Last time the read-a-thon rolled around, I was powering through The Return of the King, but as I read this conversation between Denethor and Pippin, I had to stop and ponder for a few minutes.
‘What would you do in my service?’
‘I thought, sir, that you would tell me my duties.’
‘I will, when I learn what you are fit for,’ said Denethor. ‘But that I shall learn soonest, maybe, if I keep you beside me. The esquire of my chamber has begged leave to go to the out-garrison, so you shall take his place for a while. You shall wait on me, bear errands, and talk to me, if war and council leave me any leisure. Can you sing?‘
‘Yes,’ said Pippin. ‘Well, yes, well enough for my own people. But we have no songs fit for great halls and evil times, lord. We seldom sing of anything more terrible than wind or rain. And most of my songs are about things that make us laugh; or about food and drink, of course.’
‘And why should such songs be unfit for my halls, or for such hours as these? We who have lived long under the Shadow may surely listen to echoes from a land untroubled by it? Then we may feel that our vigil was not fruitless, though it may have been thankless.’
I perhaps didn’t think about it as much as I should have, and in July I was surprised by my Chinese teacher pulling a movie-Denethor! We had no warning, but were told to sing a folk song for our classmates. I foolishly chose “Little Sadie,” a gruesome and kind of hard to sing ballad, which was awkward to explain after I finished. I feel I could defend it now, but off-the-cuff and in Chinese? It was tough.
We don’t really have bards, troubadours, or song-of-greeting traditions any more, but I’m bringing it back for a day. Here’s the challenge: represent yourself, your country, or your people (whoever they may be) with one song. You don’t need to sing it yourself, but I’d still like to hear the tune, so provide a link or video and tiny explanation in the comments or on your own blog, and I will choose the winner after 3 hours. That means time is up at 0700 UTC.
For prizes, see this post, but know that there will be a book for first place, and postcards for 2nd and 3rd. It’s international, my friends! Now, can you sing?