Almost Rich And Famous


These days of on-line research into genealogy
Have dug up stories strange and true from people's family tree.
And we've got stories from our past, but now can't prove a thing.
Some forebears owned big real estate, another saved a king.

Now one branch of the family came from Norway years ago;
Their name was pretty hard to say for English speakers, so
When some of them migrated to escape from Norway's cold,
They changed their name a bit, but not official, so we're told.

They owned a castle in Norway, just for the family's use,
But sadly, that lot all died out, they didn't reproduce;
The migrants all were thriving well, but couldn't prove their claim,
They hadn't told the powers that be they'd changed their family name!

We might all be related to some medieval knight
Who rode around his castle with his armour shining bright.
But maybe it's as well it's lost, I mean it, that's no joke,
With heritage and preservation upkeep we'd be broke.

And early on in England, some three hundred years ago
A royal barge was on the Thames, His Majesty on show.
Now I'm not sure what happened, but the king fell in the drink
With all his royal regalia on, and he began to sink.

The watching crowd was horrified; then from the river bank
A Chapman dived in, so the king was saved before he sank.
The king was ever grateful, and he had a medal struck
With Chapman's name imprinted there for showing so much pluck.

My father's uncle told me this not long before he died
How he had been on army leave, and with a touch of pride,
Related how in England, had this medal in his hand,
But left it there for fear of loss when in a foreign land.

When war was finished, uncle thought, he'd maybe have the chance
To pick the medal up when they were coming home from France.
When World War 1 was over though, straight back to Oz they came,
And so another chance was lost to make a claim to fame.

So we were almost rich and famous, judging by these tales,
And though we have no proof now, family folklore still prevails.
And we might be related to a brave man's rotting bones,
Or could have had a castle that the government now owns.

I haven't got a medal now to prove we saved a king
But I know that a King saved me; and here's another thing.
A medieval castle by some cold Norwegian fjord
Is not to be compared with being home with Christ the Lord.

© Tom Chapman 2007