The personage of Kilsa was a favorite amongst MacThoy bards.  Read another of her adventures with the Vikings.


Kilsa's Lament

Kilsa's Lament is a libretto written in 1882 by Alabaster Van Gelt.  His opera tells of a MacThoy girl, at the tender age of 19, cursed with a great thirst.  She has many adventures of differing degrees of epic nature culminating in operatic fashion with her tragic demise.

The story is based on the life an Kilsa the Off-Key, a MacThoy Widow living at the time of William the Conqueror.  One of her adventures-- which is also corroborated by the Hystorica Calamitatum-- tells of her thwarting a Viking invasion.  This story has a traditional MacThoy beginning.  It starts at an orgy.--ed

In 1066, the MacThoy were camped near the coast doing what all MacThoy do. As the evening progressed the spent casks were hurled beyond the encampment perimeter. Legend has it that the evening's contest was to make the loudest crash of  breaking pottery. 

Needless to say, the area around the camp was encircled with pottery shards and by the wee hours of the morning, bodies were stacked like snoring cordwood (not to be confused with mourning wood).

Kilsa Off Key, granddaughter of the famed Anlaf the Mischief Maker, awakened by Nature's Call, stumbled to the camp perimeter.  Whilst crouched behind some shrubbery, she spied 1000 Norsemen picking their way through a veritable minefield of the husks of spirits past. One can only imagine what she muttered at this point as she rose to challenge them in their own language. . .

Here is an except from the Libretto "Kilsa's Lament." Researchers suspect that Alabaster based the lead Viking on Harold Hardraada, King of Norway at the time the tale took place, who was known to have been in the region with about 17 ships and late returned with 300 vessels.

The story was designed for the stage and scribed phonetically to catch what Alabaster apparently thought was cultural flavor.  Also included are brief stage directions.--ed

Kilsa:  Hey der boys, vat ya doin in dem dar broken bottles?

Imagine 100 manly Vikings squealing like 13 year old school girls. (ed. note: it is debated to this day what exactly caused the them to squeal. 1) surprise, 2) her voice--said to sound like Death's scythe on a whet stone, 3) her physical presence, 4) all of the above.)

Lars Larson (leader of the host): Yumpin Yimminy its a talking Harry Coo!

Voice from horde: Hey save dem dar horns for my helmet!

Lars:  No friggin Viking in my outfit is going vear dem damn dings on my bÍt,.

Kilsa:  You can vear me as a hat any day--Hey! Are you dem boys dat ver goin down to Scotland to vhip up on dose sheep lovers?

Lars:  Vat do you mean, 'ver goin down to'?

Kilsa:  Dis here ain't Pictland, you big oaf.  Dis here is Denmark.

Lars:  Wat do you take us for? Minnows?  By Thor's favorite hammer, dis is friggin Pictland.

Kilsa:  If dis vere Pictland ve vould be talking in gaelic not da  pure mother tounge of scandihoovian.

Voice from Crowd:  Don't believe her Lars.

Kilsa:  If dis is Pictland, Vy is da bay full of longboats?


Lars:  Doze are our boots.

Kilsa:  All of dem?  How many, exactly, did you bring?

Lars:  Umm, 1,2,3,... Ve brought a lot of boats!

Voice from Crowd:  I dink dat dere vere a few boots here vhen ve showed up.  (There is an uproar of discussion concerning exactly how many boats were there. )

Kilsa: Hey dere boys, If dis vere Pictland vould dey know how to play stick ball?"

Lars (wary of a trap):  May-bee.

Kilsa:  Ahh, but could little old me beat you all in a match?  (Chaos, noise, laughter, tittering, giggling etc.)

Lars:  No bloody way.  (Sound of agreement from a 100+ men.)

Kilsa:  Vell, if'n i beat you'll at stick ball, vould you believe me den?

Lars:  Ya little girl, Ya!

Kilsa (picks up a longneck and prepares to kick some Viking butt.):  But wait, vell, if I teach you all a lesson in stick ball and give you directions to Pictland, vat do I get out of all dis?  (Chorus of cheers and laughter.)

Lars (raises his hands to quiet the throng): Da voman has a point. 

Voice from Crowd (snidely):  I'll give her my axe.

Kilsa: Vat da hell vould i do vit dat? Chop wood?  I'm just a poor country girl vit a great thirst. (A great discussion among the host ensues.  Kilsa swings the longneck around, does several prat falls.  The throng mentions the word keg repeatedly.)  Kegs? You have Kegs? How many?

Voice from Crowd:  20.

Lars:  No, No, 6, I think that we brought 6 kegs.  (Small scuffle takes place in the back of the crowd.)

Kilsa: I know my Vikings and they would go raiding vit ... (makes a show of counting the host.) ...No fewer than, let's say...20 kegs.

Voice from Crowd:  Shit.  (Horde falls silent.)

Voice from Crowd:  Hey, Lars, humor the little lady. We can't lose.

The following afternoon when the MacThoy came back to life a strange and wondrous sight was beheld.

19 virginal untapped kegs in a landscape hitherto only containing empty bottles. Sleeping in the middle of this pile of kegs was Kilsa with a smile on her face and a half empty keg for a pillow.

A section from an Illuminated manuscript created at the Abbey of Lost Wages.  It depicts Kilsa's encounter with the Vikings.--ed

And what of the Vikings?

They ended up in Denmark where they realized they have been swindled.  They marshaled their forces and, on the pretext of the illegitimacy of Harold Godwinson's claim to the throne, invaded England. (They could never publicly admit that a woman who looked like a Harry Coo beat them at stick ball.)

This would lead them to another encounter with Kilsa and ultimately the Battle of Hastings. . .

Last modified: October 01, 2005

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