They sat all day long in the tavern,
Arguing hour after hour -
Exorcist and executioner;
Which has the far greater power?
The exorcist spoke with a passion,
As he lifted his tankard of ale:
"If YOU had to see the sights that I see,
Your trembling face would turn pale."
The headsman smiled grimly and spat,
A doughty adversary, he,
"Let's make a pact to discover," he said,
"Which one more powerful be.
Tonight, as the clock striketh midnight,
We will meet in the graveyard, we two,
And if spectres walk forth we can ask them
Which do they fear, me or you."
The exorcist was in agreement,
And they met in the graveyard on time,
Where a ghostly grey shape stood before them,
As the church bell tolled out its last chime.
The exorcist stood up before it,
And it wavered and started to sway.
"See how it fears me!" he shouted,
But the spectre did not fade away.
The headsman confronted the spirit,
Which gave a loud shriek of great pain,
And vanished right out of the graveyard,
And never was seen there again.
The exorcist bowed to the victor:
"I confess that you won in the end,
But now you must answer my question -
Just how did you do it, my friend?"
"You failed to look close at that spectre,"
The dour executioner said,
"If you had, you'd have certainly noticed -
In its right arm it carried its head."