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a short story by John Ivor

Brilliant swordsman and heroic in stature, young Jeremy has only one weakness as he faces his greatest challenge. He is a coward.

© Darling Newspaper Press
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The law doth punish man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common,
But lets the greater felon loose
That steals the common from the goose.

(ANON, 1764)

THERE was a time, a desperate time, when I cursed the gentle mists of my native Oxfordshire and regretted its picturesque vales and folds. Among the fruitful brown and green a deceptive dip will conceal the approach of riders. In truth, though, I would never have noted the danger, because my whole concentration lay in hacking at old Tom Bidwell with my sword.

He stepped back laughing, grey beard flecked with sweat and his weepy eyes aglow with pride. “Feint and thrust, Jeremy, you got it sweet. Yes! Left, left, left, make me go left, young sprat. If ye can, if ye can!”

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