THE LAIDLY WYRM

OF SPINDLESTON HEUGH

By Josie Whitehead

Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland

Narrative/Story Poems 3 Main Poetry Index Bamburgh Castle Wyrm

There’s a castle in Bamburgh that looks out to the sea

With a story, so strange that I think you’ll agree

     That it must be a legend just thought up by one

     Who wanted to scare you.  Now how’s that for fun?

 

There lived in this castle a king with his wife

And with two lovely children they lived a good life;

      But their beautiful mother became ill and died,

      And all that had loved her were sorry and cried.

 

Their father decided to find a new wife

For he just couldn’t face a disconsolate life.

     His ship left the coast and he sailed far away,

     While his daughter watched sadly across the rough bay.

 

Then her brother left home, seeking freedom and fun

And she watched his ship leave in the late setting sun.

      Poor Princess Margaret spent weeks on her own,

      But ‘twas better the future was as yet unknown.

 

Her father returned with his smiling new queen

Who had long auburn hair and eyes of pure green.

      The princess came forward to greet the new wife

      And gave them good wishes for their future life.

 

The king spoke with praise of his daughter so fair,

Of her beautiful eyes and her long golden hair;

      But, seeing this girl taking full centre-stage,

      The queen became jealous and flew in a rage.

 

“Am I not the Queen, not this slip of a girl

With her beautiful eyes and long golden curls?”

      The rage in her heart soon showed on her face

      And she wanted sweet Margaret to go without trace.

 

She turned on the princess and here’s what she said:

“You’ll not be a princess but a great wyrm instead -

      A low laidly wyrm that will crawl amongst rocks,

      Not the king’s pretty daughter with long flowing locks”.

 

Well the princess just thought: “She surely is joking”,

And therefore these words didn’t seem so provoking.

     But though she laughed loud and shook her fair head,

     There were others amongst them who shuddered with dread.

 

Some in that room knew the Queen was a witch,

And, to add to her power, had now become rich.

    Their party soon ended and each said “goodbye”

    As a storm raged outside and rain poured from the sky.

 

Well, it didn’t take long before news went around

That the princess had vanished but seen on the ground

     Was the most awful creature that ever did squirm -

     A loathsome and venomous, low laidly wyrm.

 

This low laidley wyrm of Spindleston Heugh

Was the subject of talk and everyone knew

      That beautiful Margaret, now a creature depraved,

      Crawled round the rocks and she slept in a cave.

 

“Every day she drinks milk from seven cows” someone said.

“Then she coils herself up with the ground as her bed.”

      Through villages and towns the story soon flew

      Of the frightening creature from Spindleston Heugh.

 

Her brother, Childe Wynde, in a far distant land,

Fought arduous battles with a sword in his hand,

      But, despite these adventures, his thoughts often strayed

      To his homeland and sister with whom he had played.

 

One day news arrived which caused him concern;

Of the evil monstrosity he quickly did learn.

      He thought then of Margaret and fear filled his heart,

      So a ship was soon built, and he planned to depart.                                                     

 

                                               Continued on page 2                                

                                                           

 

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