Gibbets and Crows

Black Bard Journal 3
Setting: very late at night in a small roadside tavern
Some hours earlier Roger and his young minstrel friend Claude heard a performance by a local bard called Bumsen Goodhand. They are only patrons left in the tavern.

“Roger, what did you think of Bumsen Goodhand?”

“Well… heez left hand eez obviously ze good one. But his songwriting impress me ze most. I trade ‘im one of mine for eez closing number. Eef I can learn ‘ow ‘e plays it.”

“That tune is getting popular, I’ve been hearing it all over, it’s very catchy. Roger, why do you play another bard’s tune, you have so many?”

“Well… nobody can know everything, zo I like to listen to stories I don’t know, maybe I learn someting new. Ze music world is a paradox, you know? Ze more you give away, ze more you ‘ave.”

“What do you mean? I don’t get it.”

“Well, take zis local bard, he’s a nobody. But ‘e come up wis someting good one time, everybody want to do ‘is song. Ze more he share, ze more people ‘ear ‘is song. He become popular maybe. Now ‘e ‘as more power to influence ze world. To make ze world a little brighter, make people feel someting. Zat eez what eez all about, no? Maybe ‘e become famous because everybody know ‘is song and zey feel ‘appy, uh?”

“He just gives away his song for other bards to play?”

“If zey are honest, zey give ‘im ze credit when zey perform. And I usually offer a song in exchange eef I want to play someone else’s tune, zo ‘e comes away wis someting.”

“How come you never traded songs with me?”

“Well, I don’t tink I can sing any of your songs, your vocal style eez… um, too advanced for me to follow. I cannot hit ze high note anymore…”

“Can I have one of your songs anyway?”

“Ha-ha-ha! Which one deed you ‘ave in mind, Claude?”

“I sort of like that new one you wrote this winter—‘Gibbets and Crows’. It’s cute! Wherever did you get the idea for such darkly humorous story?”

“Mm, well, zis winter was… ‘ow should one say…? A challenge.”

“I’m all ears, my good fellow! Do tell!”

“Well, since leaving Stragosa last winter, ze hunting game seem not so profitable, you know, an’ I find myself wis an opportunity to do some good for ze poor people living in the city. Zey need farm workers tout de suite. Zere eez a food shortage, ze poor are ‘ungry, an’ I see zere eez need for my assistance.”

“I didn’t know you were a Farmer!”

“Oh, I’m not.”


“Ze good man in charge tell me, uh, go study Farming from a book an’ zen you can staff ze dairy providing milk, cheese, curds, and whey to ze ‘ungry poor. I say yes.”

“Sounds like a lot of effort!”

“I never found out. Zere was a ‘orrible dark secret about zat dairy and zis enterprise… I will spare your tender ‘eart ze details. Suffice to say eet would curdle your blood to see what I saw.”

“Oh, dear! What did you do?”

“Zo I left zat ‘orrible place and went back to ze good man who wish to ‘elp ze poor, an’ I say, hey, I am ze Black Bard of Capacionne! I don’t ‘ave to put up wis zees kind of disgusting nonsense!”

“What did he say?”

“I explain what happen an’ he understand. Zo, I’m tinking I just go out into ze woods and live off ze land all winter, but he say, hey, I have anozer way you can help feed ze poor—staffing ze butcher shop behind ze prison, next to ze gallows. I still want to ‘elp, zo I say ‘fine’.”

“The butcher shop behind the prison, next to the gallows. THAT was less disgusting than the dairy?!”

“Oh, yes, most certainly.”

“But you’re cutting up meat and dealing with blood and customers! Right next to where they hang criminals! It sounds… absolutely ghastly!”

“No, eet ees important work to ‘elp ze poor, eet eez honorable and just. I know what I’m doing.”

Claude let out a horrified gasp.
“THAT’s where you wrote ‘Gibbets and Crows’?”


“In the butcher shop next to the gallows?”


“Well, if it’s all the same to you… will you let me do ’Behind the Farmer’s Daughter’ instead?”

Leave a Reply