Reign of Winter: Monkey Monk and the Funky Bunch

Sam's Son at the Axe

My apologies to Mr. Thayer

The Outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mammoth Lords nine that day;
The score stood four to two with but one tusk charger left to play.
And then when Cooney died under hoof: and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, if only Sam’s Son could get but a whack at that -
We’d put up even coin, now, with Sam’s Son at the axe.

But Flynn preceded Sam’s Son, as did also Jimny Blake,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Sam’s Son getting to the axe.

But Flynn chopped off a single tusk, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despis-ed, tore a chunk of hide off with no maul,
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occured,
There was the massive mammoth, his power but a third.

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Sam’s Son, mighty Sam’s Son, was advancing to the axe.

There was ease in Sam’s Son’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Sam’s Son’s bearing and a smile on Sam’s Son’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his helm,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt the pride of the realm.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing mammoth to charge set his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Sam’s Son’s eye, a sneer curled Sam’s Son’s lip.

And now the frothing mammoth came hurtling through the air,
And Sam’s Son stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy axeman the beast unheeded sped-
“That ain’t my style,” said Sam’s Son. “Strike one,” the Shaman said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
“Kill him! Kill the Shaman!” shouted someone at the stand;
And its likely they’d a-killed him had not Sams Son raised his hand.

With a smile of Kellid charity great Sam’s Son’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the Shaman, and once more the mammoth flew;
But Sam’s Son still ignored it, and the Shaman said, “Strike two.”

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Sam’s Son and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Sam’ Son’s rage would not let the mammoth pass again.

The sneer is gone from Sam’s Son’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his axe upon the slate.
And now the mammoth screws up his charge, and now he lets it go.
And now the air is shattered by the force of Sam’s Son’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The minstrels are playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light.
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy for these Mammoth Lords – mighty Sam’s Son has struck out.

“Phin”

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