Song Title Challenge #2: The Mountains of Mourne – Percy French

It’s time for this week’s Song Title Challenge.

Write a short piece of fiction, around 300 words, using the song title as your story title but don’t listen to the song.  Remember to link back to this post so I can find yours.

If you would like to suggest a song title for a future post, you can do so from the challenge page.  You can also leave a suggestion on the Facebook page.

This week’s song is The Mountains of Mourne by Irish musician, Percy French.  The best-known recording is by Don McLean.

The Mountain of Mourn

“He’s gone to the Mountain.”

That’s what Mother told me that chilly November morning when I asked where Grandpa was.  I thought nothing of it, but then, I was six.  The Mountain was a giant granite dome that dominated the skyline to the south.  Men went there every day, carrying all manner of tools.  They came back every night.  Grandpa didn’t.

It was many years before I found out what went on there.

One day I innocently asked Mother, “When can I go to the Mountain?”

She almost fainted.  That’s when she sat me down and explained.  Only certain people could go to the Mountain, she said.  Only the Chosen.  I did not quite understand.  It sounded very important to be Chosen, but I noticed that people never seemed to want to go.  They cried, and hugged, and then the Chosen would go to the Mountain, their loved ones looking sadly after them.  On those days the men did not go there, but sat in the tavern drinking ale and talking softly, as if scared of disturbing the dead.

Eventually Mother was also Chosen.  She smiled, and said what an honour it was, but I now knew what happened at the Mountain.  I went hunting early that morning.  By the time I got back she had already left.  I joined the others at the alehouse.  No one spoke to me that day.

As I had served many years on the council, the alderman himself came to tell me I had been Chosen.  He called it an honour, my civic duty, using the same empty words I had used so many times during my tenure.  I looked into his eyes and saw the acknowledgement that we both knew the truth.

Thank the gods my family was already dead.  There were no goodbyes.  There were no tears.  I left before dawn.

I knew if anyone asked, they’d simply be told, “He’s gone to the Mountain.”

Copyright © 2012 Herman Kok