Being the First Chapter in the Song of Robert; in which we introduce the Hero Robert Eponge, and tell of his first battle, defending the land of the Bretons against a sneaky attack by their cheesy Norman neighbours.
Our song is of Robert Eponge,
Hero of the land of Brittany,
Of noble lineage,
Descended from the great heroes of old.
Conan, for example, was one of these
(The real one, that is, not the barbarian).
Robert Eponge, master swordsman,
Also unsurpassed in skill at spear-throwing,
As you would expect.
Spear-throwing, you understand, being a tradition of the Bretons
For which they among all people excel
(Even compared to the Welsh).
Though there are numerous tales of Bob's heroic deeds
Of his slaying of monsters
Saving damsels in distress
(And that sort of thing)
We don't need go into them here.
It stands to reason that
He is a well-respected ruler and totally worthy of the role.
Of course he is.
The proud Bretons he commands
Are a noble, peace-loving folk and generally all-round good guys.
They are the descendants of ancient peoples,
Keepers of the old traditions
And respectful custodians of their lands.
Brittany is after all a beautiful place
And, understandably, coveted by jealous foreigners.
The Bretons, therefore, have many enemies
Most of whom are, (as is often related in epic poems like this), ignorant pagans
Who have never even heard of
The Lord God Almighty,
Let alone behave like decent folk.
And who therefore deserve to be utterly wiped off the face of the earth
As is traditional for those who disagree with peace loving Christians.
The Normans that live nearby are just that sort of people.
Vagabonds, newly arrived in adjacent lands,
Strange, devil-worshipping foreigners.
They are troublesome, ambitious and greedy
And intolerant of their neighbours.
They have no respect for anyone.
They raid for plunder and conquest.
Yes they all deserve to die.
One such Norman goes by the devilish, frightening and altogether foreign-sounding name of
Who calls himself "le Roux".
(Which we believe is some kind of cheese).
He is an enemy of Brittany as well as many other nations.
His men yearn for plunder
And are jealous of the peace-loving Bretons.
Worse, they fight without honour and use cheesy tricks.
One day these troublesome Normans move to attack
The peace-loving people of Brittany,
Their evil hearts are bent on gold and loot.
News of their approach soon reaches Brittany
And as they cross the border lands and attack outlying villages
Robert Eponge comes forth to face them in battle.
The army of Robert Eponge is made of many noble horsemen.
Select knights of his household,
And a contingent of nobles led by his faithful general
Who ride beneath the banner of Brittany.
And as many brave warriors join them,
Having taken up spear and horse
To see off the enemy that has invaded their lands.
It is the early light of dawn.
The Normans and Bretons meet at a village on the borders of Brittany
That the enemy have already occupied, raided, plundered, looted
And eaten all the croissants.
As the sun rises and disperses the morning mist
As the armies see each other.
The Normans lurk in the village
Archers on each flank hiding in cover
Crossbowmen hiding in a building in the centre
The only few worthies,
Who may look like noble knights
But actually have the hearts of common robbers,
On horseback in the centre,
Advance, as if to attack.
The Bretons, cautious,
Remain concealed in the darkness,
Keeping away from the Norman cowards
That shoot with impunity at those they can see
from the cover of buildings and bushes
"Come out and fight, cheesy Normans"
Brave Bob challenges,
But, fearfully the enemy stays lurking,
Shooting from their hiding places,
Dealing ignoble death unfairly upon their noble adversaries.
The Norman knights advance,
But, seeing their foe before them, hesitate
And then run away.
Covered by their cowardly archers
They dare not engage brave Robert's men in noble battle.
(And, some might not unreasonably say, unwisely),
The Bretons advance.
They throw their javelins many times
And many of the enemy fall.
But, lured into the open,
The Bretons find themselves at the mercy of the cowardly archers.
Dirty tricksters who have evidently summoned the power of demons
So that they can shoot their arrows farther than is humanly possible.
Which is really not very decent of them given the range of Breton javelins.
And so many brave Breton knights and warriors fall
Slain by these cowardly arrows that come out of the darkness.
Patrick Etoile rides forth.
"Camembert!" he cries, challenging the cheesy enemy,
Leading his brave knights to the edge of the village.
The best spear-throwers of Brittany
Use all their abilities to throw javelins accurately at the enemy through windows and doors.
The dice are cast,
(A lot of them, with very good factors in their favour)
But the luck of the devil is with the enemy and only a single man falls dead.
Finally Patrick Etoile,
Leads a charge at the enemy cavalry,
The banner of Brittany flying gloriously in the wind.
Many Norman knights die,
As well as half of the enemy crossbowmen,
And the battle is even.
But the enemy is fierce in defence,
Yet more cowardly shooting
Slays the flower of Brittany,
And gives the Normans time to escape.
The raiders flee like the cowards they are.
They run back home, taking their plunder,
Seen off from the fair fields of Brittany.
The price paid has been high.
Many are the brave Breton knights that have died today
On this field of battle.
But it could have been worse.
Thanks be to God