Saturday, June 14, 2014

Forty-Forth Beginning: The Halfling and the Cook

(This is an incomplete poem.  It's twenty years old.)

The halfling to the table sat
     Upon a tilting stool
Between the plowman's whining brat
     And a toddler's shining drool.

Companions to the farmhouse came
     A'seeking room and board,
Back from gath'ring wealth and fame,
     Yea, all a drogon's hoard.

The farmer, dour, did swear to feast,
     Without a thought of pay,
Adventurers who'd killed the beast
   And saved the shire this day.

So elf and dwarf and man he brought
     And welcomed to his board
But halflings count, he said, for naught
     And bring war bands no good.

So with the girls, halfling paled
     And with the giggling boys.
While others dined on meat and ale,
     He dined on soup and noise.

While others raised their flagons high
     And cheered the dragon's doom
The halfling heaved a might sigh
     And left the torch-lit room.

He wandered for awhile then took
     A turn toward a smell
That promised that the farmer's cook
     Did cook outside, and well.

And when the summer hearth he found
     He set himself to think
On how the cook might be brought round
     To giving food and drink.

He pondered, plotted, schemed, and planned
     And rubbed his ample belly
While peering into pots of jam
  And bubbling, spicy jelly.

The baking cooled upon a shelf
     Its quantity quite ample.
Enough, he soon convinced himself,
     To spare a little sample.

A loaf of bread, a cup of jam
     Was all the halfling took.
But as he turned, espying ham
He backed into the cook.

The cook, a woman tall and wide,
     With hands upon her waist,
Peered at the small rogue at her side
     While his small heart did race.

"Dear Madam," said the little man
     In his most winning tone.
The cook just turned, reached out her hand,
     And raised a largish stone.

"Dear Cook, your kitchen skills are great,"
      He said, and then repeated.
She plopped the stone beside a crate
     And growled out: "Please be seated."

The halfling sat!  The halfling sat!
     And shivered to his soul.
The cook left, then she hurried back,
     Presenting him a bowl.

"It isn't fair," the cook declared,
     "For Pa to go and do i -
To keep the one mouth from my fare
     That could do justice to it."

The halfling scanned the woman wide
     For any sign of hatr,
And when he found but cookly pride
     He looked toward his plate.

A melon half, as frosty cool
     As any winter breeze,
Was filled with spiced and sweet- creamed fruit,
     Surrounded with cubed cheese.

The halfling smiled and plied his spoon.
     It was his sole employment,
Save moaning like one nearing swoon
     From overmuch enjoyment.

The woman wide turned to her stove
     And settled her to cook more.
The little rogue's eyes filled with love
     As he awaited encore.

Match-sticked potatoes, fried in mounds
     Were salted and then tucked,
With yams and golden carrot rounds,
     Around an oranged duck.

And what a duck!  The halfling's eyes
     Filled up.  He rose to say
That though it over- matched his size,
     He'd vanquish it this day.

The cook enjoyed the praise full fine,
     But then she gave a frown,
And hurried for a jar of wine
     To help him wash it down.

No hero carving beef and pork
     Within the torch-lit room
Was so rewarded with his fork
     For his part in wyrm's doom.

The halfling laid the table bare
     And settled back, replete
From his head's curling, tufted hair
     To that upon his feet.

Though yearning, the cook gave a scowl
     To shield her gentle heart
And asked him with a mighty growl
     If he cared for a tart.

Though loving puns, the halfling, wise,
     Forbore to make the jest
And swore that only folded pies
     Could lay this meal to rest.

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