Ballad of The Knackered Mare…-Eric Syrdal

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Deidre’s the barmaid
at the Knackered Mare
with midday in her eyes
and midnight in her hair

She’s quick with a smile
and quicker with wit
and it’s said, once,
she carried a blade on her hip

Her father’s the owner
they call him Big George
and they say, before this,
he worked at the forge

A blacksmith by trade
he’d made many a sword
including the one
that hangs over the door

“Hubris” they call it
I know it sounds strange
but allow me to tell you
how it got that very name

It was grey rainy day
in the middle of December
those who were there
will always remember

A party of bandits
came down from the hills
and stopped by The Mare
in the search of some thrills

They kicked in the door
and brandished their blades
and each one of them
happily earned the name, Knave

They roughed up the patrons
and ravaged the place
and a sword’s heavy pummel
punched Big George in the face

They howled and they threatened
knocking George to the ground
until they were suddenly silenced
by the softest of sounds

Deidre had entered
from the kitchen nearby
and she stood in the doorway
catching each criminal’s eye

“What have we here?”
asked their leader
his voice black with intent
“There’s gold for the taking and also a wench?”

“There’s no need to take me”
Deidre said with a smile
“I’ll go with you plainly,
if you’ll grant me a trial”

The thief leader laughed
and his band did too
What could she ask
That he couldn’t do?

“I’ll fight you one-handed
With that blade by the door
If you best me
the gold and myself will be yours”

The brigand was silent
he reached for the sword
and he tossed it near Deidre
to land on the floor

“then take it”
he said,  sneering with pride
“And let’s do this quickly,
I’m eager to ride”

The barmaid stooped down
and plucked up the blade
and held it quite firmly
approaching the knave

He laughed deep and loudly,
her stature, demure
this fight would be over
very quickly, he’s sure

and it was over quickly
though not as he planned
the first thing he lost
was his blade, then his hand

then she took his head off
of his shoulders with ease
and it tumbled and rolled
to the other villains feet

This was enough
for the others to learn
and encouraged them to exit
and never return

Deidre returned “Hubris”
to the space above the door
and she helped her Dad up
from the dirty, cold floor

and it’s said to this day
when you visit The Mare
if you want laughter, be welcome
if trouble…..beware


Eric Syrdal is an independent poet/author. He’s an avid gamer and Sci-Fi enthusiast. He enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy literature and spends a great deal of his writing time focused in those genres. He is from New Orleans, Louisiana, where he lives with wife and two children.  You can read more Eric’s writing at My Sword and Shield….

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