Patrick Wolf

I first met Patrick Wolf while eating a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel under the oak tree King Charles II and William Careless were using to hide from Cromwell’s soldiers.  I was guarding the base of the tree disguised as a peasant.  A parliamentary soldier approached on his horse.  I jumped up and saluted.  

The soldier stopped, what you up to? He asked.  

Eating this bagel after a hard day collecting firewood, I said, pointing to the pile of firewood by my side.  He asked me if I had seen King Charles II.  I spat on the ground, not bloody likely, I said.

Thought not, he said, he’ll be in France by now.  The soldier removed his helmet and exhaled deeply.  This is not how I thought things would be for me, you know?  I nodded at the soldier’s words, not sure what to say.  To tell you the truth, said the soldier, I’m not really into this soldiering lark.  

A soldier’s life isn’t for everyone, I said.  

The soldier got down form his horse and sat beside me, his back against the oak tree.  Can I tell you a secret? he asked.  

Sure, I said, munching on my bagel, not really interested, my free hand inching towards my dagger in case he looked up to see the kings face looking down.  I’m more of a singer than a soldier, he said.
This gained my interest, even back then I was a bit a music aficionado.  You wrote any ballads I may have heard? I asked.  

Not at all, he said, I’ve got to be careful what with Cromwell and his rules.  

I picked up on the tone the soldier had adopted. You, er, don’t seem to have much regard for Cromwell, I said, choosing my words carefully.  

He’s a twat, said the soldier, and a hypocrite.  Do you know he had music and dancing and all sorts of foods brought in for a feast for his daughter’s wedding?  I nodded in agreement, still unsure if the soldier’s words were a trap, and tried to move the subject from criticism of the Lord Protector, also to try and find a way to distract from the increasing rustling from the branches above.  

You say you write songs? I asked. Do you want to play one for me while I finish this bagel?  

The soldier’s face brightened.  Of course, he said, and pulled a mountain dulcimer from behind his breastplate.  Here’s one especially close to me heart, he said, and he played the song Tristan from his soon to be released album, Wind in the Wires(2005).  

Your name’s Tristan? I asked, alluding to the song’s lyrics.  

Oh no, he said, I’m Patrick Wolf.  

Kind of confusing, I said.  

He looked offended. I just poured my heart out to you and that’s all you can say?  He started to cast his eyes upwards in disgust. I had to think fast lest he spy the king in hiding.  I grabbed Patrick’s face and forced him to look me in the eye.  

That was the most beautiful song I have ever heard, I said, I must hear more, where are you lodged?  

The soldier gave me a look I wasn’t sure how to interpret, but he seemed sated by my words, more than sated, eager, even.  I’m stationed at Madeley, but I have a camp not far, would you join me?  

I left with the soldier, hoping my move had saved the king from capture.  But, more than that, I felt a strong bond with young Patrick, which I soon found to be mutual, and we’ve been close friends ever since.