but you'd better 'ope yore rich pappas an' mammas stump up plenty, or ye'll be fed to the sharks, one at a time. D'ye unnerstand?" scarum shook his head in mock admiration of the Freebooter. "I say, sir, you're a born genius, what jolly clever thinkin'. I'd shake your paw heartily if I weren't tied up at the moment!"
"Go on, then, h'eddicated rabbit, sing us a ditty." Scarum bobbed his ears politely. "These ropes are pretty tight." The silver fox raised his axe meaningly. "Never mind tellin' us the name o' the ditty, just sing it!"
"Ole fools, brave perilous fools, why did ye try it?"
Fear and hate suffused the hamster's face. "That's the pawring of King Sarengo. I've seen it many a time, aye, an' wearin' it. See that scar over my left eye? Those black stones did that. Sarengo just laughed when 'e saw me lyin' on the floor with blood runnin' down me face. Oh, I've seen it before, mate, believe me!"
Kurda pushed by him and slew a shrew with a sabre thrust. "See, dey die, same as any odder beast. You turn back an' I slay you, too."
"You do know the way to a chap's heart, miss, or is it his stomach? Same thing."
"Midday sun shines bright for you,/Twixt leaning ash and poison gold,/Where the greenrock hidden lies,/For keen eyes to behold."
Triss wiped her eyes with the back of a paw. "I've known Shogg ever since I can recall-we were slaves together. First I lost my father, then Drufo, and now Shogg, the best friend I ever had, is gone. Stay away from me, Sagax, I'm bad luck to know!"
Sturdy-lookin' bumpkins, big healthy hedgehog types. Spoke quite oddly, I can tell you. Theein' an' thouin' an thyin', bit of a rum do, wot?"
I can still recall the words he spoke then:Bend your back beneath the lash,/Straighten it and feel some more,/Sleep and wake, work and starve,/That is what a slave is for./Speak in whispers, never smile,/Serve the masters, bow your head./The only time a slave is free,/Is when that slave is dead.