A tale of yore

Written for The Sunday Muse


moria-citadel.regular (1)


imagesIt was late October in the year of our Lord 1889. In the waning hours of Hallowmass Eve, urchins in rags, and sufferers from calamity marched through the cobbled streets of Bartonwick.

Smoke curled into the sky from the crooked chimneys of the thatched stone cottages. Banging on doors, the soulers begged for food and money, offering songs and prayers in payment.

A soul cake, a soul cake,  

Please, good missus, a soul cake.

An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry, 

Any good thing to make us all merry.

 One for Peter, two for Paul,

                                                                     And three for The One that made us all.

Old Harriet Wicklesmith opened her creaking oak door, and a smile spread across her wrinkled face. All day she had mixed, stirred and baked her Soul Cakes. She proffered a glass jar, filled with steaming cross-topped sweetmeats. One by one, the soulers helped themselves. 

May your souls be freed from Purgatory when these cakes are eaten, she muttered.

We shall eat the fruit of your labour. Blessings and prosperity will be yours, they replied.

She returned to the calmness of her room and settled before the crackling log fire, content in the knowledge that her good deed was done and her soul comforted for another year.




I can’t take credit for the poem, it’s the first verse of  Soul Cake Song which dates back to the  early 19th century. If you want to hear it sung (not by me!) here it is!

three trees (1)Thanks to Carrie for hosting.




27 thoughts on “A tale of yore

  1. Carrie V. H. Oct 29, 2022 / 17:49

    Always wonderful to hear you read your amazing poetry Keith! I am glad you are writing and feeling better. Thank you as always, for participating at the Muse my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sadje Oct 29, 2022 / 18:50

    I was dreading something bad happening to them. Good ending


  3. The Sicilian Storyteller Oct 30, 2022 / 10:40

    Wonderful story and song! I do so enjoy your narrations. Glad to hear you’re feeling better; here’s to the comfort of your body and soul!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gillena Cox Oct 30, 2022 / 14:13

    Keith this is such a charming poem and a wonderful post of poem voice and song.

    Stay safe and healthy


    Liked by 1 person

  5. wyndolynne Oct 30, 2022 / 14:42

    This brought a smile to my face. We’d recently come across a video explaining this tradition & giving a recipe and were considering making soul cakes this year. This is further encouragement. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Helen Oct 30, 2022 / 17:15

    You brought these characters to life, in living technicolor, Dolby surround sound ….. delightful.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. dorahak Oct 30, 2022 / 18:59

    Glad to hear your voice again, Keith, and the cadences of this lovely tale surely warms my heart. Just wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

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