Longer Narrative Poems
By Josie Whitehead
This poem has been made into an animated film by students from Bradford University. FILM
OF ALDERLEY EDGE
By Josie Whitehead
A farmer from Mobberley had a white mare
And was planning to sell her at Macclesfield Fair.
At Alderley Edge, much to his surprise,
A bearded old gentleman there caught his eyes.
‘Now tell me, good farmer, can I buy your horse?’ -
But he thought he would get more at market, of course:
‘Oh don’t ask this question! I’ll not sell to you.
Now move out of my way and let me get through.’
So the white-bearded man moved out of his way
Saying: ‘She’ll be my horse by the end of this day.’
They went on to market. The horse was admired,
But none gave the price that the farmer required.
Now at Alderley Edge stands a very large stone
And here, by this rock, stood the wizard, alone.
When the farmer returned, he called loudly and said:
‘Stop here one moment. Please don’t ride ahead.’
He then touched the rock with his staff. Then appeared
Two large iron gates – but the white horse then reared.
The farmer was thrown upon the hard ground,
Though other than bruises was quite safe and sound.
The wizard then told him: ‘You’ve nothing to fear.
Come, follow me now and things soon will be clear.’
They entered a cave and beheld such a sight -
Of sleeping white horses with an army of knights.
He followed beyond to the next cave and found
Wealth beyond measure piled high on the ground.
‘These jewels and gold coins - help yourself to all these,
But your milky white mare, I must have her, please.’
‘When England has need of this army again
They’ll wake and ride forth across Cheshire’s plain.
All that we need is another white horse.’ . . . .
The farmer thought just of the treasure, of course.
‘Thank God for good fortune,’ was the prayer that he said,
Then filled up his pockets and turned round and fled.
The iron gates clanged as he quickly ran past,
But, heeding them not, his legs carried him fast.
At a very safe distance he turned and looked back
But all he could see at the end of the track
Was the rock that he’d passed a few minutes before,
And nobody since has discovered this door.
A well marks the place of this story today
See the words by the well? Come, read what they say:
‘You may drink of this water, so please take thy fill –
It flows freely for you, at the good wizard’s will.’
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