A Brush with Greatness

I had a brush with greatness
many long years ago.
I was sitting in the pub eating,
trying to stay out of the snow.

In through the door came a stranger;
on his back hung a large round shield,
his cloak was wet and mud spattered;
he looked like he'd been long afield.

He came straight over to my table;
I think because it was close to the fire.
he stared down at me and asked if he
could share the flames to get drier.

I looked up into his countenance,
and saw a warrior proud, but done in.
I moved down the bench to make room
and told him to sit, with a grin.

He thanked me stiffly, and sat down
placing his wet cloak near the flames.
The weight of the world seemed on his
shoulders, just being polite was a strain.

I figured I'd leave him in solitude
but he broke the silence first,
asking what he should order
to help him slake his thirst.

I told him the ale was decent
and he ordered a pint for us both.
He said he'd been long on the journey
and ruefully rubbed 6 days growth.

As our evening together wore on
I realized with a start;
under that rough exterior
beat a wonderfully sensitive heart.

We parted that evening as brothers,
having built up bonds of respect.
When I found out later who he really was,
his fame to me had no effect.

I heard some stories years later
of how he made a bad choice,
but sitting alone with my memories
I will always hear the love in his voice.

- boriel