THE BALLAD OF HONEST JIM

 

In a valley by the mountainside where wild begonias grow

Lived a wise and ancient gentleman whose beard was white as snow.

His home was filled with gems and jewels,

     and books from foreign lands,

And he raised a lovely daughter with his firm, yet gentle hands.

 

The village by the mountainside was peaceful and serene.

Its houses all were lovely, and its waterways were clean.

The townsfolk knew contentment

     as they watched their cows and sheep,

Till terror struck the town one day, brought there by...

     Snog the Creep!

 

Now, Snog was this huge ogre from a hole up on the hill.

I don't think he ever took a bath; I doubt he ever will.

No shoes would fit him, so he wore two rowboats on his feet,

And begonias and people were two things he liked to eat.

 

In the village by the mountain lived a lad named Honest Jim.

He loved the old man's daughter.  She was very fond of him.

He was staying on the mountain when big Snog came into town,

Helping Laura and her father pick up firewood from the ground.

 

When Snog ate his first begonia the old man began to frown,

For he owned a telescope with which he gazed upon the town.

As he gazed across the valley his unsmiling face grew grim,

So he gathered up his treasures and he called for Honest Jim.

 

"My lad," he told the trembling boy, "I'll give you all my land,"

And, if you slay this monster, I'll bequeath my daughter's hand!

To aid you here's a sword, a shield, an arrow, and a ring,

And I thank you for accepting," though Jim hadn't said a thing.

 

The old man made a gesture and poor Jim stood on a field,

With the ring inside his pocket,

     holding arrow, sword, and shield,

And not twenty feet in front of him, devouring half a sheep,

With foot-long teeth, and moldy breath,

     was standing Snog the Creep.

 

Jim put the sword upon his finger and the arrow on his head.

He threw the shield at Snog and then rolled over, playing dead.

Snog laughed and laughed until he howled,

     and howled until he cried,

And cried until he choked, and then he choked until he died.

 

The grateful townmen scurried putting Snog ten feet below,

And above his blasted carcass now the wild begonias grow.

Of the mountain and the valley now our Honest Jim is King,

And, regarding lovely Laura, that is how he used the ring.