The Unfaithful Earl

Doug Stanfield is the son of a teacher and a nurse who grew up on a family farm in western Ohio. The family moved overseas for a couple of years, and he has moved around since. He has had a few disreputable occupations, including being a newspaper reporter and editor, and a public relations cog, but is trying to atone for his sins with poetry that tells stories, and stories that read like poems.

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For Halloween….

With one exception, no one in the pub that night had heard the story of the unfaithful earl with a spear in his guts…. At least, not since they were children.

It was a quiet evening. Truth be told, most evenings in the little village were quiet. Deadly quiet. It made the people a little odd.

This night was running down in the same way. Nothing moved outside, or inside, except for calls for refills by the few villagers who remained.

But just before closing time, Robert Mordrum, a local farmer, burst into the low-beamed gathering place just before closing, white-faced and speechless.

The night seemed to come in with him in a dark swirl of leaves, cold and trouble. He headed straight for the bar.

f0970739f9d52aec0a0f0935c54d7de2The landlord pulled a pint and put it on the ancient bar without asking. He’d been serving drinks here for 40 years, and knew a man in need when he saw one.

Af few of the others drew closer, hoping for something to enliven the dreariness.

Mordrum, his boots caked with mud and manure from the barnyard, took a long draught on the mug, then another. It was gone in two gulps.

His hands shook as he held out the mug for a refill. He drank half of it before sitting it down.

edgar_sculptureKing Edgar of the English

“Me grandmother used to tell us when I were a lad,…. “ He finally began, then went silent. Everyone leaned in, waiting.

“She told us, and she said her granny told her, and her grandmother and her grandmother…..” He took another swallow. “I allus thought it was a tale the old women told the children to keep them from running wild in the woods at night… But….” Another long drink.

“What’d ye see, Robert?” the woman