The Bard’s Warning

Once upon a time, in a land far away

An aged king on his deathbed lay

His youthful son, brokenhearted, stood by

Unwilling to leave his father’s dying side


Said the king to his boy, “My time has come

The kingdom shall now be yours, my son”

This crown will soon be yours to embrace

Carry forth my name with honour and grace


The Prince was not ready for his father to die

Desperately, he sought new remedies to try

But none would work, so the Prince readied his steed

And swore he would not return till he fulfilled his need


High and low the Prince searched in vain

For that which would cure his father’s pain

And just when he thought all was lost

A modest Hermit he stumbled across


Said the Hermit, “I know why you are here

You wish to save the one you hold most dear

I have what you need, but it comes with a price

All you must do is pay heed to my advice”


Overjoyed, the Prince gladly agreed

And willingly told the Hermit to proceed

In exchange for saving his father’s life

The Prince promised to follow the Hermit’s advice


So the Hermit reached into his simple cloak

And brought out a small vial stopped with a cork

“One drop is all it takes”, he said

“One drop is enough to deceive even Death”


“But here is my advice, pay attention now boy

Use this with caution; guard it with your life

For if this elixir passes through too many hands

Your kingdom will crumble into barren land”


To this instruction the Prince agreed

And hastened back home on his noble steed

He rushed into the palace, just in time

As the King in moments was going to die

The Prince hurried to his father’s aid

And opened the vial his life to save

On his father’s lips one golden drop he poured

And waited for the King to be restored


The Prince anxiously watched for signs of life

Were all his efforts in vain, was his father going to die?

But then he noticed a gradual change

In the pallor of his father’s face


Slowly, and steadily, he appeared to be healing

Colour flooded his cheeks, his breath grew more even

And from the brink of Death the King arose

Such was truly a miracle to behold!


All who witnessed this sight were amazed

The King was healed! Glory be the day!

With open arms the King embraced his son

For accomplishing what all believed could never be done


But at that moment what no one else could see

Was that the curious potion had done more than just heal

While the Prince aged through the decades, the King’s visage never changed

Until son and father appeared the same age


With that one golden drop, the King had been blessed

With life eternal, a refuge from Death

Seeing the Prince grow old, the King decided

That he and his son must never be divided


So King administered a drop to his son

That they could rule the kingdom as one

For hundreds of years they ruled together

Then the Prince, being of big heart, had an idea


“Let us share our gift!” the Prince declared

“We shall obtain the Hermit’s recipe and prepare

Enough of this potion our whole kingdom to bless

That they live as we do, and our reign shall be a success!”


So the King and the Prince spread their gift far and wide

Till the whole kingdom was immortalised

More and more came as the legend spread

That they may also be likewise blessed


The people were happy, the kingdom was at peace

The King and his son looked upon it, pleased,

They had defeated Death, now the Earth was truly theirs

For much joyous celebration and other pleasant affairs


But as the centuries passed, though Death was expelled

The Prince noticed that all was not quite well

Revelation dawned upon him, a truth he dared not utter:

The more his people thrived, the more the Earth suffered


The rivers grew dry, and the land was parched

Famine ravaged the kingdom, which was left to starve

The Prince realised that he now must pay the true price

For neglecting the Hermit’s grave advice


As the air, water, and the forests died

The people turned on each other to survive

Such a scale of destruction was never before seen

It was a terrible sight indeed


The Hermit’s warning had become history

The kingdom crumbled in a blaze of misery

Now, all that remains at hand

Is empty, desolate, barren land


As I lay here drawing my dying breath

I feel I should warn you – where there is life there must be death

From this tragic tale, remember, my friend

That Death will always win, in the end.


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