This aye night (Deep Secret spoilers)

Irina Rempt-Drijfhout ira at rempt.xs4all.nl
Sun Sep 19 04:41:39 EDT 1999


Some spoiler space in case reading about a book you haven't read will
spoil your fun - it's never spoiled mine, just whets my appetite, but
tastes differ.

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At the very end of _Deep Secret_, when Nick and Maree tell about
their journey to Babylon, there's the bit where they put on the
clothes they gave to charity and meet the Emperor's dead children. In
my copy (the Vista PB) this starts on page 369. The birds are "trying
to peck bits off the three kids". Later, on page 381, the Upper Room
ask Nick whether he knows what the birds were, and he doesn't know,
and someone from the Upper Room says they don't know either.

It's perfectly clear, though, and carefully prepared for: Maree
quotes the song referring to it, and Rob says that Knarros made the
Emperor's children wear everything until it fell apart.

Here's the song:

   This aye night, this aye night
   Any night and all
   Fire and flete and candle-light
   And Christ receive thy soul.

(There's a pagan version as well, I think, but this is the one I
know. I'm skipping three verses irrelevant to my point).

   When thou from hence away dost pass
   To Whinny-muir thou comest at last.

   If ever thou gavest hosen or shoon
   Then sit thee down and put them on.

Nick and Maree did exactly that.

   But if hosen or shoon thou never gavest nane
   The whinnies will prick thee to thy bare bane.

The Emperor's children never gave anything away, because nothing they
had was fit to give when they'd worn it out. So the whinnies got
them. I wonder why they didn't have a go at Rob as well; perhaps
because he was in Nick and Maree's company, or because he was still
alive and not in their jurisdiction. And why the white birds went for
the grain and the black ones for the salt is also still a mystery.

Allow me to be smug - I'm more clever than the Upper Room!

Now I need your combined wisdom - I found this out when trying to
find another song, starting "The hunt is up, the hunt is up". Swan
Arcade recorded it in the late seventies or early eighties, but I'd
like to know where it originally comes from (e.g. Child Ballads). I
don't have the record (that probably has the iunformation on the
sleeve), only a very old tape of it. Any takers? All I need is a
reference to the source; it's for the Lord Peter Wimsey Companion.

Interestingly, the first song on the tape is "Babylon is fallen to
rise no more" :-)

   Irina

            Varsinen an laynynay, saraz no arlet rastynay.
                     irina at rempt.xs4all.nl (myself)
       http://www.xs4all.nl/~bsarempt/irina/index.html (English)
    http://www.xs4all.nl/~bsarempt/irina/backpage.html (Nederlands)


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