AN ANCIENT BALLAD.

There were twelve of us picked to go into the woods,
To go fight with the beast and come back with the goods:
Twelve good men and brave who would do or would die,
And not one of them braver than I!

And eleven showed up on that morning in spring,
Sworn to bring back the stuff if we got past the thing.
And we clasped hands together with fire in each eye,
And not one of them braver than I!

And we heard the old-timer explain where the beast
Had dismembered brave knights—eighty-seven at least—
And ten of us rose with a fierce battle cry,
And not one of them braver than I!

And nine of us rode down the dark forest trail
While around us a fearsome hot wind blew a gale.
And we never quailed once, though the monster was nigh,
And not one of them braver than I!

And then we were there! See the monster before us,
With howls, shrieks, and roars like the whole demon chorus!
When that huge bulk arose, and it darkened the sky,
There were eight of them braver than I.

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