The Sugar Quill
Author: James Bow (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Man of Constant Sorrow  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.


Author's Note: there is no point to this story. It's pure, twisted fluff. This is a rather odd little songfic that somehow entered my mind and kept on plaguing me until I let it out. So, now, I inflict it upon you. Enjoy!


Snape was striding through the halls of Hogwarts when he heard the babble of inhuman voices around the next corner.

First years, he thought.

"A talent show?" said one of the voices.

"As if we don't have enough to worry about! I'm not going on stage!"

"I don't know. Talent shows can be fun. I've wanted to do a bit of singing, myself."

"You sing? That's a laugh! What next? Snape?"

"Snape singing at a talent show. Now there's an image!"

As Snape bolted around the corner at that very moment, he chalked up another small victory for himself. Judging from the screams of the students, he'd reinforced his reputation.

He glared and kept his voice low. "How dare you show disrespect to a teacher, just because you don't think he's within earshot. Five points from -" He glanced over the group, trying to identify the house. "-Hufflepuff!"


He continued without missing a beat. "Now go, and watch what you say in the future!"

The students nodded and scampered off.

He stared after them, long after they disappeared up a flight of stairs, musing over what had just happened. He'd drawn points from Hufflepuff. Hufflepuff. Taking points from them was like kicking a puppy, only less fun.

He looked at the poster that had so absorbed the student's attention. It announced a talent show in the Great Hall that Saturday. There was a sign-up sheet at the bottom. He looked back in the direction the students had gone.

The students were laughing at the thought of him, on stage, performing before an audience.

And why not? It was simply idiotic. He was too straight-laced. To dour. If he smiled, his cheeks would crack. All the students knew that. He made sure they knew that. And it seems that he'd done his job well... even the Hufflepuffs saw him as nothing more than a sour man who hadn't an ounce of fun in his body. It was a basic assumption.

Snape hated assumptions. Once students could assume something was true, they could count on it, and channel their energies elsewhere.

Snape looked back at the poster.

Minutes later, Draco Malfoy was chuckling with his henchmen Crabbe and Goyle, when they sensed a shadow falling over them. They looked up and swallowed hard.

"Malfoy. Crabbe. Goyle," said Snape. "Come with me."


"I can't believe I let you drag me to this talent show," Hermione fumed. "I'm missing vital Potions revision time!"

"You need to relax," said Harry. "You've been driving yourself insane with revision all week."

"And what better way to relax than laughing at the poor sods who got roped into performing at the talent show!" Ron put in.

"Ron!" said Harry. "That's not why I'm here!"

"It's why I'm here!"

The Great Hall was half filled with students, the half of the student body that came to support, taunt or simply watch as the other half of the student body made complete fools of themselves, with varying degrees of success. It was a jovial atmosphere, as many were relieved to take a break from studies, and some of the acts were actually pretty good.

Lavender blew out her flaming wands, bowed and left the stage to a good round of applause. Her dress was only slightly singed.

"I wonder who's next," said Harry.

"I don't believe it," said Ron. "It's Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle!"

Hermione's gaze shot up from her book. "What?!"

"It is!" said Harry. "What are they holding in their hands?"

Hermione peered closer in her seat. "I think they're banjos."

"Goyle's got a fiddle," said Ron.

Draco, Crabbe and Goyle took their positions on the stage, looking nervously out at the crowd, flinching as some of the less restrained Gryffindor students gave a few cat calls. Then there was a whispered cue, and the three began to play. A jaunty bluegrass tune began.

The boys sang in unison: "In constant sorrow, all through his days!"

Then a light appeared on stage, illuminating Snape. He surveyed the crowd with a grim eye, opened his mouth, and began to sing with a perfect Texarkana accent.

"I am a man of constant sorrow
I've seen trouble all my days!
I bid farewell to old Kentucky
The place where I was born and raised.

"The place were he was born and raised," added Draco, Crabbe and Goyle.

"For six long years I've been in trouble,
No pleasure here on earth I find.
For in this world I'm bound to ramble
I have no friends to help me now!"

"He has no friends, to help him now," added Snape's backup singers.

The Great Hall had fallen utterly silent. Everyone was staring in shock. Snape continued his song.

"It's fare thee well to my true lover
I never expect to see you again.
For I'm bound to ride that Northern railroad
Perhaps I'll die upon this train!"

"Perhaps he'll die upon this train," added Draco, Crabbe and Goyle.

"You can bury me in some deep valley
For many years where I may lay.
Then you may learn to love another
While I am sleeping in my grave"

"While he is sleeping, in his grave," sang Draco, Crabbe and Goyle.

Then Draco, looking paler than usual, launched into a solo on his banjo, somehow staying calm under Snape's watching eye. Goyle added his own notes with his fiddle. They didn't miss a note. Snape had made sure of that over eight hours of thorough practise. Once the interlude was over, Snape turned back to the audience, and launched into the last verse.

"Maybe your friends think I'm just a stranger;
My face you'll never see no more.
But there is one promise that is given:
I'll meet you on God's golden shore!"

"He'll meet you on God's golden shore!" Draco, Crabbe and Goyle completed the set. The music stopped. There was a moment's stunned silence. Then the Great Hall erupted in cheers. Every Slytherin there rose up and gave Snape a standing ovation. They were slowly joined by the Hufflepuffs and the Ravenclaws.

The Gryffindors just stared, their jaws supported by the floor.

Snape smiled. His cheeks didn't crack. "I always wanted to do that."

Then the lights went off the stage.


Author's Note: the best version of this song is off of the O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack. And, if you really want an image to torment you, try picturing Snape doing that 'chicken dance' move that George Clooney does in the movie.

Mind you, I do think Alan Rickman could pull this off...

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