Chailey Heritage School Old Scholars Association
BALTHASAR My name is Balthasar the fierce Whom all men dread but dare not curse. My nerves are iron, my heart stone My subjects live for war alone. War as I bid until I choose My subjects are the tools I use. My slaves to buckle on my steel To face the front and come to heel In war, from boyhood ‘til they die. My sergeants press each mother’s son Throughout my realm into my ranks To serve for blows instead of thanks. That is all I can remember but the words were meant not for me but a Bill Fraser. I first met Bill very early on in my Chailey time. We were both bedbound in adjoining beds on JBW. The first boy I had ever met. When we next met, we were on the school side at St Martins. It was the runup to Christmas and Bill had won or been given the role of Balthasar in the school Nativity play. I was so envious. Bill was in despair at having to learn so many lines... I was envious but offered to help him learn them. I loved them. I would recite a line and Bill would repeat it, and this went on for two or three days. I loved the rhythm but Bill couldn’t find it. It stopped after a week. I don’t think Bill cared, but I was so envious. I wanted a part in the Nativity play… well I wouldn’t have minded being one of the three wise men. Alas, I was to be disappointed… I was to be the innkeeper’s wife and had FIVE words to say. Came the day of the Nativity play in St Martin’s Chapel… I was determined that my insignificant role would stand out. Wrapped in full-length callipers and a heavy brace with my crutches, hardly wearing anything that suggested an innkeeper’s wife, I uttered my few words. Mary and Joseph had been directed to the stable, the Christ child had been born, and I uttered my line… “How was I to know?” in my lovely thick Devonshire accent accompanied by the clanking of all the metal that kept me upright and moving. I blushed as a ripple of laughter went around the congregation. I should have been a king. I have often wondered what happened to Bill he seemed to disappear from the school.
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