[Bards] No Sh*t stories

Jay Rudin rudin at ev1.net
Sun Jan 6 16:08:57 PST 2008

>I have heard some talk of "No Sh*t, there I was" stories as though they 
> are some lesser form of bardic, if they are bardic at all.  

They *are* a lesser form.  A perfectly period style piece is better than a mostly period style piece is better than a generically non-modern piece is better than a modern piece is better than no piece at all.

A great bard has pieces on all of these levels, but he also recognizes the differnce between the levels.

> In my mind, 
> there is no higher calling in the bardic arts.  Now, it doesn't have to 
> start with that infamous first line, but those stories are what preserve 
> our history, and that to me is a primary duty of a bard.  What's the 
> difference between a No Sh*t story and a glorious piece of Ansteorran 
> history?  About 10 years and some polish on the delivery, oh and drop 
> the first line.

Of course.  But if the piece with ten years of polish and no silly first line is a greater form, then that is equivalent to saying that the silly version is a lesser form.

>  I'll leave you with this little gem in what may have 
> been its original form:
> "No Sh*t there I was at this battle where these 300 guys were facing 
> down the entire Persian army..."

Does anybody think that a piece that starts this way will be as good as "300"?  Anybody?

Consider the two following descriptions:

"Louis the Badger has a habit of always holding an open seat at his camp table, for any who wander by.  He was fighting  with the Arthurian company under Airaklee's command at Gulf War.  Roughly halfway through the battle Duke Patrick Michael, the general of the army, was struck unexpectedly by a fiberglass spear and a hold was called.  Airaklee, a chirurgeon, left to see if he could help Duke Patrick.  Command of the Arthurian company therefore went to Louis.  Louis marched the Arthurians just out from the cover of the shield wall and straight for the Trimarin line.  He ordered the unit to slide right.  He then yelled "Wheel left" and everyone swung around like a gate.  They were now on the Trimarian flank, and announced a column charge.  The Arthurians slammed into the end of the wall and knocked it down like a row of dominos.  The Ansteorran shield wall wasted no time and charged immediately, killing the Trimarians to a man."

But one spear was fated   to fell a great warrior.

The ash-snake struck,     spearing Duke Patrick.

Airaklee harkened;     His heart burned

This hardened warrior      had the hands of a healer.

He ran to give comfort,    though ringed by his foes.

The Arthurians stood     unsteady in heart

Bereft of their leader,     but Louis stood forth,

As fierce as a badger,     battle-hardened.

Hefting his shield, said,      "Hold your heads high.

It will not be uttered      in Elfsea's halls

That our company quailed      when courage was needed.

That we grew weak      or wished for safety

When the blue-clad foemen     brought battle upon us.

While board and broadsword     I bear in my hands 

I will not flee     a foot's length from here.

You know in my halls     I hold at my table

An open seat always     for any to eat.

The ravens are waiting,     The wolves are approaching.

A seat I hold open      for the scavenging beasts.

Trimarins I'll carve     for the coming meal.

Follow me now.   That feasting is near."

Giving his challenge, he charged the shield wall.

Leaving the safety     of the line of shields.

The Arthurians wheeled,      weapons thirsting,

Breaking the shield wall,      the bold battle thanes

Slew many Trimarins --     a terrible slaughter

Of blood-spattered warriors     in broken formation.

Behind the Arthurians, the thanes of the Black Star,

The gold-clad line,     glory-hungry

Wary the Arthurians     were winning the honors

Came finally to Louis's band,     led by his valor.

No Trimarins could stand     to that stalwart band

The black star burned fiercely     as foemen were slain.

Wisely he led them,     Louis the badger

With the heart of a warrior.  He was a good thane.

One of these is greater than the other.  This is equivalent to saying that the other is lesser.

Robin of Gilwell / Jay Rudin
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