by Ivan Bennett When Aethelwulf were king o' t' West Saxons He decided his sons should succeed t' throne Each in his turn as the last one died Cos t' Vikings wouldn't leave 'em alone. T' Saxons weren't 'alf getting through Kings 'Cos t' Vikings kept bumping 'em off So his grandkids would have to wait Until they grew big enough. In 871 at the Battle of Ashdown King Aethelred put up a fight With his younger brother Alfred in tow They fought with all of their might. Aethelred and Alfred fought fiercely And Aethelred he were cut down So now it were young Alfred's turn To wear the West Saxon Crown. Some seven years later, King Guthrum Leading one o' them Viking hordes Attacked at Chippenham in Wiltshire Routing both peasants and Lords Guthrum fought a really fierce battle He gave folks a whopping big fright And them that didn't surrender Buggered off to th' Isle Of Wight. Alfred, too, soon did a runner To Somerset he went and he hid And mooched around in t' tidal marshes Where he played when he were a kid. He knew he'd a Palace somewhere nearby And decided that he'd take a look But as he got near he heard Danish voices And found t' Vikings his castle had took. Alfred really needed some shelter Some cottages nearby he did spy So leading his horse quietly to t' nearest He asked if there was somewhere to lie. T' owd woman as answered the door Of the swineherd's cottage he chose Thinking he were a knight, not Alfred at all, Said "Aye yer can sit by the fire and doze!" She hid his 'orse in her pig sty And told Alfred to sit and to wait And asked him to watch her cakes As they cooked on top o' the grate She went off to look for her husband And Alfred began to ponder and wonder Trying t' work out how best ter beat t' Vikings Wrapped i' thought he didn't notice his blunder. The cakes? Well they were past saving! And the woman by now had returned, The room were all black and stinkin' o' smoke, "Just look at me cakes as yer've burned! "You couldn't be bothered to take 'em off t' grate Are you trying to starve us to death? Them cakes were all as we had in the house!" And then she took a big breath: "You stupid great lummox!" she shouted And chased Alfred all round the room "Get out!" she said "You lazy young sod!!" And whacked him ower t' head wi' her broom. So now Alfred he hadn't no option But to go and sleep with his 'orse Th' 'orse weren't his only companion There were pigs in t' pigsty of course. 'Starve to death?' pondered Alfred, starting to think And when Alfred had thought it all through He called together not just his Knights But all of England's finest and true. They surrounded t' Vikings in Alfred's Palace For a fortnit they laid siege to the castle Alfred knew t' Vikings would starve to death Unless they gave up without hassle! Well, Guthrum and t' Vikings surrendered And promised to stop being rude By calling round uninvited So please could they now have some food?! Some say Alfred got his nickname As t' Sovereign of t' first English State But it's really because he burnt the cakes That he's known as Alfred the Grate!
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