“’Now I’ll tell the story of Young Hero
Sir Dalis, and of the time he beat
the One-Hundred Goblin Horde
with but One-Thousand Words.
Now Sir Dalis was a fair lad,
and he quested in Golden armour
for the Singing Golden Bough,
with his Golden sword.
In these travels he made, Young Hero Sir Dalis
had he many enemies–met he many friends.
And his exploits were sung all-over.
Though none as well, sung
as he himself would.
Yet as he went and his tales were told with him,
a stain of Goblins—of one-hundred in number–
heard of this man and all those tales
told. And–as Goblins–liking stories
they wished to hear of him.
From then, from every village that they would plunder
from them a story-teller would go missing
–whether either their good or they’re poor.
And each such missing teller would,
tell their tale of Dalis.
Still. None of these songs could match
the rhythms and the rhymings
they had held in their heads.
That had captured and tripped their tongues.
So, many tellers, disappointing in their tales
made very telling stew.
That is, until the day came to pass
when the Hundred Goblin Horde crossed paths
with–would you believe?
That very same Young Hero Sir Dalis!
Ah! They then thought. Here’s the man
who in telling, will tell the tale right!
Now, on other days they may not have been
But on this day, Sir Dalis
had not long but vowed a year
and one day.
Period. Of silence.
A sworn oath
the loyal Patriarch of Main;
A Province that he’d been loaned
in order to cheat
But unaware of these tidings,
—of the Hundred Horde kind–
had him soon surrounded
and Dalis, unsure of their desired prize,
stood against them, bravely,
as their chieftain approached.
‘Give us our story!’ Screamed the chief.
And Dalis, taken aback, could but look on
with a mute en-puzzlement.
They stayed held, like that, for a time.
a younger Goblin crept
~fully expecting wrath,
and whispered to his chieftain’s pointy-ear.
Then swiftly, embarrassment marched over him, our Hero Dalis’ menace
and he sidled up to our hero in encroaching treaty.
‘I apologise, I have become aware
I may not have made my self …quite as clear
… as I may have wished…’ He finished in a shy whisper.
Dalis stepped back and gestured his hands,
his smile clearly saying;
‘It can happen to us all.’
Then his face—in puzzlement again—enquired
to their query of him.
‘Now, Sir Dalis—if I may?’
This chieftain, whose name was Leopold, held his hands together
draped and nervous against himself.
Sir Dalis. He nodded.
Then with a huge fire-bellows sigh!
Leopold continued, ‘we have heard much
of your exploits’ —and bravely:
‘Dalis. And we would much like to hear of them,
as they were meant to be told!
As it were…’
So, with a band of Hundred Horde, swelling by his side, in
Sir Dalis was left with but one course of action.
He nodded his ascent.
Dalis thought to himself
as they moved up the Melancholy mountain of Marquaid,
that Hundred Horde
had hailed as their home.
‘How may I get out
of this one?’
Now Sir Dalis was a merry young man,
he played the game of excitement, well!
He had no recourse.
Most stories told of him, relied upon this plot point.
‘That merry man, Young Hero Sir Dalis, he stumbles in
to the troubles, merrily messes around–purely to add amusement
to his tales of course–
and rather than by whit of his Golden blade, there
more-often by wit of a silver tongue,
Young Hero Sir Dalis,
always he wins through.’
But now! What good he thought
a metal-minded tongue of any sort,
if he could not use it?
Of course, as an aside it must now be noted,
Dalis was without his famous Golden sword
and bereft his wondrous Golden armour.
One: his sword, he’d given to
his old friend and travelling-companion, that
Companion to Champions
Prince Spiritworth. Of the East. Who in a bid, to woo his way-ward betrothed
he’d hoped to pretend to be Dalis
and as such to wow her if not woo her.
So Dalis there, lazing with a lady
in his bet-won palace,
had come to know, knowing it was too late
that that lady by his side was that to-be-bride!
He’d learned… that, as the guards came bursting
through his door. But in his panicked flight
he’d still managed to leave his armour, kindly and gallantly,
for the Lady.
See? It would not do, for the men to have seen her unrobed.
Dalis hoped Spiritworth would take it in the good humour
Now, how he had come to escape that friend’s judgement,
he was too preoccupied, to recount.
So it was, as they came to their cave,
that Dalis still wondered;
‘How will I get out of this?’
The Hundred—and One—Horde filed into their abode.
It was a politeness then (and a prudence) that kept Dalis
quiet on their decor.
He was directed to a seat—back against the wall—and quite able to see out,
past the milling Goblins,
from the hungry cave mouth.
Patiently Sir Dalis sat, while these little
men made themselves comfortable amongst the loose rocks of the floor.
He sat while they settled.
He sat while they all waited.
And he sat as they became uncomfortable.
They sat, though they did not know it, whilst Dalis schemed.
He knew he needed time and presence to think,
The mass around him grew ever more impatient.
They wanted their story for the night.
And also how?
In his desperation, his old ailment then flared
and his head had began, slowly at first, to jerk side-to-side in ever minuscule movements.
Though he had not noticed himself begin it
he soon saw all those Goblins echoing,
and instead turning, his motions in their answer.
Each one nodding ‘yes’.
There in this darkened cave, Dalis thought he saw a vibrant crowd,
silent, trying to find their voices…
And he had it!
Dalis leapt up to his feet
—in Goblin startling grandeur! Then
throwing free his hands
began, with hastily thought out gesture,
of thumb and finger,
his arms, his feet
pointing, mouthing and other motions—begging
to suggest that first, they may each want
to tell him their story
each make full use of him—as a famous story-teller
(as he made sure to inform them he was)—
while he was there to stay.
They looked at him dumb
or as if wondering
whether, after all, he was dumb—and damnit
so he was.
Dalis hoped to the Heaven
he had long since been cheated of
—by his cruel fate; that, demon-driven destiny of his–and
that they’d ‘get’ it.
That they didn’t mind
* * * * *