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Glyka and the Magic Lute

A wandering minstrel found one day he could not play his lute.
He strummed and twanged and plucked the strings, but ever were they mute.
A maiden came and asked if he might sing a pretty song.
鈥淪weet maid,鈥 said he, 鈥淚鈥檓 sad to say my voice is not too strong.鈥
鈥淥h come,鈥 she said, 鈥渟trike up a tune, for I know that you can.
I saw you singing yesternight in front of every man.鈥
So he, abashed, took up his lute and then began to sing,
And though his voice was loud and clear, the lute said not a thing.
鈥淥 sorry man,鈥 the girl exclaimed, 鈥測ou must have broke your lute!鈥
鈥淥h no,鈥 said he, 鈥渢hat cannot be, its strings are resolute.鈥
The wondering minstrel tried again, he tried to play a round,
But still the stubborn instrument refused to make a sound.
鈥淲ell, I declare!鈥 the maiden said, 鈥淗ere, let me have a try.鈥
Her nimble fingers plucked the strings and then they gave a cry.
鈥淒ear minstrel friend, it seems to me you鈥檙e needing some technique.
Now watch me closely, and I鈥檒l show you how to make it speak.鈥
The minstrel watched indignantly while she the lute did play:
She played on it three galliards, one pavane and tuneful lay.
鈥淓nough! Enough!鈥 the minstrel said, 鈥淚 know technique full well.
It鈥檚 clear to see that this must be the workings of a spell.鈥
鈥淎 spell!鈥 she shrieked, and dropped the lute, a-clatt鈥檙ing to the floor.
鈥淎 spell!鈥 he cried out fervently, and scared her even more.
鈥淪weet maiden, I implore you, go and find this evil man!
Go and find the wicked wizard who has caught me in his plan!鈥
The girl then was overwhelmed and fell apart in tears.
鈥淥 minstrel-man, it cannot be! Unfounded are your fears!鈥
She cried some more and then explained that all the men she knew
Would never think of such a thing, they were so good and true.
The minstrel then sat down and thought, and then he thought again.
He then picked up his ornery lute and played once more in vain.
At last the maiden spoke again; she said there was a man
Who was a master of stringed things, as was th鈥 entire clan.
鈥淟et鈥檚 go,鈥 the minstrel said, and rose up from his wooden chair.
He bade the maiden go before and lead the pathway there.
A mile or two the lutists walked, and soon they were arrived
Unto the shop of Luther, that great man who had contrived
All kinds of string茅d instruments, which hung upon his wall,
Along with many plectra, which he used to pluck withal.
鈥淕ood morning, Glyka,鈥 said the man, 鈥溾檛is good to see you here.
But who is this that comes behind? Does he live somewhere near?鈥
鈥淚 am a wandering minstrel, and my name is known to few.
I wished to come here so that I this lute to you might shew.鈥
The wandering minstrel offered it, and Luther held it up,
And then he undid all the strings, and put them in a cup.
Once this was done, he peered inside the intricate rosette,
And then he sat down with a start, and seemed to be upset.
鈥淚t cannot be! It cannot be!鈥 he mumbled to himself.
The others stood in wonder as he set it on a shelf.
And then he turned and questioned him about the lute he brought.
鈥淣ow tell me, sir, why did you bring this lute so finely wrought?鈥
鈥淲ell now, you see,鈥 the minstrel said, 鈥渙f late it has not played.
At least for me, but then today it sang for this fair maid.
For many years I鈥檝e used this lute, and never has it failed,
But now it seems some evil witch has made it to be ailed.鈥
鈥淥 lucky man! O fortune鈥檚 friend!鈥 the luthier then cried.
鈥淧lease tell me, sir, what were your thoughts the evening that it died?鈥
鈥淢y thoughts, you say? Well, let me think. It seems I was quite wroth.
That night I tried to tune the thing, but it was very loth.
I wanted then to break its neck, but wisely I refrained;
But then perhaps I spoke a curse, that it might be disdained.鈥
鈥淎nd thus it is,鈥 old Luther said, 鈥渢hat this lute has been ill.
You see, it is a magic lute, and knows its master鈥檚 will.
It heard you utter that rash curse against its shapely frame,
And so it has obey茅d you as fits its mystic name.鈥
鈥淧ray tell me, then,鈥 the minstrel said, 鈥渨hat was my lute ere called?鈥
鈥淭he ancient folks, who lived back then, with magic were enthralled,
And so they named it lyra magica in their old tongue,
And thus when Glyka touched the lute, it knew her heart and sung.鈥
鈥淪o why is it so great a lute?鈥 the wondering minstrel asked,
鈥淔or it has done no good for me, but only has harassed.鈥
鈥溾橳is not in sound and silence that its awesome power lies,
But this lute has the power to sing songs and harmonize.
You see, my friend, no longer just a lute do you now own,
But also clarinets and shawms, and hammered xylophones.
The only thing you have to do is think within your brain
And picture any instrument you wish to play your strain.鈥
The wandering minstrel was so overjoyed, he grabbed the lute,
And hastily restringing it, he played it like a flute.
And striking up a lively tune he sang quite lustily,
That both the maiden and the man were laughing it to see.
鈥淚 do declare,鈥 the minstrel said, 鈥渢his thing is out of tune.
Friend Luther, would you mind to tune my lute this afternoon?鈥
鈥淣ay, not at all,鈥 the luthier replied, and took the lute.
As Luther tuned, the minstrel thought of taking his next route.
He thought of all the miles he鈥檇 walk, until he reached a town,
And how it would be years before he鈥檇 meet one of renown.
鈥淥 Glyka,鈥 said the minstrel, 鈥渇or I reckon that鈥檚 your name,
Do you have a lute at home as does each noble dame?鈥
鈥淚鈥檓 sad to say,鈥 the girl replied, 鈥淚 haven鈥檛 one as yet.
Perhaps someday I鈥檒l save my funds and seek one for to get.鈥
鈥淚t seems to me,鈥 the minstrel said, 鈥渢hat you should have one now,
For you are deft at plucking strings; I see that you know how.
I鈥檝e half a mind to give you mine, this magic lute of old,
If Luther here could sell me one, though I don鈥檛 have much gold.鈥
鈥淒ear minstrel, I would fain accept your wondrous gift anon,
But how could I deprive you it, when you鈥檒l be gone at dawn?鈥
鈥淪weet maiden, if I took this lute and sang from town to town,
They might just think I was bewitched, or was some type of clown.鈥
And so the minstrel gave his lute unto the fair young maiden,
And from that day the lute she played, and with great joy was laden.

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