Ernst Takes a Student

In 2005, I became a student of “Da Coach,” Master Ernst Nuss von Kitzingen. Ernst is a great guy, and I decided to write this poem as a gift to him for accepting me into the household. I am pleased to say that almost none of the events in this poem are true. Though I don’t get to perform it very much, it’s still one of my favourite pieces.

Ernst Takes a Student
by Katherine Ashewode, “The Pocket Bard”
March 2005

There was once a master and Ernst was his name,
who thought that his work was too mean,
So he got him a student to tend to the house,
to sew and to cook and to clean.
The girl’s name was Kate and she had a good heart,
she wanted to please him, you see.
So he left her some chores and he waved her goodbye
and he said that he’d be back for tea.

Kate pondered a minute and thought to herself,
“I’ll make him a wonderful stew!”
But the writing was strange on the pots and the jars;
she just didn’t know what to do.
She poured and she measured, she didn’t know what,
she mixed up the sugar and salt,
And if in the end it tasted of suds…
well surely that wasn’t her fault!

She looked down again at her list and it said,
“mend me the tear in my shirt,”
And so with a needle and thread in her hand,
she quickly proceeded to work.
“There’s so much to fix,” said the girl with a sigh,
and snip snicker-snack went her shears,
And when she was finished the shirt had three arms,
and a cute little pair of cat ears.

“Gather the firewood,” then said the list,
so skipping she went to the wood.
She hefted a log but her arms were too weak,
she tried but it just was no good.
“I’ll carry the small ones,” she thought with a grin,
“and that will be fine for the fire.”
She took in an bushel of twigs to the hearth,
and stopped ’cause her arms were too tired.

Just one more thing left to do on the list,
“tidy the study upstairs,”
And so up with a bucket and mop in her hands,
she scrubbed and she washed everywhere.
The result was disaster, the windows had streaks,
the carpet was soggy and wet.
She’d even been able to dampen the desk
the papers were not at their best.

Well Ernst arrived home and he sampled the stew,
he spat it out onto the plate.
“It’s nothing,” he told her, and put on his shirt,
the extra arm hung to his waist.
“No matter,” he said, and he went to the fire,
the twigs had all sputtered quite out.
“Now this is too much!” he said in the den,
waving soggy wet papers about.

Poor Kate was forlorn, “I’m sorry!” she cried,
“I thought I was doing it right.”
The master’s heart melted, his anger was gone,
he couldn’t stay mad at her plight.
“I’ll teach you to do it tomorrow,” he said,
“everything right from the first,
And you’ll do it better in time, you will see…
it certainly couldn’t be worse!”


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