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The Ballad of Fred the Mariner

When I heard that Fred was travelling north, I had a nightmare. A nightmare in which everything went wrong, normally helpful people were unhelpful and rude, the weather was appalling, and (it being a nightmare in ballad form) Everybody Dies. At least, I do hope this is nightmare, not prophecy?

It is a new-come load clerk
And he stoppeth one in three
“Unhand me, loathsome load clerk!
Wherefore stoppest thou me?
A bridegroom am I, five days hence
So I must travel soon
I have no time to list to rhyme
As uttered by a loon.”

“Our king has written a broad letter
And sealed it with his hand
And sent it to all of those who
Travel across this land.
The goods you carry must be weighed
By scientific art
And if I find you overlaid
You’ll have to buy a cart.”

“There are no carts, you moon-blind fool
Carpenters have no plans
This priceless gift must somehow shift
Into my loved one’s hands.”

The load clerk ‘s eyes with pound-signs glint
Grinning with manic glee
He holds him with his ink-stained hand
“Then buy a ship!” quoth he.

Fredregar sits in Liverpool town
Wishing the beer was wine
"O where shall I get a skeely skipper
To sail this new ship of mine?"

Then up and spake an weasel bold,
Sat drinking on the quay:
"Hilarion is the best sailor
That never sailed the sea."

The first line that Hilarion read,
A loud laugh laughed he;
The next line that Hilarion read,
The rage blinded his ee.

"O who is this has done this deed,
Told Fredregar of me,
That maritime speech I well can teach
At University?

“I will not sail through storm and gale
To Kirkoswald to go
Fred’s new bride can stay inside
Through wind or sleet or snow”

So Fred set sail: he ne’er did quail
At knowing nought of ships
He found a tavern there on board
And tested out the *hips*

As they set forth to travel north
From whence the wind did blow
No matter how they set the sail
The ship refused to go.

“Righto,” said Fred, and shook his head
“Let’s have another round
We’re getting nowhere, because, I swear
The ship has run aground”

He hadna drunk a cup, a cup,
A cup but barely three
When in the gale, the hulk did fail;
And made him spill his tea.

Yes, tea it was, for sad to tell
The worst a man could fear –
They’d been at sea so long, you see
The tavern had no beer!

Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink.
Water, water, everywhere;
No beer at all to drink.

By now the creaking of the planks
Was making quite a din
A sort of “glug”, just like a plug
Through which the sea came in

And many was the tapestry
That fluttered on the foam;
And many were the cloaks of fur
That never more came home.

Raederlea wrang her fingers white,
And fainted with despair,
All for the sake of her true love,
For him she'll see nae mair.

The sea so cold near Kirkoswald
T’is forty fathoms deep
And there lies Fred, on the sea-bed
His bride-gift at his feet

But then I woke; the cock hath spoke
My bedsheets are all torn
A sadder and a wiser lass
I rose the morrow morn


Think you recognise some of this?
http://sniff.numachi.com/pages/tiRITEFRED.html or even http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5XX9LX2es4


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