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THE SADDLER OF BAWTRY
by
Andrew Vasey

Of the saddler of Bawtry
I'll tell the tale to you;
A tell which has a moral,
Just as all good stories do.
It's set a long, long time ago,
A tale of yesteryear,
And shows how health can be improved
By having just one beer.
Our saddler had committed
A serious offence,
And was brought before the judge at York,
The scene was hushed and tense.
The judge was looking troubled,
And this is what he said:
"You'll be taken from this court of law
And hanged until you're dead."
Now at this time at York Assize
A custom was in place,
A custom now enacted
In our sorry saddler's case:
Between the gaol and scaffold
There stood a famous inn,
Where condemned men were treated
To a final drink within.
But on this day the prisoner
Just sighed and shook his head:
"Let's get this business over with,"
Was what the fellow said.
And so, on to the scaffold
The Bawtry saddler went.
They strung him up and dropped him down,
And soon his life was spent.
Just at this time a messenger
Came running in a sweat;
Reprieve he held in his right hand,
The ink on it still wet.
By turning down that final beer,
The saddler sealed his fate,
Ten minutes would have meant that
This reprieve was not too late.
Some would sagely shake their heads,
And this is what they'd say:
"The story goes to prove the point
That crime doth never pay."
But I would say the moral
For a man of Bawtry town*
Is, 'When a drink is offered you,
Don't ever turn it down!'

*Or anywhere else, for that matter.

 
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