Without trouble, without fear
I lived in my younger years -
like it was a dream.
Life was soft, and thoughts were pleasing,
So I floated, free and easy -
drifting with the stream.
There’d be scowling and yearning,
Something squeaking at a turning -
I would pay no heed.
It got cooler, it got hotter,
I just peered into the water
and kept sipping mead.
While I had it nice and pretty,
Fog descended, and I drifted
to a wretched place.
There, a huge old woman leered,
She guffawed right in my ear,
damn her stupid face.
I stood still, I thought I’d never
Put two simple words together,
I thought: That’s the end!
When at last I yelled. "Who’s there?"
That old hippo hoarsely blared,
"It’s me, Heavy Hand!
You stop muttering your prayer,
It’s no use for you to swear
by your holy God:
Those who drift and seek no landing
Get some Heavy-Handed handling -
that’s the way things go!"
Wheezing fatly, she went crunching,
Hitting stumps and fallen branches,
with a heavy tread.
And I followed, through the nettle,
Taking now and then a little -
just a sip of mead.
Suddenly an old Clubfooted
Witch ran into me and hooted,
with a cunning leer:
"Why so glum, you drunken devil?
Why’s your pickled heart so heavy?
I shall wipe your tears!"
And I howled, tearing my hair,
"Clubfoot, get me out of here.
I am stuck, d’you hear?
I don’t care if you’re one-eyed and
Bandy-legged, stiff-armed, lopsided -
get me out of here!"
On her back, scared stiff, I rode -
Clubfoot, though, went round and round,
I would fall, and on my belly
Crawl - the ugly crones kept yelling,
jeering, mocking me.
Things were getting really ugly.
Though I wriggled and kept struggling
with abysmal woe.
"Look. Clubfoot, I’ll stand a round,
Drink may make your clubfoot sound -
then we’ll really go.
Heavy-hand, make with the wine-glass.
Would you like some truth-in-wine, lass?
Just to put you right!
Must be tough, to weigh so heavy,
Have a few - you’ll feel in heaven -
You’ll feel feather-light."
The two witches by the river
Drank - it seemed as if they’d never
ever have enough.
In the meantime I backed slowly
And toward the bank kept crawling -
then went off the bluff.
I looked round - the boat was near.
But I could already hear
how they cursed and cried.
My two fates towards me trotted -
Heavy-handed and Clubfooted -
out to get my hide.
Then I pulled away like crazy -
Heading upstream, in a frenzy -
how I held my breath!
Cone with drink and malice dotty.
Heavy-handed and Clubfooted
drank themselves to death.