Untold Stories

The Brigand King and the Humble Fiend

As some of you probably know I like to write stories for my dad for Father’s Day… Birthday… Christmas…

What can I say? An appreciative audience is a rare and precious gem.


How did I get this particular idea? I’m glad you asked . . . but honestly I have no clue.

There are a few things I like: Stories, (duh) poems, poems that tell stories, and the intrigue of pirate lore.

The details are still a bit hazy but as nearly as I can guess, these things combined to formulate this most recent endeavor on my dad’s behalf and I was quite pleased with the result. I’m no poet, but the challenge of rhyming has always compelled me and I greatly enjoyed pitting the rhymes and the tale together.

The Brigand King and the humbled Fiend met again on the field of battle.

They’d met once before, to settle a score on the subject of mock and laughter.

The Brigand King had won, a trick he’d done, and smote a mighty blow.

The Fiend, who had lost, was counting his cost and revenge he vowed to know.

The question had come aboard a ship with stolen hoard and the Fiend lost his reputation

The King did scoff and coat did doff to set about the Fiend’s humiliation.

But a pirate’s word is an imminent dirge when death is his valued promise

And a vow spent on a life will ne’er end strife nor brook any compromise

A crowd gathered, for blood they rather than to see two men walk away.

A second battle meet is a well attended feat and a host filled the quay.

The sun over masts did rise and boiled the waxen skies, turning the darkness red

As if the sky new before the day was through it would look down upon the dead.

An early morning chill shook the Fiend with a thrill and he readied his fists for war.

The King ever proud swore an oath aloud that his opponent would see no more.

The King was bigger than most and the favorite of the host for his size and repute.

But the Fiend was mean in size to the King and he had a bigger stake in the dispute.

A cobblestone port was the scene of the sport and a crueler arena no man ever saw

Stone does not give way nor warm with heat of the day when it sees Death’s open maw.

The cries of the host revealed gambles and boasts with a promise of fortunes won.

No pirate life is worth the crown and silver purse, guaranteed ere the contest done.

When the two met outside, “Death!” the host cried and they faced a table of arms.

The two must agree on a weapon to see which shall rend the most harm.

“Bows!” said the King for he was none too keen to trade blows with a furious man.

But the Fiend would not yield the length of the field in lieu of a bloodthirsty hand.

“Clubs,” the Fiend replied, his manner and words belied the canny in his mind.

Clubs were the choice of a brute, and the King’s fear acute at the notion of pain in kind.

“Why not fists?” said the king, unusual brave he was being lest the Fiend outlast him.

The Fiend threw back his head, laughed as cold as the dead for the King was truly dim.

“So, so,” said the Fiend, “a proud head you bring. But you I could outlast for a year.

With wit dull as brass, your feet move near not as fast as the wind between your ears.”

From the king’s face color did drain, a mock he could not feign this Fiend was sure.

The host drew in a gasp, from them their eyes didn’t lapse for the Fiend had set a lure.

The Fiend continued on, the King’s composure gone at the notion he was a fool.

“If you can outthink me, upon the ships and sea I cede to your pirate rule.”

The King took his time, to turn the concept in his mind for it seemed he was spared.

A chance to sail and win, without blood or chagrin was tempting if he dared.

The King his shoulders rolled for again he was bold and he laughed a hollow laugh

“I accept your cowardly turn and add another term that you should cede at last.”

“And should I win,” the Fiend did wolfishly grin, “you must cede to me.”

“For there can be no contest without the terms at rest before we take to the sea.”

Proud and haughty once again, the king turned to his friend and vowed upon his life.

The Fiend smiled up his sleeve, and turned around to leave and ready his ship for strife.

Upon the sea they met later to settle the bet upon who would rule the waters.

The course had been laid earlier in the day by the host who would not falter.

With a sloop and five men each they cast off from the beach and left the sunlit pier.

A galleon had left that day, with host from the quay to watch when the end was near.

Among islands they did race, to navigate at thundering pace and see who would survive.

Against sandbars they railed, and among swamps they sailed ere the night revived.

At dusk the ships dropped anchor and the King was red with rancor at his clear loss.

The Fiend had won, as he’d been a clever one and sailed expertly in the swamp and moss

The King came to kill of the Fiend he’d had his fill and with sword in shaking hand.

He raced down the beach and toward his enemy did reach to stain with blood the sand.

Ever the Fiend was cool and when the blood did pool it was not him who paid the price.

The Brigand King was dead and in his place the Fiend instead who battled now thrice.

So this is how the Fiend had won a better trick he’d done than his predecessor before.

Though his arm was long and his build was that of brawn he let his wit take the fore.

For if you take to the sea beware of where your ship will be when you enter pirate tides

For a clever pirate still rules and takes proud men for fools and there his fleet abides.