Tell me a story, grandpa, she said
You want a story, my child?

I have lived a long time
seen many countries, many people
traveled the world,
seen much love in my life

I have learned that I know
Even when I don't know that I know
I know where to put the next step
I know when it's going to rain, sometimes
and sometimes I know when it's not going to rain

You want a story, my child
it is an old story
a very old story of before they had cars
computers, planes, telephones

It is a story of an army that marched
that marched for a man who had every right to be king
except his brother had the throne

They marched and they fought battles
and every battle they won
and they marched on and on and on
from village to city to village and on

One day they could see the fair city
the capital where the emperor lived
they could see a great army in front of the city
they feared, but they too were a great army

That day they fought and they fought in the sun
They wounded, they killed, they were wounded, were killed
They fought on their horses, they fought on their chariots
they fought with swords, and spears, and arrows

All day they fought, but the enemy was too strong
before sunset the ones still alive
retreated at first, and then started running

It is a sad story, my child, for they had lost
they ran from the battle, they ran from the winners
they ran and they ran and they ran
and they stopped in exhaustion, rested and ran again

They looked at each other, there were few of them left
the man who would be king was dead
their general, defeated, knew not what to do
some had their weapons, some did not

They took counsel, they tried to guess
what the other army would do
They took the way home,
and walked, and walked, and walked on.

One bright sunny day they spotted some blue
the sea!  the sea!  we're back at the sea!
no more desert, we're safe from the army
soon we'll be home.

They came home one day,
dispersed to their villages
they were not returning heroes
they had seen battles
but they were glad to be home
and to sleep in their beds.

By then the child was alseep
dreaming of battles, and heroes, and kings
of a sea in the distance
of being home, asleep in one's bed.