Posted in Fractured Fairy Tales & Nursery Rhymes

The Grand Old Duke Of York

I don’t know about you but I am often inspired to write something after reading great stories from other people. When I read Andrew’s take on Jack & Jill it made me think about what you could do if you played around with other Nursery Rhymes.

They had been marching for over 10 hours now. The freezing rain and howling wind had not abated once.

“Where are we going Sarge?” shouted one of the weary and very wet soldiers.

“What do you mean, ‘Where are we going? up this bloody hill of course. Where do you think we are headed, bloody Butlins!”

“But why are we marching up this hill Sarge?” cried another weary soldier.

“Because we’ve been told to,” bellowed the Sergeant, “The army must have a good reason for sending us here, and, believe it or not Private Timkins, the old Duke don’t need to consult with you before he makes his decisions, so stop whining and keep marching.”

And keep marching they did, all ten thousand of them. Through freezing rain that turned to a swirling blizzard, through the dark of the night, they continued marching until they reached the top of the hill. Then, and only then, did the command come down the line for them to rest.

The soldiers looked around them but couldn’t see a thing. The gale force wind was blowing the snow straight at them. They huddled closer together for some warmth and protection from the unrelenting elements. Here at the summit there was absolutely no shelter or protection at all.

Then, just audible above the growing noise of the storm, they heard their Sergeant shout,

“Right men, grab your kit, pick up your rifles, turn around and start marching.”

“Where are we going Sarge,” shouted one of the soldiers.

“What do you mean, ‘Where are we going? down this bloody hill of course. Where do you think we are headed, sunny Blackpool!”

“But why are we marching down this hill Sarge?” shouted Private Timkins.

“Because we’ve been told to,” bellowed the Sergeant, “but don’t you worry lads, the army knows what it’s doing.”

So they marched another 12 hours through the unrelenting weather, all ten thousand of them. They did this because the army told them to. The grand old Duke might have known why, but he wasn’t telling them.





Now that I'm retired I have more time to devote to writing my blog and creating short stories.

9 thoughts on “The Grand Old Duke Of York

  1. Oh, that was funny. And you did an amazing job of taking the old rhyme and placing it in a modern context. I could well believe there are many, many good servicemen and women who could relate to this tale of caution. Thanks for the mention and am I glad that you have been inspired. More stories please…


    1. Thanks for you comments Pen.
      I do hate it when someone plants another idea into my already overworked head!
      A drabble about WHY? Now there’s an interesting challenge.


  2. I think this Grand Duke of York is a jerk. Trying to see, terrifying, like he has this army at his disposal but doesn’t have much idea what he should do with them. Poor men!


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