Gather ’round and I will spin a tale…
I was sixteen and had lived a good long life, so I stood proud and tall, acting like it wasn’t my first time being hung.
Jacob, my lunatic cousin, wailed loudly, and Jabez, his brother, shut him up so as not to be a distraction I suppose.
The king’s men bound my wrists and cinched
that rope up tight around my neck and stood me on a stump.
The proceedings were simple.
They announced who I was, and why I was being hung and asked if anyone had anything to say about it.
My mom looked like she was gonna say something, but dad squeezed her arm.
Well, they turned to me and asked what my last words were.
Now, I hadn’t thought about that prior, so I quickly summarized my life.
“Ladies and Gentleman, Mom, Dad, the king’s men, and all else,”
“I was born angry, born again, split wood, killed a pequin, preached a sermon, stole a horse, and had my heart stolen by that fair-haired Ellie Mae, whom I would marry if I had more time here. That is all.”
With an admirable and well-practiced kick, the executioner kicked the tree stump right out from under my feet and there I was hanging.
It was a bit uncomfortable, and a little tough to breathe, but I gave them a show and started kicking and thrashing. That got a little boring and things got black and I saw spots.
That is until uncle Walter approached the platform pushing and shoving everyone and cut me down with the largest sword you ever did see.
I liked uncle Walter, but he had a way of getting attention to himself when others were making their debut and exit.
When I was born they named me after him, and when I was trying to die like a proper horse thief he had to interrupt.
I heard some clanging of metal and some yelling like someone got hurt. It sounded like a fight, but I wasn’t sure.
Uncle Walter was a bit stern in his speech.
“You see this sword?”
“It is the montonte gifted to Jeptha Berengar himself by King James Rainport for breaking the siege of La Longi so many years ago.”
“By the authority of the King of La Longi did my nephew ride the warhorse in question.”
“We, the Berengar, whom many of you call backwoods, have a holding alongside the royal court, and access to the King’s warhorses.”
“You have ignored me in the weeks you have held my nephew captive in Northwich Keep.
“Now, as necessary, I will speak to you with bloodshed.”
“Will any question the strength of my arm or this montante or are there any rebuttals as to the use of the King’s Horses?”
Those gathered were silent.
“Then we will gather our dead and be off.”