Knoch, not immediately seeing where the Ogre Stomp was taking place, decided to ask after it’s location at one of the food stalls within the Market Square.
“You’ll find it outside the smithy on the High St. Just go down that road there, with the grocers hall on your right, and the smithy will be on your left", came the reply from the jolly and somewhat rotund goodwife.
Following her directions he makes his way to the Red Dog Smithy. Outside the Smithy a mutton chopped man has ‘the ogre stomp’ all set up. A weight is placed on one end of a board set over a pivot and in a groove on a split log that runs some 10 feet up to a bell with three different colours brightly painted along the groove noting degrees of success. People are being given a wooden mallet to strike the board and try to ring the bell.
“Step on up, boys! No girl likes a noodle-armed weakling. Let’s see your strength!”
Knoch smiled at the man and replied, in a boastful tone,
“I’ll ring that bell so loud they’ll hear it in Tickwood”.
“Big talk from a big man, lets shee if your muscles match your mouth, though it’ll cost you 5sp to prove your strength to theesh good folk”
Despite the early hour of the day it’s clear from the slurred nature of his reply the man is well in his cups already.
The young lad, who looks to be trying to impress the young girl with him, pays his money, lifts the mallet above his head and swings it down, the stone leaves the ground, but only moves up 3/4 the way up the red stripe.
“Desna weeps lad, if your trying to impressh Jessy there you went about it all wrong, my grandmother could do better and she’s been dead 20 years”
This draws a few sniggers from the on watchers.
Knoch, confident that he won’t be adding to those sniggers, hands over the cash, takes the mallet from the young man and says
“Step back if you want to keep your head on your shoulders”.
He takes a wide stance and swings the mallet in a slow easy arc, accelerating the action once it’s past the zenith trying to hit the pivot as squarely and firmly as he can. The swing is hard and timed to perfection, so much so the weight flies up and not only strikes the bell, but knocks it off.
Das, somewhat fuming, berates Knoch
“The goal is to ring the bell, not break it you great oaf, it’ll take me ages to fix thish, do you know how much money you’ll lose me. Give this to shome doxy, sure she’ll be impresshed, ya big lug”
He begrudgingly gives Knoch his prize of a cute stuffed toy.