How fare ye

by Martin Shone

“Hallo there!”

“How fare ye?”

“I would fare better if I weren’t so cold!”

“Come to mine and see there lies bed , fire and all manner of edibles.”

“You are most kind sir.”

“It is not kindness, sir.”

“If not kindness, then what?”

“Why it is plain. You are cold and hungry and I see also the rain is upon you.”

“True enough.”

“Then I am offering you my home. Not kindness.”

“I welcome it and thank you.”

“Enter, take off those wet clothes… have no worry sir we are men together. Remove your wet garments and I shall place them before the fire.”

“You are very…”

“Do not call me kind, Sir.”

“You are very… welcoming, Sir.”

“Good, you see I care not for your skin, for we are the same you and I. Now go to the room there and fetch blankets and slippers.”

“You have a plentiful stock of cloth Sir.”

“Yes yes, take whatever feels the warmest for you and come sit here. I have food enough for the two of us.”

“Sir… your fire is most desirable.”

“Then see let’s fill our plates, and take ourselves to the fire.”

“Such a generous host, Sir.”

“Mind now, no more nonsense of such talk and mind the spits… watch now!”

“’tis a very lively fire indeed, Sir.”

“Would you care for ale or wine?”

“Oh you shower me.”

“No no nothing of the sort. I am thirsty after this meal and I am taking the ale, what say you?”

“If it pleases you, Sir, then I shall take the ale too.”

“Excellent, and once that barrel has emptied we shall attack those bottles there.”

“Sir, I am not accustomed to such hearty meals and such rich drink.”

“Fear not my friend, I can call you friend?”

“Why of course yes!”

“Good, then fear not friend. We shall finish the ale, eat more and hence clear the table to make way for the wine.”

“It is good ale, Sir.”

“The best!”

“To you, Sir, my host.”

“To you, Sir, my friend.”

“To us!”

“To us!”

“Mind the spits, your fire is very lively indeed tonight”

“A good fire…”

“A good fire…”

“More wine, friend?”

“Wine… I am indeed full… my head wants sing… What say you!”

“A song, yes!”

“Ohhhhhh the roads are long
and the rain comes strong…”

“Hey ho so glad it’s not snow! Ha!”

“Ohhhhh the cows are hiding
and the duck are smiling…”

“Hey ho so glad it’s not snow! Ha!”

“Ohhhhh…..”

“So glad it’s not snow, ha haa!

“Ohhhhhh… Shir I musht resht my head upon thish bedtshc……”

“Rest well my friend, rest well.”

“Grughgh zizzzz grughgh zizzzz grughgh…..”

“Ha you sound like a drunken ass, Ha! Rest well for tomorrow you wake alone. For tomorrow I shall be gone and all this shall be yours my friend.”

And so it was, he woke alone and saw upon the table a note.

“Sir this house is yours now
I am an old man, older than you think
older than you can imagine.

Keep the fire burning
do not let it go out
for if you do
you shall surely be haunted
by more than this friendly ghost.

Your friend

J.

Keep the fire burning!”

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