by Michael R. Burch
When Artur and Cai and Bedwyr
were but scrawny lads
they had many a ***** adventure
in the still glades
When the sun beat down like an oven
upon the kiln-hot hills
and the scorched shores of Carmarthen,
they went searching
and found Manawydan, the son of Llyr.
They fought a day and a night
with Cath Pulag (or a screeching kitten),
rousted Pen Palach, then drank a beer
and told quite a talltale or two,
"till thems wasn’t so shore which’un’s tails wus true."
And these have been passed down to me, and to you.
According to legend, Arthur and Kay grew up together in Ector’s court, Kay being a few years older than Arthur. Borrowing from Mary Stewart, I am assuming that Bedwyr (later Anglicized to Bedivere) might have befriended Arthur at an early age. By some accounts, Bedwyr was the original Lancelot. In any case, imagine the adventures these young heroes might have pursued (or dreamed up, to excuse tardiness or “lost” homework assignments). Manawydan and Llyr were ancient Welsh gods. Cath Pulag was a monstrous, clawing cat. (“Sorry teach! My theme paper on Homer was torn up by a cat bigger than a dragon! And meaner, too!”) Pen Palach is more or less a mystery, or perhaps just another old drinking buddy with a few good beery-bleary tales of his own. This poem assumes that many of the more outlandish Arthurian legends began more or less as “small tales,” little white lies which simply got larger and larger with each retelling. It also assumes that most of these tales came about just as the lads reached that age when boys fancy themselves men, and spend much of their free time drinking and puking! Keywords/Tags: King Arthur, boy, boyhood, *****, drinking, beer, ale, tall tales, Wales