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The Attempted Bridge Burning
A youngster entered the Cat's Lair tavern on that rainy night. Sent on an errand to buy some wine to warm his father's old bones. In a far corner of the public room sat a man clutching mug of ale. He looked as if he had been wandering in the wild for a long time. His clothes were ragged and his once-blond hair was dark and filthy. The youngster wondered why the bartender would let such a filthy man inside his tavern. 

As the youngster stared, the man turned towards him with a wide grin on his face. “Hey there las come over 'ere.” The frightened youngster walked over to the man. 

“Now there las”, said the man, “no need to be afraid of me old Mury 'ere. Or pr'aps tis me arm that scared ye?” Mury showed him the stump that was once his left arm. The youngster looked at the man with wide eyes, “What happened to you?” he asked. 

“Well las dat be a good story. But alas me throat is thirsty pr'aps after some ale me could tell you how it happened?” Mury said as he showed the youngster his empty mug. “I am sorry,” the youngster said, “but I need to buy wine for my father’s old bones. He will surely slap me if I spend his gold on ale for you.” “Well den,” shrugged Mury, “den me guess ye don’t want to hear a tale of danger and adventure?” 

“Wait..just hold on. I guess I can buy a little less wine for my father in order to buy some ale for you,” said the Youngster. “Wait here,” he intoned, nodding to the bartender to fill Mury’s mug with ale. 

“Ahh very kind of ye las, dis is just what me needed,” said Mury as he took a sip of his ale. “Well den me guess ye earned to hear me story.” Mury stretched his back and took a comfortable position on the bench. 

“Now las it was a beautiful day for me en my boy’z. Me boss had the idea of setting up a big fire for a picnic,” Mury chuckled. “So me boss decided ded we could make a really BIG fire if we just burned de bridge near Trinsic. Me and de boy’z got many logs and oil and torches, den we went to de bridge. Der we put all de logs on de bridge and den me boss sprinkled de oil all over de logs.” Mury paused in his story and stared at the ceiling, smiling as he thought about what had occurred. 

“Yes and what happened then?” the youngster asked. “Did you burn the bridge and get your arm burned off?” “Well las me think me throat is a bit too thirsty to continue right now,” smiled Mury. Perhaps after some more ale I could tell ye de rest of de story.” 

The youngster took the last coins from his pouch and nodded to the bartender to fill Mury’s mug once more. “Please continue,” he asked. “Ahh ye be a good las. Now where was me?” 
“You were telling about your master - that he was going to set fire to the bridge for your picnic,” replied the youngster. 

“Aye ded be right. Me boss was going to set fire to de bridge when suddenly two well-armoured figures appeared on stinky ‘orses. They told us to stop! The nerves. Giving orders to me boss and de boy’z. Ye can of course understand we didn’t like that! So me boss stepped forward, taking out his club”, Mury explained. "He den tried to slap dem on de head but de figures wer very strong. Dey drew their swords and started stinging me boss." 
"Wauw", gasped the Youngster. "And then? What happened then?" 

"Well...me boss was dead in a second. Dey pricked him and den he bleeded. Dey showed no mercy to us poor men", said Mury angry. "When dey had murdered me boss dey came after de rest of me boy'z. Me cannot remember how dey killed all me boy'z with only de two 'o dem. All me do remember is ded when dey ran down de last of me boy'z dey turned their swords towards me." Mury shivered. "The mere thought of de 'ungry look in dem eyes when dey looked at me, it still scares me." 

"But you are still alive", said the youngster. "How did you survive against such great warriors?" 
"When dey turned towards me I tried to ran away. But dey were fast on dem 'orses. One 'o dem galloped towards me and with a mighty swing he chopped me arm off", said Mury as he waved his stump towards the youngster. "Although me was feeling incredible pain me managed somehow to outrun de 'orse, and after a long run me found a healer who toke care of me." 

"What an incredible story", said the youngster. "You are very lucky to be alive. Although it wasn't very smart to burn the bridge. That could indeed have upset some people." 
"Aye but burnig de bridge would 'ave been fun", said Mury as he stood up and walked towards the door. "Thanks las for de ale and yer ear." 

"But wait..." stammered the youngster. "Now I don't have any gold left to buy the wine for my father! He will surely give me slappings!" 
"Good night las", grinned Mury. And he walked through the door. 


Published: July 2000
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
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