The Snowdon Bummer

© 2007 Jeff Lynch
(dedicated to all those present at Frondeg on that night)

It was a moonless night and the fire was gloamly twinkling bright,
When Geraint took breath amidst his drink to, speak as youthful Bard.
Though still young, this man was most wise beyond his tender years,
And in truth that night of June was tender too in Beddgelert.
He drank and paused in drama then, to face the folks that summer,  
‘Say did you ever hear the truthful story of The Snowdon Bummer?’

The fire was all a embered up, the Welsh blood was likewise fiery.
The night closed in, but welcome glasses swelled those true Celtic hearts.
And Geraint had judged a timely time for a tale of death and some gory.
He looked around and tossed his glass, and drew heavy on his butt end fag.
‘You will all of you remember fifty one, and the Yanks who came to town.’
He kicked the logs and studied sparks and then watched them tumble down.

‘Nineteen fifty one was the year, Klutz, Payne and Spurm Incorporated
Came to drill their bloody holes that no one asked for; no one wanted.’            
Some people nodded here when Geraint uttered soft his sagely words.
‘I met Jackson, Bollock, Junior there that hard and wicked winter.
And yet not one of these saintly listeners would openly declare
That their youthful, glinting Bard could never, never have been there.

‘Yeah that’s right, Bollock and Truman Wilson Snow the company’s man,
They were clunking noisily in the field downstream from the footbridge.
When I asked them what their caper was, they spoke in words ten feet long.
Our earnest Bard then lit another cigarette from a faggot off the fire.
Their words were like the railway station signs in bloody Northern Wales.
Geraint again drew breath, and smoke and fire and continued with his tale.

‘Harris Haines Senior, he up and joined us, and bossly pointed to the ground,
Don’t listen to these locals lads, ah sure as hell they know no better now,
And we can’t be wasting time for Klutz, Payne and Spurm Incorporated.
Holes are hard to find for good dough and in Gwynedd we’ve got it made.
That’s the godamn spot so dig her deep, dig diamondly deep you mothers,
We have to finish it by Spring and then move and do the godamn others.’  

‘Now these hard working Yankees hailed from Columbus town Ohio,
They had ideas on copper mines and almost anything on the go.
They said you gotta turn a dollar quick and spoke corporation speak.
They slugged down Kentucky bourbon and spent money awful quick.
They had these boring theories, which would surely make them rich,
They taught the Welsh how to mine and said life could be a bitch.
‘These fine ole Yankee engineers they broke the frosted, brittle ground
And placed all their smart new drills, in good order all around.
They drilled for many, many weeks and nothing was there found.
While thirteen wizard Welshmen met at The Saracen in solid secrecy,
And it was wise old Emrys who spat and was most rudely spoken.
These Yankees neither know nor care, if our Gwynedd lore be broken’ 

‘Now the boyhos passed the hat around, raising almost thirty pounds,
It was said that none could sleep until we’d saved our sheep from
These boring Yankee bastards from that boring Columbus town,
I joined the Yanks at the Goat, and I shouted Truman, Wilson Snow  
A bottle of fine Kentucky with the bounty of the thirty quid collected.
Quickly then, the Ohio men tossed it down as I their minds infected.’

‘When the time was ripe and so were they, I took Mister Snow aside.
Do all you guys realize that the Snowdon Bummer is on the loose again?
The devil you did say? Unsteady on his pins by now, Truman Wilson Snow
Was reeling round, for seven shots of bourbon booze had found his brain.
Who or what, did you say? And who the hell’s this lowdown slummer?
‘Repeating then to Mister Snow I said no, I said the Snowdon Bummer.’

He roams the heights of Yr Wyffa in summer months; come winter he’s
Too cold and hungry to stay up there on high, so he begins to plunder lower.’
As the fire crackled louder now, and Mems who had Dormouse warmly
Curled after studying a two litre bottle, of the best of Tesco red 
He leapt up close flames, with a dry red roar and a startling snorting cry.
‘Ah I hear him now, so loud and clear, the Snowdon Bummer is walking by.’

‘We all helped Mems down terraced steps’ he went off to seek bed’s succour,
‘The story turned back in again, to the doubting Yanks who began to wonder if
What they heard was bull or not, and after all bullshit was their private game.
You don’t say, said Harris Haines, ah we kinda think that you’re shitting us.
You know we did not come down in the latest torrent of Snowdon rain.
And Harris looked around with arrogance, ah Harris master of all terrains.’

‘Nothing lost, but something surely gained, the Ohio men went off to bed.
Morning came and went next day with light and reason in clear prevail,
But new seeds can lie dormant when watered in mid winter’s foxy lights.
The night came down with some wet winter mountain madness hard on by.
At the Royal Goat, the Ohio men were safe abed when a Welsh voice did bell.
Oh Christ save me was the cry, the Bummer’s got me, oh my bloody hell.’

‘It was the haunting voice of Hwyll Davies, employed by the Yankee bosses.
The company roused, they diligently searched the pub; searched all the grounds,
But nary a single hair or hide of Hwyll Davies was there ever, ever found.
Hwyll had simply vanished, like last night’s grog or the morning dew.
No soul could properly tell where he had gone; none was prepared to say,
If Hwyll had taken the Mickey; or in the night, had been stolen right away.’
‘Missing person missing sleep, there was a rustle now all around the nervous
Company Incorporated of the men from Ohio, of Klutz, Payne and Spurm.
The watch while they worked the gloomy winter days was markedly increased.
The evenings dropped like palls of deathly stalling laughter around the company.
And mornings saw more wrinkles as villagers pointed out a twinkling light,
Upon Moel Hebog’s flanks; they called the light, the Bummer’s guide by night.’
‘That that night we tied a battery light around a roaming billy’s head and
It walked the hills at night because the light hanging there confused the goat.
Cry beware your arses, for the Bummer he is father’s ruin he’s all son’s grief,
He’ll take us from behind and it’s not for nought he’s called the grim reaper. 
Ah he attacks without mercy, God help us and he will only take a man.
Flee you Yankees while you can, run away, run while you’re still a man.’ 

‘Foreman Snow was all the go, for he was keen to build up a brigade.
We’ll give him hell he shall not return, we’ll do for this renegade
Then Mems spoke up; boyho he said I was once a Welsh fusilier.
The village lads were quickly turned out, at nineteen quid a week.
Most of them had not had a job, since Adam reached his peak.

The lads they drilled and waited long, and they slowed the goat right down,
For they would not sool the Bummer on, while the money was in town. 
Once more the Yanks saw the light which tracked the mountain sides,
And then a scream pierced the foggy air and down Craig y Llan’s screes.
It spelt the death of all those Yankee holes, of all their money schemes.
They said farewells, and promptly packed up all their drill machines.

The firelight shifts with a flicker, with some of the Welsh at hard liquor,
The night is sweet on the air in June; the summer, two thousand and seven.
And some will say that there is simply no way the Snowdon Bummer
Can rule night dreams, in the mind of any sane or reasonable being.
But I say it’s so and whether or no we continue to say this beast is a lie.
The Snowdon Bummer keeps the unwanted away, for his myth can never die.


Back to Tilkal, Issue 3, eJournal of Tol Harndor