A Cautionary Tale

by Bumble the Bard


The other day I ventured out of Trinsic to the south,
And met a man relaxing with a clay-pipe in his mouth.
We chatted for a season and we shared a bawdy joke,
Then he handed me a briar and he offered me a smoke.

I took the pipe and said to him: "This 'baccy smells quite odd,"
And he smiled at me and winked his eye and gave a little nod.
"It is no common 'baccy sir, it's from a special weed,
That grows here in the jungle from a rare and precious seed."

I put the pipe between my lips: he lit it with a smile,
I puffed and pulled and tasted, and blew smoke rings for a while.
Then all at once I sensed the vapours rising to my head,
And I started seeing sights that made me sure I must be dead.

For the man became a dragon, with a frilly satin dress,
And instead of breathing fireballs, it challenged me at chess.
The chessboard it was circular, and round and round it spun,
And I lost the game quite quickly by two baskets and one run.

I heard a noise behind me and I turned around to see
A double-headed ettin who was staring down at me.
The first head was Lord British and he gave to me a pen,
And the second was Lord Blackthorn and he stole it back again.

When the ettin had departed, a mongbat came along,
He told me he was walking backwards all the way to Wrong.
After that there came a troll with a literature degree,
And we spent an hour discussing his troll philosophy.

Next I saw a giant spider riding on a goat,
And I watched it chase a pair of gargoyles sailing in a boat.
The spider tipped his hat to me and asked me, "What's the time?"
I said, "As near as I can tell, it's half past ninety nine."

I saw a giant ogre who was playing on a flute,
And a Terathan Avenger was accompanying on a lute.
An orc played on a tambourine while juggling with a bear,
And a chocolate elemental stood and danced upon a chair.

I heard a furious row between a cyclops and a rat,
And the rat performed a judo throw and laid the cyclops flat.
The subject of their argument as far as it was clear,
Was that the cyclops preferred cider while the rat he favoured beer.

I saw a group of balrons, they were hopping to and fro,
They asked the way to Skara Brae - I said I didn't know.
I witnessed fifty ancient wyrms, some black ones and some red,
Being attacked by ImaNewbie from whom they turned and fled.

And then I spied a purple llama, swimming in the sky,
He asked me if I'd seen a herder anywhere nearby.
I answered in the negative, though I wasn't fully sure,
And he thanked me most politely and then punched me on the jaw.

The next thing I remember, I was lying on the ground,
And when I tried to raise myself, my head spun round and round.
My backpack felt much lighter, and I knew I had been tricked,
For my reagents and my runestones and my potions had been nicked.

I hurried back to Trinsic and I fell into deep thought,
I stopped at the provisioner's and a book and pen I bought.
And then I wrote this poem, hoping others would take heed,
And swear by all that they hold dear, they'd never touch the weed.

The End

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Copyright (C) 1999 Philip Colby.