King Arthur

or...t’sword in t’stone

 

When Britain were only a notion

an’ various dukes ruled t’land

a King were proposed to rule o’er ‘em

an’to keep all o’ t’Saxons in ‘and.

 

Th’igh lords o’ Britons decided

to look for t’right knight to be king

as he’d ‘ave to be good wi’ sword an’ wi’ lance

a tournament seemed t’bi thing.

 

Well not many people will know this

but t’tourneys decided locale

were a flat bit o’ pasture near ‘oghton*

by Leeds - Liver-poo’ canal.

 

Word were sent out across t’country

o’ t’tourney, in order to bring

brave knights to do battle in t’contest,

t’winner o’ which would be t’king.

 

Knights turned up from all over

Northumbria, Mercia, Kent

Wessex, East Anglia, Essex

Caledonia, Lanky an’ Brent.

 

On arrival at t’field o’ t’joustin

All t’knights were required to report

to th’umpire in charge, one Richard de Byrd

a tyke, but not that bad a sort.

 

T’list o’ t’knight-errants were extraordinaire

Th’Who’s who, o’ t’chivalric code

Sirs Bedevere, Lancelot, Tristan an’ Kay,

up to t’gig on their warhorses rode.

 

Sir Gawain an’ Owain an’ Girflet turned up

Sir Perceval, Balan an’ Bors

Sir Geraint an’ Dinadan made it a dozen

Four more an’ they’d ‘ave t’first round draw

 

T’list were made up wi’ some locals

Lancashire lads through to t’bone

Sir Loin who’s dad ‘ad a boozer down t’road

Sir Clip, an ironmonger fray Colne.

 

T’vicious Sir Cull on ‘is night black steed,

a Wigan lad known to be brutal.

Were followed by t’final contender…

T’suspicious Sir Comestance from Bootle.

 

T’draw were set for t’followin’ day

In t’tent o’ Sir Dickie de Byrd.

t’Famous Sir Lancelot down as t’first seed

Kay t’second an’ Galahad t’third.

 

Th’odds, they were posted by Frederick Done

A maker of books from Knott Mill.

big money were goin’ on t’favourites

an’ side bets on “Lances” first kill.

 

T’First round were goin’ as expected

Wi’ Kay knockin’ Clip off ‘is ‘orse

Sir Comestance unseated wi’ Tristan

wi’ ‘is ‘elmet knocked off due to t’force.

 

Lancelot sin off Sir Bors in fine style

Splittin’ ‘is gorget in t’tussle

Geraint an’ Owain put on a good show

‘til Owain just edged it wi’ t’muscle.

 

Gawain beat Girflet as th’evenin’ came in

an’ doubts were expressed about t’light

Balan were routed wi’ Sir Galahad

an’ booed for not much of a fight.

 

Bedevere met Wigan’s finest, Sir Cull

as fav’rite to go in t’next round.

T’tiltin’ were even ‘til Cull split ‘is lance

an’ Bedevere dumped ‘im on t’ground.

 

Last bout were causin’ excitement

As local lad Loin took th’arena

‘is opponent sir Dinadan son o’ Sir Brunor

sat laughin’ like tickled hyena.

 

Sir Loin looked a bit of a tuttle

‘is greaves an’ ‘is ‘auberk were rusty

‘is shield were made up from ‘is fathers pub sign

but ‘is mace an’ ‘is lance looked quite trusty.

 

 He matched Dinadan twice at t’tiltin’

an’ when both were unseated at once,

took t’fight to th’opponent in th’and to ‘and combat

an’ cracked ‘im  wi’ t’mace on ‘is bonce

 

Sir Dinadan’s squire were t’drunken Sir Rhosis,

Who stood next to t’pitch shoutin’ “foul”

But after ‘is master ‘ad took some more thwacks

He give up, an’ chucked in ‘is towel.

 

T’locals were goin’ quite mental,

that Loin ‘ad disposed of ‘is foe

half were on t’pitch clappin’ t’lad on ‘is back

t’other ‘alf, off to Dones for their dough.

 

Early next mornin’ in t’tent o’ de Byrd

draw ‘ad bin med in advance

Loin were rewarded for t’giantkillin’ act

wi’ an’ ‘ome draw ‘gainst favourite “Lance”.

 

All t’clientele from ‘is dad’s boozer

Were there to cheer t’lad on

but this time th’outsider were bested

an’ chances o’ Lancashire gone.

 

Sir Kay toppled Owain in no time

Bedevere doin’ same to Gawain

Wi’ Galahad  puttin’ Sir Tristan to t’sword

Top seeds were in t’semi’s again.

 

Rest o’ day, were took up wi’ a side show

of ‘orseridin’ tricks by Sir Cuss.

A naxe jugglin’ act by th’electric Sir Kitt

an’ a used armour sale by Sir Pluss.

 

Wi’ th‘and to ‘and combat an’ tiltin’

Semis were more bold an’ darin’

but at th’end o’ t’day Lancelot stood

wi’ Sir Kay as t’final day pairin’.

 

Wi’ a day off before t'grand finale

Contestants took time an’ made most

Sir Kay ‘ad a picnic an’ fished on t’canal  

Lancelot ‘ad a ride out to t’coast.

 

 After rechargin’ their batt’ries

T’contenders were back in th‘arena

Kay were refreshed an’ feelin’ quite sharp

Lancelot couldn’t be keener.

 

It were time to gird up for t’final

an’ squires were polishin’ th’armour

Sir Lancelot’s armiger, Sir Comm sighs

“be strong an’ you’ll batter that farmer!”

 

Sir Kay ‘ad young Arthur Pendragon 

‘is adopted brother as squire.

He were glad to be able t’accomodate t’lad

matter o’fact he were cheaper to ’ire.

 

He told young Arthur again an’ again

When I’m king, I’ll make you my stew-ard

“You’ve made such a grand job o’ cleanin’ my kit

So come on, where’ve thee put my sew-ord?”

 

Lad said to Kay “I’ll just get it,

I’ve put it somewhere in t’pavilion”

he searched but he couldn’t locate it

an’ ‘is face turned a shade o’ vermillion.

 

“I can’t take to t’field wi’out it!”

said Sir Kay to ‘is startled young aide

“you’ll ‘ave to find out where you put it,

I ‘ve no time for t'bugger made!”

 

Arthur were rapt concentratin’,

T’location o’ blade to divine

Rememb’rin’ t’fishin’ trip down to t’canal

an’ cleanin’ as Kay cast ‘is line.

 

“I know where it is” Arthur shouted

an’ off to t’canal bank he shot

as fast as ‘is legs would propel ‘im

to ascertain Kay’s fishin’ spot.

 

A mist were abroad on t’water

makin’ t’sword ‘ard to discover

there were spots that looked ideal for fishin’

but he couldn’t tell one from another.

 

 Wi’ time runnin’ short for young Arthur

he were givin’ ’is ‘unt one last shout

when he saw a great boulder in th’edgerow

wi’ a gleamin’ new sword stickin’ out.

 

He couldn’t believe that he’d fon it

but as nobody else were about

he strode o’er to t’sword graspin’ th’andle,

wi’ one swift tug pulled t’bugger out.

 

When arrivin’ at t’tent wi’ ‘is weapon

Kay’s father were there wi’ ‘is banner

t’venerable knight owd Sir Ector

who smiled an’ slipped Arthur a tanner.

 

Sir Kay were getting a sweat on

no sword an’ a duel to fight

“Art” give ‘im t’one that he’d pulled from yon stone

an’ Kays face lit up wi’ delight.

 

“’ang’st on” interjected sir Ector.

“From whence didst thou dis-cover that?”

young Arthur looked at ‘im quite puzzled

said Sir Kay “Dad, don’t talk like a prat!”

 

“I’m sorry but question still stands” uttered Dad

“that broadsword is o' th’ighest calibre!

It resembles th’old sword of kingship,

otherwise known as Excalibur!”

 

“Where did you get it please show me,

we need to be certain of this”

“It were stuck in a boulder on t’far side o’ t’cut

stammered Arthur “ I’m not takin’ p**s?”

 

“Come Kay, we must go to this boulder,

there’s somethin’ I need you to prove

Arthur can find t’rock an’ stick t’sword back in

which you try your best to remove”

 

t’lad put back t’sword where he’d got it

but Sir Kay couldn’t move it an inch

even sir Ector ‘issel’ ‘ad a tug

but none made Excalibur flinch.

 

 Sir Kay gathered all o’ contestants

who’d fought for t’right to be t’king

each ‘ad ‘is turn to draw t’sword from t’stone

but no one could shift t’bloody thing.

 

Arthur stepped up, at Sir Ector’s behest

an’ drew t’blade from t’boulder wi’ ease

“all behold the true king of Britain!” said Ector

an’ everyone fell to their knees.

 

Sword ‘ad bin put there by magic

Held in that stone by a spell

of Merlin, t’royal enchanter

who were famous in clubland as well.

 

Arthur were crowned “King o’ Britons”

In an age o’ brave knights an’ o’ glory

He built a grand table for t’lads to sit round

But that friend is a nother story.

 

*Hoghton-betwixt Blackburn and Preston