But soon the gossips’ tongues began to wag,
Till finally an interfering hag
Named Tabitha knocked smugly on the door
Of Gothel’s home, and quod, “Your girl’s a whore
Who preys upon those landed, gentile folk
Who’ll part with gold or silver for a poke.
A lack of parent counselling’s to blame
And brings upon your clan eternal shame.”
Such accusations mortified and shocked
Rapunzel’s mum who took a swing and clocked
Her nosy neighbour squarely in the eye.
Quod Gothel, “Lest my fist again should fly,
Inform me where Rapunzel doth reside,
Or I’ll assume through spitefulness you’ve lied.
And if my girl’s unsullied as the snow,
No constable shall spare you from a blow
Upon your jutting, stubble-stippled chin,
For wilful allegation is a sin
Consigning false accusers to the fire
Of Satan’s ever-burning sulph’rous pyre.”
Reluctantly the tittle-tattling sow,
To Gothel’s violent threats was forced to bow.
So to the Reeve’s abode she led the way,
Where in his barnyard, rolling in the hay,
They found the wayward girl beneath the Reeve.
Quod Gothel, “Sir, before your lunges thieve
My daughter’s blessed gift I urge you pause,
Or else your earthly sojourn’s end I’ll cause.”
Thus interrupted ere he’d hit his mark,
Extinguished was the Reeve’s lascivious spark.
So, stuck for words and in the buff he fled,
Afeared at Gothel’s hands he’d wind up dead,
Whilst Tabitha made good her own escape
And left the fuming dame alone to gape
Upon her daughter’s nakedness and shame.
“Oh wretched girl,” quod she, “I’ll hear no claim
Of force or through coercion being bound.
For I espied how willingly you ground
Your pelvis ’gainst the Reeve’s empurpled pole,
Whilst eagerly he strove to find his goal.”
Extract from The Monk's Second Tale:
Incredulously, Robin viewed the monk
And wondered if perchance the man was drunk.
“You’ve sought and now discovered me,” he said.
“Yet seemingly within your mind you’ve bred
Some fantasies which urged you root me out,
So tell me what this story’s all about.”
Ere Friar Tuck could tell his baffling news
A man came blund’ring through a stand of yews.
Not clad in Lincoln green like Robin’s men,
But in the Sheriff’s livery, and then,
With fevered eye and chomping jaws assailed
The outlaw Will, whose arms like windmills flailed
In vain to stop this unprovoked attack.
The soldier’s teeth bit deeply in the back
Of Scarlet’s neck, and ripped away some flesh.
He chewed as if the morsel were a fresh
And juicy piece of venison or steak,
Then on Will’s spurting blood he strove to slake
His appetite and satisfy his thirst.
To Scarlet’s rescue, Robin was the first.
And though the interloper took a knife
Between the ribs it didn’t end the life
Of this infernal denizen from Hell.
But finally the vicious monster fell
When Friar Tuck pulled back his cloak and drew
A sword with which the evil beast he slew.
“A stabbing’s not enough!” the Friar said,
And with one blow cut off the creature’s head.
As Will bled out and gasped, and breathed his last
The Sherwood men stood silent and aghast,
Their shocked expressions filled with disbelief
That men could treat their kin as chunks of beef
Like meat to fuel the body and sustain
That force of Life ingested foods maintain.
Then suddenly the corpse of Scarlet stirred
As if his limbs and torso hadn’t heard
About his premature and brutal end.
But whilst her porkers snuffled round the roots
Of fruit-denuded oaks, the haunting hoots
Of early-risen owls infused the air,
Instilling fear and causing downy hair
Upon the damsel’s grime-encrusted nape
To prickle. Thinking this a childish jape,
Quod Annabel, “Who makes these spooky sounds?
Expose yourselves, you yellow-bellied hounds!”
The owlish cries continued though, until
With suddenness the atmosphere was still.
And while her pigs explored the fallen leaves
Upon the ground, a voice called down, “Who thieves
The acorns from my chilly woodland floor?”
“Forgive me!” pleaded Annabel, “I’m poor!
And merely seek to fatten up my sows!”
Then swooping down between the naked boughs,
A witch appeared astride a broom that flew.
Her face was of a sickly, greenish hue,
Whilst nestled on her bulbous, twisted nose
There stood a skin-pink wart from which arose
A score of bristling hairs as black as night.
Beneath her crooked hat her hair was white
And draped across her wrinkled, ancient shape
She wore a flowing, scarifying cape.
But oddest still, upon her shoulder sat
A glossy-pelted, evil-grinning cat.
Quod Zelga, “Come with me as there is room
For two aboard my aerobatic broom.”
With these grim words she grabbed the luckless girl
Around the waist and thus contrived to hurl
The struggling lass across her airborne pole.
Excerpt from The Haberdasher's Second Tale:
King John of Ghent had lost his sense of fun;
No joke, nor jest, nor smartly-worded pun
Could lift the monarch’s melancholic mood.
Queen Isadore procured the finest food
To raise her husband’s spirits lest he lose
The will to live, then plied the king with booze -
With vintage wine and seasoned Spanish port.
Yet all her ministrations came to nought.
Thus Isadore, in anguish and despair,
Devised a ruse to help her husband wear
Once more upon his troubled face a smile -
A ploy to test her canniness and guile.
Unto the kingdom’s Treasurer she went,
And quod, “’Tis time we made a modest dent
Upon the royal coffers that will lure
From far afield a skilful act to cure
Our sovereign’s grim affliction lest he drown
In mournfulness and Death should snatch the crown.”