The Bard

"Gather round, boys and girls, I have a tale to tell,
Of fools and kings and other things we all know very well.
It begins, as most tales do, in the distant past.
Or maybe it was actually the week before the last?

Either way, the story lives, and breathes, and thrives;
A battle of importance that forever changed our lives.
I speak not of the Fields of Lee, nor the Cliffside Port,
The setting for this epic tale is in a noble's court.

There happened by a jester, a trav'ling fool, a clown,
But one of impressive skill and wit; he wore the jester crown.
He went to see the king that day, to try to make him laugh,
Til chortles shook his robes, and giggles shook his staff.

The fool his name was Calcus, a pixie in disguise.
Once a noble fae, now he wears a cloak of lies.
Though he is a joker, his jokes are the real jest;
He merely says what comes to mind, to get it off his chest.

Still, he is a wise fae, and sees the world right clear,
It simply is that what he sees brings laughter to the ear.
And laughter is a living, it brings the coin to purse,
Why turn down the lead in a play you never need rehearse?

Calcus he did see the king, and entertained him for the night,
And so it was that his rival did then come into the fight.
You see, the king, he had already a jester of his own;
The royal fool, the regular, the clown beside the throne.

Another mind with boundless wit, another man with skill,
A jester of the scary sort, one even known to kill!
This fool was not the type to stand and idly stare;
He challenged the new talent, to get him out of there!

Calcus could not say no, it was just the way he was.
He accepted, the word spread, the people were abuzz;
They had a spectacle on their hands, the citizens sure did!
Who would win the witty fight? They ran to bet and bid.

Then came the fated morning, twas at the crack of nine.
Royal Fool smugly smiled and said, "Victory is mine!"
Calcus seemed to care much less, though he did smile too.
"I'm glad to have the pleasure, sir, of duelin' with you."

They battled all the long day through, the crowd they laughed and cheered.
Both fought so well their sides were split, nothing said was jeered.
The fool drew breath, but not to joke, said, "Let us up the ante;
The loser will be banished, and must leave for a far off shanty."

Calcus simply nodded at this, 'twas obvious he did agree.
The king then made it official, by way of a royal decree.
The stakes were high as each of them prepared their final blow,
The crowd was hushed, no one could guess which way this thing would go.

The last lines were then delivered, one directly following the other,
And not a sound was heard within the crowd from man, or child, or mother.
A chuckle broke the silence, then they burst into laughter and tears.
Twenty minutes passed without a break, would the laughing last for years?

But finally the king did sigh and wipe a away a tear to say,
"Clearly we have in front of us the funniest this day.
We could never pick just one to win the only prize,
When we have two equals in wit in front of our own eyes."

"But still," he said quite gravely, "a decree is set in stone,
And one of these fine fools must be from here thrown.
Both cannot remain here, and we can't pick one to stay,
So it seems that both of them must forever go away."

The crowd was sad to hear this, but they all knew it to be true.
They left feeling decisive perhaps, but also very blue.
And both the witty warriors shrugged and left the place,
For they had both won that day; each had a smiling face.

They went their separate ways from there, the former jesting foes.
Suddenly fast friends they were, that's just how this life goes.
Now they travel to faraway kingdoms, telling the tale of their fight,
And each now vouches for the other and his comedic might.

You may not believe me, may think I'm simply mad.
"Such an epic battle could never have been had!"
But I really must ask you now not to cause a fuss,
For I'm the royal fool who thought to oust Calcus!"

The children's rapt attention was soon lost when the bard in the colourful clothes claimed to be one of the heroes of humour from the tale. There was simply no way a simple traveling musician could be one of the very characters he sung about in his ballad.

"I bet every bard claims to be the royal jester," said one young girl, shooting the bard a dirty look.

The bard simply shrugged and sat up from his cross-legged position, collecting the coin he had made during his recounting of the tale. They never did believe him, but that didn't make his job any less lucrative. He smiled his crooked smile as he walked down the street, leaving for wherever the wind would take him.

One day, Calcus, we'll duel again, and then we'll truly know who is the best jester.

The End

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