My father told me a story
about a story he wrote.
It was story about a statue,
a famous one, 
that has stood for hundreds of years
in the marketplace of his boyhood home.

Roland was a paladin of Charlemagne,
a knight brave and true,
worthy of Arthur's round table.
My father saw this statue every day,
it was a fixture in his life
that inspired games and daydreams;
when he was a teenager
it inspired a great story.

Deep in the night,
Roland awoke; 
he raised his sword,
stepped off his pedestal,
and went off to observe 
the sleeping town of Bremen
as it had observed him for centuries.
He patrolled the circumference
and moved through the inner streets,
peeping through windows,
marveling at the changes.
He radiated strength and honor,
so much that when a passing thief
crossed his path in a hasty getaway,
the mere sight of Roland
dropped him to his knees in a dead faint,
and when he woke he was a changed man.
A boy watching from a window saw everything.
He knew everyone would say he'd been dreaming,
so he never said a word.
The night dwindled toward dawn
and Roland went back 
to keep watch in the square.

My father was proud of his story.
His teacher liked it so much
that he asked if he could borrow it
to show to some colleagues.
My father agreed.
The Nazis came,
his teacher disappeared,
and his story was never seen again.

We used to have a little bronze replica
of the statue of Roland when I was a child.
My father told me this story one day
when I asked him about it.
My father never forgot the story or his home, 
even though he left not long after,
never to set foot on German soil again.
I sometimes wonder if Roland remembers
my father and that nighttime stroll
as he continues his watch over Bremen.

~Elise Skidmore ©2022

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  1. That is a wonderful and touching story. Thank you for sharing it and I will always remember your dad he was a great person and honored to know him.