The Ballad of Nimuë

From The Known Words 1, long out of print and replaced by The Known Words, which doesn’t include this (among others) due to it being not of sufficiently high standard:

Nimuë the Sot (pronounced NIM-oo-ay) is a physically and temperamentally exaggerated lass of my acquaintance, and a good friend. I wrote this in her honour at my first Rowany Festival, AS XXVI, and she was suitably impressed and still quotes it. The tune, such as it is, is my own.

Reynardine de Clifford, now of Aneala, never deserved being cast as the villain here, but what can I say? He had the right number of syllables, even if he didn’t come from the east, as I thought at the time! And as for “lusbies”, well… consult The Deeper Meaning Of Liff, by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd, if you must.


In days of old, when knights were bold,
And lusbies overflowed,
A lusty lass, alack, alas,
Whose attributes could none surpass,
Tripped down a tragic road.

Her name I’ll say was Nimuë,
But mostly mainly Bob.
She caught the eye of passers by,
Her breathless bounty none deny,
Her suitors formed a mob.

Until the night she hove in sight
Of something serpentine:
A dreadful beast from somewhere east,
On maidens fair he loved to feast:
The dragon Reynardine!

With fearsome breath that stank of death,
He captured Nimuë.
In dead of night by lunar light,
He bound her arms and… talents… tight,
And carried her away.

He dragged her where he kept a lair,
And chained her to a rock.
The cave was damp and far from camp;
The draughty privy gave her cramp;
She fairly did her block.

For knights so bold she God extolled,
But rescue came there none.
For Reynardine, the fearsome swine,
Had spiked with poison all their wine;
They never saw the sun.

The days flew past until, at last,
The darling dainty elf
Began to see the cavalry
Was not forthcoming easily:
She’d have to save herself.

So when the drake was half awake,
On cider stinking drunk,
She planned a ploy (oh leap for joy)
The dreadful dragon to destroy,
And thence to take a bunk.

She found a pair of boulders there
And hid them in her cell.
And gained (exult) the desired result
With a double-barrelled catapult
She chanced to own as well.

So Bob was free and, deary me,
The dragon dire was dead.
So she arrived and quick revived
Her countrymen (they’d all survived)
And now my story’s said.