Buzzards, Hawks and Ravens
(Account of Six Friend's Life in the "Dark" Age)
St. Michael's Market
– er rante mir in daz purgelin, cuspide erecta -
It was close to at the second evening of the St. Michaels market. Around the mall of the small village the hoarse voices of the mountebanks and market women had become silent. The stalls of the traders were already closed for the night. The horse and cattle dealers had locked the animals into pens. The bouncing quacksalvers and pharmacists didn't advertise their alluring services with seductive voices anymore and had retreated into their wagons. Even the jugglers, rope runners, sword-swallowers and fire-eaters had quit their spectacles. Only goliards and gypsies were hanging around at dark corners lurking for an easy haul, while fortune tellers waited for hopeless lovers or desperate people to tell the future. Weary farmers had left the fair for home satisfied with the profits earned by selling of crops and animals - but quarreling with their wives and daughters, because of the amount of money spend for cloth, lace and cheap trinkets.
Most of the tired villagers, the overnight visitors and carneys were already asleep, Mirza also. The minstrel's small son had been acting as the knave to the Midsummer Night Princes all day long, not leaving Ruwen's side for a moment only. In the evening Ruwen had to dig his little escort into the cushions of the bed, still clutching the wooden sword the twins had bought him at the fair with his head covered by a golden helmet. Mirza wanted to be ready to fight his big friend Ruwen all the time.
A group of indefatigable drifters were still hanging around in the tavern sipping beer and cheap wine, gossiping and playing cards. The jolly guys were bawling dirty songs while the juiced ones looked for quarrels. Meanwhile the more sober guests were discussing the quality of the crops, the highs and lows of politics or were looking for a fitting match for their overdue and overweight daughters. The most discussed topic of the night was the unending mugging of settlements near and far by an unknown gang of cruel robbers, called the Gray Raiders.
On the village green amusement was still going high. The tunes of the gypsy band drifted through the cool air of the early night and blended with the fresh breeze descending from the northern mountain range. Both Midsummer Night Princes were enjoying the night at the dance ground together with other young villagers and guests, chatting animatedly, flirting or dancing landlers and carols. Bastian was still not worn out. He was heading the circle dances, because this was the privilege of the Midsummer Night Princes. Ruwen didn't dispute him this honor. Being more restrained than Bastian he was happy to play the second fiddle and get some rest at times.
Just the evening before Ruwen had been introduced to the skill of dancing by his sister Eileen and her girlfriend Eisha. The lively girls had to force him to try dancing, "Every Midsummer Night Prince has to join the dance, he even has to head the circle dances! Come on Bro! Try dancing. It's easy! Just move your feet to the tunes of the Gypsy band!"
Ruwen had been awkward during the first dances, but then he got the feeling for the music and later on he couldn't understand why he hadn't tried dancing before. He did great, greater than Bastian or the other lads, and his sister teased him, "Hey, big Bro, you are moving like a born prince, a real gypsy prince, you a natural born dancing prince!"
He blushed and even got more embarrassed as Eisha paid him a compliment, "Yea Ruwen, you are dancing like you didn't do anything else like dancing before! I want the next dance! I want all the next dances. You have to be my dancing prince at all nights of come!"
Ever since Ruwen had arrived to the village Eisha had kept an eye on him. But all the time he was with Bastian or Bastian with him. Tonight Bastian was wheeling around one girl after the other and that was Eisha's chance! Now at the second night of the fair Eisha wanted to know it, she wanted to make him her boy-friend. She even dreamed of to make out with him in the hay loft. Using the spin off of the last landler she maneuvered Ruwen to the darker part of the dance floor. Holding tightly to him she whispered in his ear, "Oh Ruwen, you are the sweetest lad around, nobody is so bold and still so nice and cute like you!" and with that she touched his lips with hers.
He was surprised, was that his sister's best girl friend, the little, shy Eisha? He kissed back, first hesitantly and exploring, then more daring. He waited for the thrill of kissing, the thrill and the butterflies in his stomach he was experiencing when he and Bastian were kissing. She started a tongue fight and he to imagine being in Bastian's arms. This did it. His little soldier began to grow hard and wanted attention.
Luckily for Ruwen and to the bad luck of Eisha the music kicked off again. The lads and lassies formed two lines for a carol dance, the boys at the left side of the dance ground and the girls at the right. The counterparts began to sway back and forth to the sound of flutes, the harp and the wheel fiddle. Heatedly the girls teased the boys, while each of the boys winked at his favorite girl. As the drums joined in, each lad tried to catch his number one girl for the contra dance. The pairs turned and turned in circles till their heads were swimming. The boldest dancers were even tumbling across the dance floor holding on to each other. When the drums stopped all dancers joined hands and embarked on a circle dance, singing along while dancing.
Then the music of the gypsy band broke off and the clear voice of Mirza's father, the minstrel rose chanting ballads of love and pain, accompanied by the soft cords of his lute. Now that the clergymen, churchy hags, the stern mothers and the innocent maidens had left the soft-voiced vocalist became more daring.
The minstrel chanted songs from the Carmina Burana, those songs every boy had been waiting for the whole evening like "Ich was ein chint so wolgetan... (I was child so lovely...)". Many a girl and boy joined hands; started kissing and petting. As the minstrel came to the most ribaldry verses the innocent girls blushed while the boys got horny:
„Er graif mir an den wizen lip,
non absque timore,
er sprah: «ich mache dich ein wip,
dulcis es cum ore!»
Hoy et oe!
iuxta viam posite!
Er warf mir uof daz hemdelin
er rante mir in daz purgelin
Hoy et oe
iuxta viam posite."
"He laid his hands on my white flesh,
not without timidity
he said, "I'll make a woman of you;
you have a lovely mouth!"
Hoy and oe!
shame upon the linden trees
that stand beside the road!
He removed my underthings,
my body was exposed,
he broke into my little door
with his upright lance.
Hoy and oe!
shame upon the linden trees
that stand beside the road!"
Thrilled by the verses some daring lads tried to coax their maiden into the shadow of dense shrubberies or tried to snatch them into a nearly haystack.
Not however Ruwen and Bastian. The Two Inseparable Brothers, the TIB's were relaxing side by side on the edge of the dance ground. Under the cover of the semidarkness Bastian took hold of Ruwen's left hand gently, caressed it and after a while brought it under his tunic "Can you feel the lance, there? It's upright already, it's ready for a fight with yours!"
Ruwen was thrilled and blushed, checking the surroundings "Stop this, you cheeky rascal!" meeting Eisha's curious stares, "The girls are spying upon us! Watch Eisha, I think she lost her heart to me!"
"Hey don't be that funky! The girls are jolly and blinded from sweet wine, and if... Should Eisha die out of jealousy!" and Bastian gave Ruwen a long peck onto the cheek.
Ruwen and Bastian were proud of their joint accomplishment. Together they had succeeded to organize this St. Michael's market in a perfect way. Everyone seemed to be merry and relaxed. The traders happy because of the amount of goods sold, the cattle and horse dealers because they were positive to have outsmarted the farmers, while the farmers were convinced that the dealers had been stupid enough, to buy old mares and barren cows far over worth.
Bastian's father came looking for his boys. Hugging both, he stated smiling "I am so proud of you! You have realized a St. Michaels market unsurpassed by all the preceding fairs."
"Father, Ruwen and I told you that the St. Michael's Market is our task, the task of the Midsummer Night Prices of the year!"
And Ruwen added, "We told you, we could do it! I even told you, Father, in case we embarrass you, you can punish us, you can spank our asses, you can even dispossess us, but do not interfere with our assignment!"
"I am glad, I did not interfere. From the beginning I was pretty sure you both would do good job, but the elders were doubtful if you, the TIB's, were capable of organizing the market days without the help of experienced tutors. They even were betting money that you would fail!" laughing from the bottom of his heart "I betted against and I won!"
Bastian replied beaming with proud, "Dear Father, we were never afraid of failing. You should have known better! Ruwen is the brain and I, Bastian, I am the strong arm. Ruwen devised the program, invited the traveling company, the gypsy band, the traders, healers and jugglers and I announced the event in the villages far and near and was in command of the realization of the fair."
Klas was pleased; everything had gone so well up to now, all the villagers, all the visitors and all the guests were happy. Hugging both boys again, "I have four sons now, three of my own blood and you, Ruwen, my God sent son. You all turned out to be the best sons a father could ever wish for."
The TIBs were overjoyed, everything went as expected; well, at least up to now!
Ruwen was dead tired now and getting sleepy. He and Bastian had been working restlessly during the preceding weeks. Content with their success he chilled out reclining in the soft grass, drinking sweet lemonade. Bastian, however, was still not worn out.
The minstrel announced the last dance and Bastian danced and danced like a weirdo. He was swinging in circles every girl at hand, the lovely ones ass well as the ugly ones, the cute ones as well as and the bitchy ones.
Finally the band stopped playing and the minstrel's voice began to rise with the last song of the evening:
"Tempus est iocundum,
Oh - oh, totus floreo,
iam amore virginali totus ardeo,
novus, novus amor est quo pereo.
Mea me comfortat
mea me deportat
Oh - oh, totus floreo,...
and on and on this sweet song went.
Bastion squatted down besides Ruwen, "What a great night! What a lovely tune! Is it Latin? Can you translate the lyrics to me, dear Ruwen? My head is spinning... Oh gosh, I'm tipsy! I had too much beer, I know. What a lovely song...Do you understand these strange words?"
"I am only tired, I am not tipsy and my head is clear. You know, I hate beer. Pooh!" Ruwen was juddering, "Poooooh!" then, "It's a kind of far out Latin, let me try."
After listening some more to the lyrics, "I have heard this ballad before; my mother was singing it to my sister and me. The song starts like this, I think:
"It is the time of joy, O maidens..."
Now I remember the first lines as she told us:
"This is the joyful time,
Rejoice with them,
I am all aflower!
I am burning all over with first love!
New, new love is what I am dying of!
I am heartened
By my promise,
I am downcast
By my refusal.
I am Oh...oh...oh!
I am all aflower!
Suddenly Ruwen rose and hurried away into the dark night. When Bastian realized Ruwen's absence, he peered around and rushed into the dark in search of his blood brother. He found him just beyond the light of the torches at the village green leaning at an old tree. Ruwen was sobbing desperately. Taking him into his arms, Bastian asked "My dear Bro, what's wrong with you, why these many tears?"
"It is the song my mother was singing to father, Eileen and me in the evening! It was her favorite ballad...Why did she have to die and not I?"
Bastian pulled Ruwen closer and stroked his back gently, "I know your heart is still broken, dear Bro... You can sooth every creature's pain, but not your own... I am not a healer like you, but I know one thing for sure, I love you and I need you and I will never leave you! Let me try to mend your broken heart."
The lyrics are from the Burana
Codex, a collection of more than 1000 poems and songs hand written in the early
13th century and discovered in the Monastery of Benediktbeuren in
I would like to express my special thanks to Paul and TSL for doing a great job by correcting all the wrong expressions and the punctuation used by a non native English writer.
Comments, reviews, questions and complaints are welcomed. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. And I would like to add, thanks for reading.