the sly knife

Erik Kaisson

No.9

.

The greying King his kingdom scanned, grown anxious for an heir;

Did cast about for sons to bless, then felt his daughters’ stare.

‘Are we not children of your blood, the jewels of your eye?

We sew and dance and sing and sew; and watch the kestrels fly’.

.

Three girls I have, relents the King, but not a single son;

For all the conquered lands I hold, for all my battles won.

Three wives I’ve had (though now all dead), one black, one red, one gold;

A daughter each they bore me.  ‘So, which one of you shall hold

.

The sceptre cursed, the weighty crown, this trap shaped like a throne?

What challenge shall I set for you to make your talents known?’

‘Why, father!’, said the golden-haired, ‘What need for loathsome trials?

In all the land there’s none to match the beauty ‘fore your eyes.’

.

The black-haired girl sprang to her feet, and smote them with…

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