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Written / Read by Paul J Bennett

‘Twas the midwinter season, and all through the Palace

Not a tankard was clinking, not even a chalice.

The weapons were hung in their scabbards with care,

In hopes that Old Saxnor, soon would be there.

The mages were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of magic spells danced in their heads.

Tempus was dozing, his head in the lap,

Of Gerald, the Marshal, who was taking a nap.

When out in the palace there arose such a clatter,

That Hayley jumped up just to see what’s the matter.

Away to the courtyard, she made a mad dash,

To see what had made the most clamorous crash.

Her feet on the cobblestones, stepped through the snow,

And she readied her weapons, including her bow.

Then what, to her wondering eyes did appear,

But Albreda the druid with a tankard of beer.

And though she was drinking, she had all her wits,

And she looked at the ranger and asked, Where is Fitz?

With Beverly, his daughter I’d have to suppose,

Or asleep in their rooms in their warm nighttime clothes.

And Revi, where is he, the druid enquired,

He’s fast asleep, he was awfully tired.

Then wake him and tell him Albreda is here,

Its time to make merry and drink us some beer.

Now wake him and gather the Marshal as well,

Awaken the guards and ring out the bell.

'Tis midwinter festival, gather your friends,

And give thanks to Saxnor before this day ends.

Call out the Queen and her handmaiden too,

Knights of the Hound, with a cry and a hue.

Arnim and Alric and Nikki the knife,

Aldwin the smith and his warrior wife.

And Herdwin the Dwarf and Telethial the Elf,

Tempus and Lighting, and even yourself.

Get Lily and Heward, and don’t forget Hearn,

Though he bathes very seldom and smells like a fern.

The time is upon us to look on with pride,

At what we’ve accomplished, let's take it in stride.

The kingdom is peaceful, all covered in snow,

And food is aplenty, that’s something we know.

Her eyes held a twinkle, her face was so merry,

And Hayley relaxed, she was no longer wary.

Call them I will, she said with a smile,

I’ll leed them right into the hall in awhile.

But tell me, Albreda, to what do I owe,

This midnight assembly, to which I am slow.

Come, come, said Albreda, we’re all hale and hearty,

Its time to break open a keg and let’s party.

And so back to the Palace, the ranger did rush,

And joy to her friends she did heartily gush.

Away to the great hall, she cried out with glee,

For Albreda, the druid did say to decree.

'Tis the time of the season and Midwinter to boot,

So eat of the helpings of meat, veg and fruit.

Fill your stomachs with feast ere the dawn early breaks,

And devour all the pastries and puddings and cakes.

Let's celebrate friendship, remember the past,

And tell stories of old while our memories last.

And as we gather ourselves ‘neath the great chandelier

A good Midwinter season and a happy new year.

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Paul J Bennett


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