Author Topic: Outer Gates  (Read 1416 times)

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Outer Gates
« on: January 27, 2006, 06:53:11 AM »
The Poem
Watch your step on planks of wood,
For six by six will get you good.


A children\'s rhyme that is usually chanted by girls who skip hand in hand down the street. Like most nursery rhymes this little poem has a deeper meaning.

The Drawbridge
The first line of the poem talks of the drawbridge that lowers at sunrise to let merchants and travellers in - as long as the guards stationed at the front gates, (one by each side of the large doorway) like the look of you enough to let you pass. (Two stand by the portcullis, though out of sight of most the folk who are entering the castle walls).

The drawbridge is then raised when the sun sets, and lowers for nobody after this time, whether someone wants to go in or out, this rule is by King\'s order. Of course the exception would be for the King himself - but this is the way it has worked for centuries, and it suits them fine.

The \'watch your step\' comes about from the fact that the drawbridge is rather narrow. It is wide enough to fit a carriage pulled by two horses side by side. Anything wider would simply not be allowed in. This is because anything wider would not fit through the narrow streets within the castle anyway - so it was a prudent solution to stop such vehicles from entering in the first place.

The Ditch
The second line of the poem describes the ditch that travels all the way around the castle. It is six foot deep and six foot wide, not filled with water so that whatever falls into it has a fairly good chance of breaking their neck. Every now and then a stray farm animal falls in and is either saved or destroyed depending on whether it is wounded and how badly so. Sometimes wayward children break limbs in there.

The ditch used to have pikes set into the ground as a means of war, but centuries of not being attacked has seen such things get removed (for the sake of wayward children mentioned above) and the castle feeling somewhat complacent. However, the number of guards is a healthy dose of manpower in favour of castle protection, so nobody feels the pikes are necessary.