The Great Calontir / Ansteorra Shrieking Monkey Debacle

This poem tells the absolutely true story of events that took place two years earlier, at Pennsic 37 (2008). It is a tale as epic as it is silly, as cunning as it is convoluted. It needed to be remembered, and the Pocket Bard was on the job.

The Great Calontir / Ansteorra Shrieking Monkey Debacle
by Katherine Ashewode, “The Pocket Bard”
Pennsic 39 (2010)

There lived in Calontiri camp
A totem for the king:
A monkey, small and fuzzy-furred
That never ceased to sing

Isabeau of Calontir
The queen who served her land
Would hear the laughing monkey’s song
Wherever she would stand

It sang at dawn, it sang at noon
It sang in darkest night
And Isabeau would stop her ears
Till rise of morning light

But in the end her wits were frayed
And skin began to creep
When’ere the monkey raised its voice
And shrilly told her “eep!”

So Isabeau, she took to heal
To Ansteorran thrones
To ask her royal sister there
To end her constant groans

“Would you please take the royal beast
And keep it in your care?
A fosterling he’ll be to you
A ward beyond compare”

When Ebby, queen of southern lands
Observed her sister’s plight
She gladly said to Isabeau
She’d help set things aright

She took the monkey by the hand
To Isabeau’s relief
And home to Calontir she went
Free from care and grief

Ansteorra’s regal queen
Observed the furry beast
But as she stared, it told her “eep!”
Her lily forehead creased

She called an Ansteorran knight
Sir Corwin was his name
To take the monkey from her sight
Its singing for to tame

Sir Corwin passed it further yet
He gave it to his squire
Who monkey knowledge far surpassed
The knowledge of his sire

For Corwin’s lad had tended long
The royal monkey’s twin
Another singing, furry beast
Who raised unholy din

An Ansteorran fosterling,
Be it beast or man,
Is treated to the joys of life
To sample what it can

And so the Ansteorran squire
He took the monkey out
To drunken revels, dancing halls
Its innocence to flout

The squire and his fighting friends
Took pictures of the scene
And though to send them back along
To Calontiri queen

“But no!” the drunken fighters thought
“We can do better yet!
For Anton, King of Calontir
Will bow to southern threats

“King Anton’s coffers full and deep
And vast with riches be
If we should send a ransom note
Some gold of his we’ll see”

They sent a note to Calontir
These words upon it scribed:
“We have your monkey, Calon King,
And for the moment live

“We’ll send it back to you, O King,
If you should meet our terms
But if you don’t, your little friend
Will feed the crawling worms

“Send to us your finest beer
Bottled good and true
And also sweet banana fruit
Not one, but surely two”

They sent the note to Anton King
He read it, start to end
And saw the pictures there enclosed
Of furry royal friend

“They have my monkey!” cried the king
“Those Ansteorran brutes!
I’ll never cow to threats of force
Nor send them any loot!”

But worry for his singing friend
Set Calon king to fret
And in the end he bowed his head
He bowed to southern threat

Danr, smith of high renown,
Was working in his shop
When came a Calontiri man
A package for to drop

“Here’s your ransom,” sneered the man
“Now where’s the royal beast?”
Danr blinked and then he said
“I know not in the least”

For none had told the master smith
Of what had hence transpired
So Danr in his innocence
Was most unjustly mired

“Where’s the monkey?” cried the man
“I will not ask it twice!”
“I do not know!” the smith replied
“And do not want your price!”

The Calon man the ransom left
Upon Lord Danr’s bed
Then stepped outside the smithy shop
To watch with mounting dread

Whenever honest custom came
To sample Danr’s wares
The Calon man would quick return
And round the shop would stare

“Did that man take the ransom paid?”
The Calon man would ask
And Danr shook his head, annoyed,
And quick returned to task

As the sun set course to west
Danr’s students came
To study at the blacksmith’s hand
And greater learning claim

Among the students, Mary was,
Who’d been there oft before
She brought a crafted metal spoon
And navy kaftan wore

She held the metal spoon aloft
And feigned to ask for aid
But in a quiet voice she said
“Was the ransom paid?”

“You!” Lord Danr harsh accused
“Tell me what you’ve done!”
But Mary shushed him, darting eyes
To find the promised sum

Her eyes alighted on the bag
And tipped the contents out
The two banana fruits were there
But not the promised stout

Instead of good and hardy brew
Was liquor malted cheap
A note attached from Calon king
Nestled in the heap

“We will not send you goodly beer”
The Calon writing read
“For we believe my furry friend
His own abduction led”

Mary took the meagre fee
And ferreted away
Before she left, “We’re being watched”
The master smith did say

Mary nodded solemnly
And waited for her chance
Until a man had come to shop
At Danr’s smithing glance

When the man from shopping left
Mary took his side
And as before the Calon sneak
Entered through the wide

“Did that man take the ransom paid?”
The Calon asked once more
Before the smith could answer give
He set off through the door

The Calon boor accosted then
The innocent and meek
But when he saw the fault he made
The smith again he’d seek

He scowled at the master smith
Accused him, loud and shrill
But as he spoke, the bag tipped down
No contents there did spill

“Tell me who the ransom took!”
The Calontiri hurled
And Danr, all his recourse gone
Announced, “It was the girl”

The Calon from the shop escaped
And stared at all who passed
But no girl in a kaftan saw
And in his anger chaffed

For Mary had in hurry snuck
And quickly changed her dress
She now wore manly tights and coat
And blended in the press

Back in Ansteorran camp
The squires gathered round
To see the gifts that had been sent
From Calontiri crown

“Malted liquor!” cried the squires
“This is insult grave!”
They swore a deep and solemn oath
Their honour they would save

They looked upon Sir Corwin’s squire
With eyes that burned in wrath
“You must make a sacrifice
To aid us on our path”

They drank they malted liquor then
Although their throats did burn
As Corwin’s squire fetched the beast
He’d owned for many turns

With a prayer to Holy God
They plunged a sharpened knife
And yanked upon the shrieking box
That gave the monkey life

They placed the box within the can
The liquor once was there
‘Twas wrapped in purple silk most fine
With love and tender care

Derhilde, a girl of neighbour camp
Was lounging in her rest
Unknowing of the wicked plan
Within her neighbours’ breast

“Would you for us a message bring
To Calontiri throne?”
The girl agreed and ventured out
Not knowing what she owned

But when she came to Calontir
The lanterns all were dark
The King and Queen at dinner were
Not there to hear her hark

The only men in Calontir
Two squires and two knights
Refused to take the offered gift
She held within their sights

“Place it on the throne,” they said
“Where Anton sure will see”
She left it there and hied away
To Ansteorran glee

When Calontiri king returned
From dining with his queen
He spied a package on the throne
Where none before had been

He pulled upon the purple silk
And heard a mighty, “Eep!”
“My monkey’s dead!” the king exclaimed
And sobbed in honest grief

Queen Isabeau of Calontir
Ran quick to Ebby’s camp
“Do you have the monkey still?”
She panted, forehead damp

“If Anton’s monkey true is dead
Then war our lands will see
Even now he gathers arms
His generals agree”

“Be comforted,” Queen Ebby said
“King Anton’s monkey lives”
They hunted through Sir Corwin’s tent
The monkey for to give

But Anton’s monkey was not found
Amidst Sir Corwin’s things
Instead they found a fluffy sheep
With fluffy, downy rings

“Receive this sheep as noble pledge”
Queen Ebby fast announced
“Lest Anton and his fighting men
Upon our fellows pounce”

Isabeau to camp returned
The sheep to bosom clasped
When Anton saw the hostage held
His voice in laughter rasped

When Ansteorrans gathered all
To share the evening meal
They heard a mighty trumpeting
And shouting from the field

Warriors bold of Calontir
With anger in their eyes
Carried forth a trussing pole
Where issued bleating cries

Sir Corwin’s sheep was bound to pole
And fastened all with rope
And into Ansteorran camp
The mighty army troped

“We have your sheep!” King Anton said
“And you my monkey keep
Give it forth and we will trade
Your fluffy, downy sheep”

The Ansteorran king and queen
Could see that war was nigh
So to the Calontiri terms
They finally complied

The sheep to Corwin was returned
And monkey to his king
And Isabeau some earplugs bought
When’ere the monkey sings

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6 Comments

  1. Grim the Skald said,

    August 18, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Very nice! I like it quite a lot, and look forward to hearing you perform it sometime. Are you going to learn it? Its very long, but still doable.

    I have two comments, one of them is only a typo.

    “We will not send you goodly bear”
    The Calon writing read

    I suspect that should be “beer?”

    “We have your sheep!” King Anton said
    “And you my monkey keep
    Give it forth and we will trade
    Your fluffy, downy sheep”

    I’d shy away from using “sheep” twice in the same stanza. Since no rhyme depends on it, maybe substitute “ewe” for the first one? 😉

    Again, this is a great poem.

    • pocketbard said,

      August 18, 2010 at 10:57 pm

      The first has been changed. It was, in fact, a typo. I actually like the “sheep” twice in that stanza, though (like you) I’d normally shy away from using the same word twice in such close proximity. I think it works regardless.

      I haven’t decided whether I’m memorizing it or not. There’s really not that many people who I’d perform it for, and I’m not sure it’s worth using up the brainwaves. I’ll see what happens over the course of the years.

      Thanks for your comments!

      • Seraphina said,

        April 3, 2011 at 12:15 am

        Anton will be king of Calontir at Pennsic 40. Sir Corwin is planning on riding up with me again.

      • pocketbard said,

        April 3, 2011 at 12:17 am

        Excellent! Looking forward to seeing you, Seraphina! You were sorely missed last year!

  2. Baron Pooky of Ansteorra said,

    October 22, 2010 at 12:37 am

    I absolutely love it! As serendipity would have it, Beloved Ebbe is once again our Princess.

  3. Sofya la Rus of Calontir said,

    January 16, 2011 at 10:38 am

    And lovely Isabeau is now Crown Princess of Calontir!


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