So as we were singing Johnny of Brady’s Lea tonight, my daughter pointed out some rather disturbing math.
See, when the silly old man runs to the king’s foresters, and tells on Johnny? Seven men hear him out, and they ride, and it’s seven men who show up to arrest Johnny there.
And our man Johnny? Well…
Johnny shot six of them,
And the seventh he wounded sore.
Okay? He was a badass. A bona fide, poaching badass. Because “Monymusk” puts this ballad at around the mid-nineteenth century, and Johnny was a poacher, not a nobleman. Which means this one badass dude probably shot six and wounded a seventh forester with a muzzle-loading rifle and at best a couple of crappy pistols.
Badass. Just saying.
But here’s what Lili found troubling. Johnny shot six foresters and wounded the seventh, right?
So explain to us this verse:
Johnny rode his great grey mare to a thicket in the wood
He’s left behind a blood-red trail,
And they shot him where he stood, they shot him where he stood.
See the problem? Six men down. Seventh wounded.
Who is, my daughter wants to know, this “they” the verse is talking about? Which they? Who they? Even if that seventh forester managed to stagger up and ride after him, how is there a “they” shooting Johnny? Right?
Anyway, we figured it out. Zombies. Zombie foresters. Which also explains the significance of the blood-red trail, we figure. I mean, at that point with blood everywhere, discovery by zombies was pretty much inevitable. Next time, cross a fucking river or something.
Meanwhile about this last line:
And they shot him where he stood…
Clearly there was no shooting. There was dragging from his grey mare and devouring. Seriously. I don’t know, man. Anyway, this is the lost last verse of Johnny of Brady’s Lea and the Zombie Foresters of Aberdeenshire:
Now Johnny’s great big bow is broke
And all his brains are et
The zombies gae to Monymusk
To sup on all they met, to sup on all they met.