The Pegasus Awards

Horsetamer's Daughter

Leslie Fish


Pegasus Award

Award Year Category
2002 Best Song That Tells A Story

Pegasus Nominations

Year Category
1999 Best Hero Song
1984 Best Original Filk Song

The Horse-Tamer's Daughter

Copyright ©1983 by Leslie Fish
Copyright assigned to Random Factors
Lyrics posted by permission

My father was a horse-tamer on the edge of Hali Plain.
His work was good and his horses fine, but he got little gain,
For few come now into Hali Town; the trade has gone away,
And the distant glower of the ruined Tower makes few folk care to stay.
So poor we were, but free we were as the wild herds on the Plain-
And I was a child as free and wild as the wind in my tangled mane.

My grand-dam told me cradle-tales of the great days long ago
When the wizards ruled and the land was taxed and the lords would come and go.
"But the land was torn by wars," she said, "the Tower was broken down,
So the lords appear no longer here to rule over Hali Town-
And neither do the wizards come take our children, one in ten-
So grateful be that we're poor but free, and you are not living then."

My father had no sons at all, nor could he pay the fee
Of hireling men to help his work, so he turned to Mother and me.
We helped him ride the Wild Ones down, to catch and tame and train.
And we lived thus free and merrily on the edge of Hali Plain.
So well I loved the whispering grass and the children of the land,
That in time I learned, as the seasons turned, to call them into my hand.

When I rode out on Hali Plain, I would set my mind to fly
'Til I felt the grass below my feet and the birds high in the sky.
I'd feel the Wild Ones running, and I'd bid them turn again.
A few I'd see would come to me: about one in every ten.
I never called them to the rope; their trust I'd not betray.
But willing and free they'd carry me on the Plain to run and play.

There is a lake beyond the town. The Tower is on its shore.
Close by the Holy Castle stands, where none may pass the door.
But I always chose that ruined Tower for my favorite place to play.
I would daydream long of my grand-dam's songs and the tales of the ancient days.
The stones breathed wondrous tales to me of the powers within the ground,
'Til amid the stones of the Tower's bones a Magic Mirror I found.

The Mirror in its iron frame was dark as a winter sky.
Never a sight it showed me, 'til I set my mind to fly.
Aye, then it showed me marvelous things, a window on the world:
The Plain, the town, all the lands around, as far as the ocean curled.
I wore it tied about my neck to keep it always near:
Beside the land and my wild-horse band the treasure I held most dear.

I'll never wear red robes. I'll never wear a blue stone.
The ruined Tower stands abandoned and alone.
But when the moons are high and the wind is roaring free,
When I send my silent call...wild horses come to me!

As we rode down to Hali Town one summer market day,
We saw the folk in turmoil run, and heard an old man say:
"Go back, go back, you Horse-tamer! The Wizards come again!
They come, I fear, for the children here. They are taking one in ten.
Go back, go back, you Horse-tamer, and your daughter hide away;
Conceal your child where the land is wild, 'til the Wizards are gone away."

Back I rode to Hali Plain, as fast as a horse could run.
I hid myself in the ruined Tower, away from wind and sun.
I looked within the Mirror's deeps to see what might befall,
And close at hand saw the Wizards' band: so fierce and fair and tall.
Then one of them raised up his eyes, and said: "Who can this be?"
He turned his head, with its hair so red, and looked straightaway at me.

"What is this power I feel," said he, "so clear and raw and strong?
Rise up and ride, my sisters all; my gods, we've been searching wrong.
More strength is here than we thought to find. The gods so jest with men;
It may be, still, that without our will, that Tower may wake again.
'Twas an ill-trained Keeper's mind I met, but I've rarely felt such power.
We dare not wait lest we come too late. Make haste to Hali Tower!"

As soon as I thus heard their plan, I turned my mind away
And set it flying over the plain. To the Wild Ones I did say:
"Oh, come to me, my free friends all! Oh, come to my right hand!
We must prevent these lords' intent of the claiming of our land.
If they should rule this land once more, we shall all be servant-men-
And you, my dears, shall be captives here and never run free again!"

I bound my mind to the Wild Ones' minds, and I called as I never did call,
'Til seven mares and a stallion bold came into the ancient hall.
Just seven mares and a stallion bold, the Magic Mirror and me,
To stay the command of the Wizards' band and keep the Plains-folk free:
So I bound my soul to the Wild Ones' souls as I'd never done before,
To bind our might in a ring of light, and fight in a Wizards' war. (Cho.)

We built a shield about the Tower, with walls of wind and thought.
With hooves of light, through the Mirror's sight, we battered and thrust and fought.
The Wizards flinched, the Wizards fell, and cried up from the ground:
"Have done, have done, you nine-in-one! Only tell us, what have we found?
How did your Star-stone hold intact, which should have burned away?
What kind of men can stand up again through the fires we threw today?"

"I have no Stone at all," I said, "but a Mirror like the sea.
You fought with never a man this day, but eight wild horses and me.
I am the Horse-tamer's daughter, the defender of the land-
And I know my kind were never inclined to live at a lord's command.
So it is my wish ye go away, and leave us as we've been.
Leave us free as we choose to be; we would never be ruled again."

Up then spoke the Wizard-lord: "It shall be as you have said.
Better to make an Eighth Domain than duel 'til all are dead.
With a Circle made of wild beasts and a plain first-level screen,
You've all the power of any good Tower-and more than many I've seen.
You are the Living Matrix then; that's all that you can be.
'Tis plain your breed is of Hastur-seed. Oh Child, keep away from me!"

So Hali Tower is tenanted now. Fresh straw lies on the floor.
Tall wild horses come and go, free through the open door.
The Hali-folk bring corn and cloth and wood for the winter's chill.
The tales they tell are spreading well, and I fear they always will.
I'm just the Horse-tamer's daughter, but they love me for my power.
They've made of me what I feared to be: the Keeper of Hali Tower!

Final Chorus:
I'll never wear red robes. I'll never wear a blue stone.
The ancient Tower stands no longer quite alone.
Now when the moons are high and the wind is roaring free,
When I send my silent call...wild horses come to me!


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