Way back when, a while ago, upon the days of old,
There was upon a winter’s night, a winter’s story told,
Of Macsen Bach, the pixie-man, a fae both bright and bold,
And Ogden Mawr, the trickster god, and his famous pot of gold.
Macsen was a mischief, and Odgen was a fright,
And both of them together made a nightmare of the night,
For each of them contended with the other to decide,
Who was the king of trouble, and who'd be left aside.
If one of them would spoil the milk, the other’d turn it pink,
If one of them would steal the cheese, the other’d make it stink,
If one of them would put stinging nettles in your bed,
The other one would turn the wheat to bramble-thorns instead.
And as they tried together, each other to out-trick,
The villagers they preyed upon began to feel quite sick,
And so they did decide upon a contest for the town,
To choose once for all the winner of the mischief-making crown.
Ogden Mawr, the trickster god, had within his hold,
His foremost precious treasure, a pot of burnished gold,
Whenever he removed a coin it came back to the pot,
And however much he spent of it, he still retained the lot.
So Jack the Green, a mortal man, came up with a scheme
If Macsen Bach could steal the pot then he would be the king,
But if the pot old Ogden Mawr could manage to retain,
Then the title of the mischief king he surely now could claim.
However for the loser, they must forfeit their place,
And no more manage mischief on the villagers apace,
Both proved themselves reluctant, but by pricking their conceit,
Jack managed to persuade both contestants to compete.
One day alone there was to play, one day would all decide,
By the time that midnight fell, they’d find out what would betide.
And one more rule there was for both, (though Ogden found it tragic)
To even up the playing field, they must not use their magic.
Now Macsen Bach was little, even for a fae,
No taller than a silver needle in a bale of hay,
But full of mischief was this sprite, and full of cunning too,
And Macsen Bach hatched out a plan of what he was to do.
Ogden Mawr could shift his shape, as all good tricksters can,
And could appear in other guises more than just a man,
Now a dog, and now a fox and now a swooping lark,
But one thing still distinguished him, a black and curling mark,
For swirling black and gruesome upon his hairy chest,
A spiral mark of cursing from the Elder God did rest.
And no matter what the form he took, there always was its presence,
A testament to the tricks he played which had him thrown from heaven.
Now unbeknownst to Ogden, Macsen Bach begun to plot,
He thought, if I take the mark I’ll surely take the pot,
I’ll pretend that I am Ogden in the guise of Macsen, fae,
And then no one will stop me from my searching there all day.
Into Ogden Mawr’s castle, Macsen Bach did creep,
When Mawr’s enchanted soldiers tried to keep him from the keep,
He showed them a tattoo made of charcoal and he grinned.
And said, “It’s Ogden Mawr, you fools, part of my ploy to win.”
Now enchanted soldiers are a strong and sturdy bunch,
But honestly, they’re short a few sandwiches of lunch,
So when that tattooed mark they saw, they didn’t question him,
And without another qualm, let little ‘Ogden’ in.
Ogden Mawr was gigantic and so was Ogden’s house,
And Macsen Bach was tinier than the smallest mouse,
And so, although he had all day, he found himself quite grim,
At the prospect of discovering which room the pot was in.
Now Macsen Bach searched high and low within the castle keep,
But he simply couldn’t find the burnished gold which he did seek.
And as the morning turned to noon and noon turned into night,
Macsen Bach began searching with more and more affright.
And as midnight drew so near, he began to panic,
And jumping high and swooping low, he became quite manic.
He simply couldn’t find it, though he had searched all day,
For, unbeknownst to Macsen Bach, the pot had gone away.
Now Ogden Mawr had been approached by our hero, Jack the Green,
Who pretended, oh so cannily, to be on Ogden’s team.
Said Jack the Green to Ogden, “Will you hide it in your lair?”
“It is far too easy to get in, he’ll surely find it there.”
“We must be clever, Ogden,” Jack the Green now said.
Why not pretend to hide it, but give it to me instead?
You lure him off, you set a trap. Use all your mighty brain,
And I will sit and guard the pot, in sun or snow or rain.”
Odgen did consider it, it seemed a likely plan,
For who would dream he’d trust the pot to a mortal man?
So Ogden gave Jack the pot, and hurried from the scene,
But when Ogden wasn’t looking, Jack threw it in the sea.
Ogden returned three times that day, and each time Jack replied,
“Don’t worry, Ogden Mawr, your magic pot is still inside.”
And he would tap a treasure chest upon which he did sit,
“It’s locked up safe, it’s locked up strong, he'll never get to it.”
When midnight was approaching, into action Jack did spring,
And opening the treasure chest, some rope out he did bring.
He managed to tie up himself, and gag himself as well,
And when Ogden did return he lied of what befell.
“Macsen Bach has tied me up, he’s won, he stole the pot!”
And Ogden Mawr’s anger rose up full and fiery hot,
And yet even trickster gods are kept to the oaths they make,
He was not the winner, and his oath he could not break.
But neither could poor Odgen Mawr bear to see the sprite,
So, full of shame and fury, he fled into the night.
Unbeknownst to him, the same of Macsen had occurred,
Thinking that he too had lost, he fled without a word.
So Mawr went east for hiding and Bach, well, he went west,
And all the villagers cried, “At last we can now rest!
Hooray for Jack the Green” they cried, “Hooray for Jack has won,
He beat the tricksters at their game!” And thus our tale is done.