The Sign of the Duck

At Pennsic 38, Mistress Brid, one of the heads of house for Dione Sidhe, asked if I would write a poem in honour of their new kitchen house. Well, between my bee sting and a general sense of business at Pennsic, I didn’t get around to it. But it was a story in need of a poem, so here it is. For anyone who wants to see what the House of the Duck looks like, click here. And, for the curious, Lord Geoffrey is the other head of house for Dione Sidhe.

One more note: for those not familiar with it, “Dione Sidhe” is pronounced “Donna Shee.” This is helpful if you want to get the scansion right. Or you could go watch me perform it on YouTube.

The Sign of the Duck
by Katherine Ashewode, “The Pocket Bard”
August 2009

A rainy day in Dione Sidhe,
The sun was setting low.
‘Twas time to cook the evening meal
And goodly food bestow.

‘Twas Geoffrey squatted by the fire,
Turning legs of meat,
But droplets fell about his head
And quenched the fire’s heat.

“This will not do!” Lord Geoffrey cried,
“I cannot cook this way!
I need to raise a solid roof
To hold the rain at bay!”

He called the men of Dione Sidhe,
They raised a roof on high.
And Geoff again sat down to cook,
His head and body dry.

But now the wind in fury whipped
And whistled through the fire,
It sputtered, dimmed, and went quite out,
His hopes for food retired.

“This will not do!” Lord Geoffrey cried,
“I cannot cook this way!
We must have walls both strong and firm
To keep the wind away!”

He called the men of Dione Sidhe,
And quick to work they set,
They raised four walls around the fire,
The wind no more a threat.

Lord Geoffrey sat again to cook
But quickly stopped anew,
The fire rose and then it fell
His cooking went askew.

“This will not do!” Lord Geoffrey cried,
“I cannot cook this way!
For meat to be most perfect done,
The heat must never sway!”

The women wise of Dione Sidhe
Had saved their glass and jewels,
They knew that Geoff deserved to use
The best and finest tools.

They pooled their gold and silver coin
And bought a precious thing,
A metal stove of constant heat
To tame the fire’s swing.

The cooking now progressed apace
The meat was perfect through,
But now another problem reared
As extra meat accrued.

The cutlets tumbled from the stove
As Geoffrey plied his hand.
For goodly folk of Dione Sidhe
The order was too grand!

“This will not do!” Lord Geoffrey cried,
“I cannot cook this way!
I will not watch my cooking rot,
My efforts all betrayed!”

They pondered then, in Dione Sidhe,
And looked to mountains high
Where snow and ice prevent the spoil
Of victual supplies.

They sent their men upon the peaks
To gather up the snows
And place it into sturdy chests
The rotting to oppose.

Meat and grain in torrents fell
From stove to mouth again
The extras stored within the chests
Their freshness to sustain.

But now another problem rose
As Geoffrey cooked and cooked,
For as a heaping bundled mass
The sturdy kitchen looked.

“This will not do!” Lord Geoffrey cried,
“I cannot cook this way!
I must have neat and tidy shelves
To cook without delay!”

The clever men of Dione Sidhe
Set forth with saw and wood,
And after barely moments passed
The goodly shelving stood.

The womenfolk of Dione Sidhe,
When they had ate their fill,
Would gather all the pots and pans
To face the river’s chill.

And though their laughter echoed
As they knelt beside the shore,
It was a long and trudging walk
That left them stiff and sore.

“This will not do!” Lord Geoffrey cried,
“I cannot cook this way!
I will not see my ladies fair
Enduring this display!”

He set the men of Dione Sidhe
To work with metal clamps
To build a sink with water clear
For washing in the camp.

How happy were the womenfolk
Upon their next return
To see the gift the men had made
To save them from concern.

But now it was the women fair
Who quietly complained,
For all the joy their kitchen brought
The walls and roof were plain.

“This will not do!” the women cried,
“We cannot live this way!
We will not have our kitchen mocked
By all along the way!”

So all the folk of Dione Sidhe
Set forth without complaint
With every hand upon a brush
They laid a coat of paint.

One coat and then another laid,
The roof a gleaming red,
And blue the walls on every side,
This was no simple shed!

Above the door they drew a duck,
A sign of warmth inside,
And all who passed would shout with joy
To see it open wide.

So ends the tale of Dione Sidhe
Their kitchen of acclaim
And if you sit within its walls
You’ll surely say the same!


  1. Marc Shaw said,

    October 15, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Hey, I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!…..I”ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work! 🙂

    – Marc Shaw

  2. December 11, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Fantastic post, did not thought it was going to be so awesome when I klicked at your title.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: