In a quiet and harmonious kingdom, With no wars, cataclysms, or storms A wild boar appeared, an enormous one, Either a buffalo or a bull or an aurochs. The king himself suffered from a bad stomach And asthma. Just his cough caused others great fright. Meanwhile, the huge and terrible beast Was eating folks or dragging them off to the woods. So the king issued three decrees at once: The beast must be subdued, at last! Whoever dares to do it, to do it, Will win the princessís hand in marriage. And in this desparate kingdom, the minute You enter, then crossways, In reckless boredom, living the life of a hussar, Was the former-best-but-out-of-favor archer. On the castle floor there were skins and people Singing and drinking mead... and then Troubadours trumpeted the call from the castle To seize the archer and bring him in. And the king coughed out to him: I wonít Read you a lecture on morals, youth. If youíre victorious over this monster tomorrow, Youíll receive the hand of the princess. But the archer says: What sort of reward is that? Roll me out a barrel of port instead! Iíve got no use for a princess in any case - Iíll beat the monster for you anyway. The king: Youíll take the princess-period! If you donít, Iíll toss you in jail just like that! Sheís the kingís daughter after all! The archer: Even if you kill me, I wonít! And while the king was wrangling with the archer thus Almost all the women and hens were eaten up, And the buffalo or aurochs sort of thing Was hanging around the castle wall. The king was powerless: the archer Got his port, captured the monster and beat it... Thus the former-best-but-out-of-favor archer Insulted the princess and the king.
© H. William Tjalsma. Translation, 1982