Marya's assorted writings

Being bits and pieces that she'd rather not lose track of, gathered from various notebooks, scraps of paper, and records of events in the past.

The song of wandering Marya

So there she was at a treasure hunt in an orchard, after days and days of making state points, missing her boyfriend who's gone off on a bird-watching trip.

Though I am bored with wandering 
Through finance offices and halls, 
I will find out where he has gone 
Oe'r moorland where the lapwing calls 
And walk among long dappled grass, 
And pluck till time and times are done 
The silver apples of the moon, 
The golden apples of the sun.

McGonagall the Barred on Haggis

"Ma friend Rabbie had written a po-em to the Haggis, but he didna' ken aboot the pea soup, an' he used language not fitting for a fair southern lady. I shall improve upon his words for ye..."

He stares into the distance for a moment, then clears his throat.

Delicious Haggis, eaten through the ages 
Great chieftain of all sausages 
Above all other meat you take your place 
Stomach, tripe or guts, even flavoured with mace 
Well are you worthy of a poem from me 
Especially when eaten with a pea.

(The original may be found here)

A little Triad written for the Winter Festival

The Three Great Risings of Lancaster Feast:
The bread before baking
The crowd to greet their Duchess
Drunkard, from the tavern floor
But the Sun at its rising will be greater than the three

The Lancaster Tales Edit

A very long poem describing the travels of a group doing a pub-crawl around Lancashire.

Part 1, written for the Winter Festival:

When that December with his cold so sore
November's fogs hath frozen to the core
And bathed every vein in such licour
Of which virtue engendered is the flower
When Boreus with his icy breath
Inspired hath in every holt and heath
The bare branches; and the old sun
From the Archer to the Goat hath run
And smalle beasts make nut trees bare
That sleepen all the winter in their lair
Like drowsy bears in their caverns
Then longe folke to go to taverns
And drinkers for to seek strange brands
To try their luck in sundry lands
And specially, from every shires' end
Of Engleand, to Lancaster they wend
The corn, and bread and meat for to seek
That them hath holpen, when that they were weak.

The Four Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolves Edit

Written for the Kendal Spring Fling short story competition, March 1457

This is a tale my mother told me. Or, possibly, several tales my mother told me..... (*)

Once upon a time, in a county not all that far away, there lived four little pigs. Not always the same four little pigs, because every now and then someone would come along with a knife, and one of the pigs would suddenly shrink and lose its memory, but four little pigs. (Actually, they weren't always little.... but I digress).

Back when they were very small, living with their mother in the Sheriff's barn, she had warned them that if they went to market, they should be careful on the roads, and careful of which direction they went, because if they got it wrong, they would cry "weee, weee, wee" all the way home. Assuming they made it home...

If they went too far north, they might find themselves in vegetable patches belonging to the McGregors, and end up in a pie. This didn't sound like fun at all, since none of them liked gravy. If they went too far south, they had to beware of the Big Bad Wolves. East and West didn't seem to be options. So mostly they just stayed home, or visited nearby towns.

One day, there were some strange people in town. Big, hairy people. The little pigs met them in the tavern, and made rather rude comments about their personal appearance. "My, what big ears you have!" they said. "All the better to hear the gossip in the taverns," said the strange hairy people. And when they had heard the gossip, (because despite being rude, the little pigs were friendly and chatty), they went to the Town Hall. "We'll huff, and we'll puff, and we'll capture your town!" they said. They must have been Wolves! The little pigs weren't too sure what to do about this, but it was a fruit town, so they threw apples at them. The Wolves just laughed, and ate the apples. When the little pigs woke up in the morning, they had a new Mayor, and very high taxes, so they decided it was time to travel.

They lived happily in the next town they came to, until one day there were strange people in the taverns again. This time they were wearing hats, so the little pigs couldn't see how big their ears were, but they suspected they might be Wolves. "My, what big eyes you have!" said the little pigs. "All the better to read the town listings," said the strangers. And when they had read the lists, and seen that there weren't any militia or marshals, they went to the Town Hall. "We'll huff, and we'll puff, and we'll capture your town!" they said. Yes! Wolves again! This was a fishing town, so the little pigs threw fish at them. The Wolves just laughed, and ate the fish. When the little pigs woke up in the morning, they had a new Mayor, and very high taxes, so they decided it was time to travel again.

The next town they came to was a wood town. They lived happily there, secure in the knowledge that wolves in stories are always defeated by woodcutters, until one day there were strange people in the taverns again! Wearing helmets, so you couldn't see eyes or ears, but the little pigs had their suspicions. "My, what big teeth you have!" they rudely remarked. "All the better to eat all the meat from your market," said the Wolves. When they'd done that, and made themselves very strong, they went to the Town Hall. "We'll huff, and we'll puff, and we'll capture your town!" they said. This being a wood town, the little pigs rather hoped the woodcutters would turn out to be handsome princes in disguise, but it was not to be. They woke up in the morning to find a new Mayor, and very high taxes, so they decided it was time to travel again.

But they'd run out of towns! Any further north, and they'd be risking the perils of the McGregor's gardens.

"You know," said the first little pig, "we never did try throwing wood at the Wolves."

"Maybe if we sharpened it first?" said the second little pig.

"And if we ate meat, so we were strong too?" said the third little pig.

They considered that for a moment. "Beef, all right?" said the fourth little pig. "Not bacon. That's just.... wrong."

So the four little pigs ate well, armed themselves, and went forth to battle the Wolves. This time, they were cunning. They sneaked into the taverns to listen to what the Wolves were planning, and wore sheepskins so the Wolves would think they were just sheep, not a deadly porcine fighting force. They passed the word to everyone else they drank with to meet at the Town Hall that night. And the next morning.... they had a new mayor, and much lower taxes!

The Wolves ran away, and were never seen again. And the four little pigs lived happily ever after - or at least, for another ten days.

(*) There may possibly be a prize for anyone who can spot all the various folk tales, nursery rhymes, and so on, that crept in here.

Kendal Spring Fling Poetry Slam, March 1457 Edit

This is from one of Marya's "associates", McGonagall the Barred, rather than her own composition

A very big man shoulders his way through the crowd, preceded by a very big, bushy beard. His shirt is clean, but the hairy calves that protrude from beneath a worn kilt are less so.

"Be this the place where some wee lassie asked for a po-em? A po-em about feeling slightly enraged about your tweet? A wee birdie told the tale, an' I have jus' the thing for ye."

The steps up onto the stage creak slightly under his weight. "This is no' by mesel', ye ken. " He's holding a piece of paper with surprising delicacy between two massive, sausage-like fingers. "Willie McGonagall am I, Bard of the North. My own po-ems - ach, another time, maybe. Ye will ha' haird a' them, nai doot. This be by ma friend Rabbie, an' he may ha' had a dram or two too many. He is aye fond o' a wee dram, ye ken."

He holds the paper up, throws his head back to peer down his nose at it. The beard obscures it slightly from his view, but he reads undeterred.

"Sometimes to write I lack the will 
When from the bottle ink doth spill 
The box yields but a broken quill 
My thought I lose 
Sich mundane tasks my mind must fill 
This foils the Muse 

So when a salesman, keen and bright 
Accosts me on a Friday night 
And wishes me to see the light 
Of his new tool 
The ale is guid: he may be right 
I am a fule. "

Willie stops here and nods. "Aye. He oft is." He clears his throat and continues:

"But what avail, to tell me how 
I should spell? I ken, I trow 
More words than this beast will allow 
T'would suit me fine 
If I should ne'er more see, I vow 
Red underline 

I'll throw the damn thing in the brook 
Ill health to him from whom I took 
This cursed device that wrecks each book ..."

Willie lowers the paper. "And there it breaks off, overcome by wrath. I know not what this Tweet may be, but Rabbie likes it not."

He puts the paper back into a remarkably hairy belt pouch, pulls out a bundle of small booklets. "Should you wish to hear ma ain po-ems, I will recite for any who wish it at the inn this eve. This wee booklet, for a verrai small fee, can be signed for ye..." He's lumbering down the steps, attempting to press his booklets on anyone unwise enough to remain within reach. "A terrible tale, there is in there, of a Disaster that struck when a bridge fell down. T'will be remembered for a verrai long time, indeed." For some reason, no-one seems inclined to buy books of Poetry today, and he wanders off in search of ale.

The Maypole Edit

Being an entry (the winning entry, even! though coming first out of one isn't hard) for the Folk dancing part of the English Arts Festival, 1457.

Here's the story

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