The Charmer by Evenlight


A soldier hurrying to his King

Had his horse fall lame

And seeking help he was told

The charmer might give him aid

So he went into a dell of ferns

Where lay the charmer’s house

Knocked, and there he waited

Until an aged woman came out

He touched his badge in salute

And offered generous pay

But she said she could do nothing

And began to turn away

“You cannot, or will not?”

The soldier did then demand

“My King can surely pay your price”

Yet the woman shook her head

Now the soldier, impatient-fearful

Could scarce believe such stubbornness

He asked again, twice, thrice

Until the charmer need admit

“Sir I will not help you,

You can walk beside your beast

Years ago your king did scorn me

And now I ask you to take your leave”

The charmer shut and barred her door

So at last the soldier went away

Knowing his errand was now tardy

And wracked with worry over his fate

When he arrived his King commanded

The set punishment for delay

But the soldier begged for pardon

Saying the charmer made him late

“This old woman spoke against you

Sire, and I do believe the evenlight

Would show her soul base and leaden

A clutch of thorns proof of her spite”

Now the King’s expression altered

Arising from his throne

“If so, you cannot be faulted

“Let us go to this charmer’s home”

In a great company they set out

And soon came to the dell

They ringed the house and knocked

Until the charmer showed herself

Then the King called for the evenlight

And his servants brought it forth

Throwing it upon the charmer

As the King spoke fivefold words

So the light burst and subsided

And to them all revealed

The charmer dead in silver

Thornless flowers for her bier

The soldier never spoke of this

All the rest of his days

Whilst the King’s reign soon ended

And charmer’s house decayed

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