“I will avenge them,” Trefor said, like ice.
“With blanket strips I’ve muffled Meirion’s hooves,
so on the courtyard silently she moves.
But what of you? To flee is my advice.
What of your chains? Or how will you take horse?
Stay not to let the torture take its course!”
“No time remains,” said Giles. “I have one task
that I should do, and that, protect your quest.
Ask not of me how this be done. ‘Tis best.
All I can do for you is all I ask.
So hurry, brave Sir Knight! For so you are;
the dawn comes fast, although the isle’s not far.”
“One last thing now I ask,” Sir Trefor mused.
“How old would those poor children be today?
About my years young Summer seemed, I'd say;
but in your tale their ages I confused.
I saw them in the forest, as did you;
but what their ages were I never knew.”
“They have been with the Elves,” said Giles the King.
“And as you know yourself, one shining night
the Fay may make a mockery in flight
of time’s erratic flow upon the wing.
So think them any age they’d want to be,
from your own years, to nursing on the knee.”
Then Giles assisted Trefor on the mare
as best he could with hands and feet all chained.
So Trefor now rode out, but Giles remained
to do what very few would ever dare.
Across the court walked Meirion, dead slow,
then going through the wide abandoned gate,
Sir Trefor shook the reins, and set out straight
towards the lane that led to lands below.
At last he could attempt to reach the isle;
and as he trotted Meirion along,
although he risked his all, a cheerful song
rose up within his heart, and made him smile.
For all that lay behind was death and hell;
but all that lay before, what words could tell?
Then Giles, on being sure that Trefor left,
returned to courtyard cold. Inside the box
he found some grisly pliers to pick the locks
that held his shackles. Soon, with gestures deft,
king Fool through patient work had freed his hands.
But then he took the branches, grown to boughs,
and threw them out the gates so nought arouse
suspicion that the captive burst his bands.
Returning to the stocks, he placed with care
the shackles where so recently they fell;
his trembling was impossible to quell,
and yet his face bore grins most wry and rare.
“For I must guard his back, that no one knows
the horse be gone, or where Sir Trefor goes.”
Giles looked across the yard; to his surprise,
four shining figures dressed in spirit guise
stood by with looks of love his heart did break;
they smiled like stars - and then the eldest spake:
“King Giles our jester, though we all have died,
we rest a little while - our blood has cried
to be released, and till that day, unseen,
we wondered what the words you said might mean
that better love has no man than to die
for all his friends. We thought you mimed a lie,
just words of empty comfort in our ears,
to help us into death with fewer tears.
But now tonight we know that this is true;
and we believe these words, because of you.”