Monday, 26 September 2011

Dougal Dare-All

Kateverse folk-song about one of the minor characters in Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland, the Cauldale-born chief of the Fairfields rangers. Slightly fictionalized, and evidently composed in one of the woodland freesteads that flourished immediately after the heyday of the Good Witch Katy. The author seems to have known a good deal about Dougal, but not necessarily to have actually known him.
Dougal Dare-All

"Dougal Dare-All, where awa'?"
"For life ye find me flying.
For lying wi' a bonnie lad,
My laird would see me dying.
He's brent my cot, he's reaped my grain,
My lovely lad done murther -
If ever I come home again,
He'll trouble earth no further!"

"Dougal Dare-All, where awa'?"
"For making manful wedding.
In Candy Country, stock and stone
Do bless our kindly bedding.
A farmer fine, from fields afar,
He's known his share o' sorrow –
The foe whose blade our bliss would mar,
He'll know no more a morrow!"

"Dougal Dare-All, where awa'?"
"For love o' Luckie Triona,
To meet Brown Numpty at his door
And mend his ill demeanour.
His thralls I'll raise, his chains I'll strike,
His knights I'll make to cower –
His head they'll bring me on a pike
Afore they'll brave our power!"

"Dougal Dare-All, where awa'?"
"To turn my hand to farming.
On Catscairn lay my honours all –
No more my mind they're charming.
We've struck away the tyrants' bands,
And dreams left free for making –
From woods-won lands and husband hands,
I'll look no more for waking!"

The song is known only in very corrupt versions outside of its eastern homelands, where it long remained popular, and the customs of old Fairfields long-enduring.

'Luckie Triona' is a Selkish-flavoured by-name for the Good Witch Katy Elflocks - not actually used by Dougal or his comrades. 'Brown Numpty' is a gibe at Sir Humphrey Brownsword, a Northdales castellan of scant popularity - used by Dougal and his contemporaries quite extensively.

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