The Rich Frank
by Steven Clotzman

One daughter had a king,
most beautiful we're told
with whom he would not even part
for silver or for gold.
So against his better judgment,
he later would confess,
he lost that precious child
in a brief game of chess.

The king and queen sat down
as did her brother three
and all who played against them
could not win victory.
Then came a Rich Frank,
who won each and every game
when she became his prize
he stepped out to see his claim.

He found her tears flowing
like the rain from up above.
He asked "why do you weep my sweet,
why do you my sweet love?
If it's for your father,
my prisoner is her,
if it's your mother,
she now cooks for me."

"If it's for you brothers,
I have killed all three.
But the youngest he put up a fight
and I killed him cruelly.
He tried to welsh his wager
and insult my hallowed name
so I just hacked his body up
and left it in the rain."

"I cry not for my parents
or for my brothers three.
I weep for my misfortune
and what my fate will be."
"You need not fear your fate
dear for near to you am I,
you shall lie beside me now
but first we both shall dine."

It was half way through the meal
he handed her his knife.
He gave it but to look at
and twas then she took his life.
She held it his heart
to avenge her family
and said "this is for my king and queen
and my brothers three!

Adapted from a Ladino romance (see The Sephardic Tradition by Moshe Lazar, Norton, 1972)


© 1993 & 2005 Steven Clotzman - all rights reserved