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Ah, the Wendies. Yes. Here we go.
The idea for The Wendy Trilogy hit me in a hotel room in Portland, OR, in July of 2005, just after I'd performed at the Faerie Worlds festival for the first time, and it didn't let go until two months later, when I'd reemerged from the desert and my first Burning Man experience, in Carson City, Nevada. I finally completed the trilogy and had the tune figured out on the same day, and I performed it later that evening for a very receptive crowd.
The whole creation period comprised many weeks of writing madly in a journal, skipping meals, and just generally being ridden by a gang of preteen pirate girls and pixies. Well worth it. Green-eyed Sue has started knocking on my skull again recently, implying with an impish look that I'm not done telling stories about her. Well, then.
I will sing you pirate songs and tell you pirate stories
of Wendy when she'd had her fill of Peter Pan and the other Lost Boys
Now, Wendy never was a girl to go against her friends
But recall when Hook had kidnapped her and promised no good end
Surrounded then by pirates and asked to join the crew,
the story goes she told them no, but not all tales are true!
Wouldn't she rather climb the rigging and wield a cutlass bright,
Wouldn't she rather have her own sweet say o'er wrong and right?
"Your decision, girl," says Hook. "You think you'll pass the test?"
The scurvy crew are sniggering, but Wendy answers "Yes!
You set me any task, old man, and watch me see it through.
You've never known the likes of piracy a girl can do!"
Old Hook, bemused, set Smee to draw a contract, then and there
"Survive, and you're my daughter," says he, "succeed, and you're my heir."
Says Wendy then, "I'll sign, but captain, just be sure you know:
break your word and it's straight to retirement or down to the croc you go!"
Says Hook, "you see you do the same, my girl, no secret plans!
If e'er I find you scheming with that rascal Peter Pan,
it's down to the croc you'll go yourself, or a likewise watery grave!"
But Wendy simply shakes his hand, resolving to be brave.
Says Captain Hook, "I keep my word." Says Wendy, "we shall see."
She signs the scroll Red-Handed Jill and hands it back to Smee.
She sets her jaw and binds her hair, a girl no longer free.
Well, Hook thought he had Wendy, and he thought he'd break her yet.
He set her first to scrubbing pots and swabbing every deck.
"Before you learn the pirate life, you'll do the work that's worst;
we'll not have you soft, Jill. You'll know hunger, work, and thirst!"
So up the deck and down the deck Red-handed Jill did toil
for Hook would never have a future daughter known as spoiled.
She cooks, she cleans, grows strong and lean, and every night she cries.
For old Hook's men keep up their jeers the harder that she tries.
Well it didn't take long, as we knew 'twould be, for Peter Pan to learn
of Wendy's state, and he strove to knock old Hook a nasty turn.
He comes to rescue Wendy, steals out to the ship by night,
and he dries her tears most gallantly in the full moon's yellow light.
"Let's go back to the forest" says brave Peter with a smile.
"Your brothers truly miss you, as the Lost Boys do, and I."
How Wendy longs to take his hand! But she must shake her head.
The tears return; she takes a breath to say what must be said.
"I'm bound to stay here, Peter, and to learn among Hook's men
until such time as they decide to call me one of them."
Peter Pan, he smacks his head to clear his silly ears.
He can't believe what Wendy says, not a word of what he hears!
"But Wendy" Peter says, "This ship is not where you belong!"
Wendy cries "This ship is mine, and Peter Pan is wrong!
Old Hook forgot his mother; well, I'll not forget my own.
It's she who gave me courage and first told me to be strong.
Like you, I'll use my cunning and survive to see the dawn.
And when this scurvy crew's in hand, I'll set a course for home!"
She winks at Peter then, in hopes he'll understand her game,
but Peter flies just out of reach and quickly places blame.
Says Pan, "You have betrayed me. Hook has stolen you away.
And so, I wish you joy of him, until your dying day!"
Says Wendy, "very well, Pan, though I'll never wish you ill.
See that you steer clear of your enemy, Red-handed Jill!"
Peter flies away, a furious star against the black
and Wendy squares her shoulders, though she feels her young heart crack.
“Without our songs and stories, we are nothing.” S. J. Tucker has been captain of her own music career since 2004, when she
left the workaday world behind to sing songs and change lives. Tucker is the voice of lore at the campfire and the sharp laughter of modern myth. With one hand anchored in her art and the other held out to us, she is songs and stories, community and wit....more