Ride of the Robber Bride
by C.S.E. CooneyFor Sahira
Robber Bride, O Robber Bride Riding on your horse so high Catch me up and with me fly Bind me fast all at your side I was a man of mean estate Of ragged coat and locks unshorn Whom nothing could invigorate But languished, wretched and forlorn I took to wife a rich lady That none came near nor could abide Her heart as cold as hearts may be Her greatest pleasure to deride My soul was sore, my hope was small Until one day I spied three men Each veiled in a broidered shawl Each lounging on a palanquin Robber Bride, O Robber Bride Riding on your horse so high Catch me up and with me fly Bind me fast all at your side Said one: "Had I made pact with Lucifer To win for me a maiden fair That maiden, all praise due to her, Could never with our bride compare." Said one: "Had I enslaved a mighty Djinn And trapped it in a ring so rare To rule the skies and all therein I'd trade it for this ring I wear." Said one: "Our bride is swift and fierce and bold And whom she wants, she weds withal She hears the hunger of the soul And gallops to appease its call." Robber Bride, O Robber Bride Riding on your horse so high Catch me up and with me fly Bind me fast all at your side These husbands of the Robber Bride Three laughing men who glanced my way Bowed deeply and away did ride "You'll join us," seemed their looks to say At home my wife unleashed her worst To wear my wonder through to woe The more I hunched, the more she cursed Belabored so, I hunkered low But came a knocking at our door A flinging of the hinges wide And there she stood, her grin cocksure Her pistol primed, the Robber Bride Robber Bride, O Robber Bride Riding on your horse so high Catch me up and with me fly Bind me fast all at your side "I'll buy your husband for a song Or steal him, if you say I must I'll woo him well and love him long If to my care this man you'll trust." "Buy him? Nay — I'll give him you!" Replied my wife, her eyes agleam "So take him — only take me too! I'm twice as handsome, thrice as clean. "Oh, Robber Bride, thou thing of bliss My worldly goods I'll thee endow I'll barter thee for just one kiss My husband, home and speckled cow!" Robber Bride, O Robber Bride Riding on your horse so high Catch me up and with me fly Bind me fast all at your side So was I stolen in the night A broidered veil concealed my brow My wife rode primly to my right Seated on our speckled cow The Robber Bride took up my boot And flung me on her horse so high Then mounting after, swift and mute She kissed my neck and squeezed my thigh Four husbands has the Robber Bride One happy wife, one speckled cow Her steed, her pistols and her pride Her prowess large as legend now Robber Bride, O Robber Bride Riding on your horse so high Catch me up and with me fly Bind me fast all at your side
C.S.E. Cooney is the author of Jack o' the Hills (Papaveria Press, 2011) and The Big Bah-Ha (Drollerie Press, 2011). She has two fantasy novels in progress, replete with big wolves, necromancer girls, doughty kitchen maids, hapless would-be assassins and shapeshifters with identity issues. Her short story, "Braiding the Ghosts," originally published in Clockwork Phoenix 3, is to be reprinted in Rich Horton's Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2011. Three of her poems are in the running for the 2010 Rhysling Award. Other short fiction and poetry can be found in Apex Magazine, Subterranean, Strange Horizons, Ideomancer, Goblin Fruit, and Mythic Delirium. She has one short story forthcoming in Steam-Powered II, two adventure fantasy novellas in future issues of Black Gate Magazine, and a collection of poetry, How to Flirt in Fairyland and Other Wild Rhymes, is in the works with Papaveria Press.
If the choice presented itself and she found herself magically thrust into a fantasyland of choice, she'd like to split her time between Bujold's Beta Colony and Barrayar. 'Cause juxtapositions are cool.
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