One Tin Soldier Update

Growing up in the wholesome, yet free wheeling 1970s, I was able to enjoy many things that would seem unheard of, to those who grew up in the increasingly conservative, and extremist 1980s and 1990s.

One of these things was great hippie songs and movies, like The Legend of Billy Jack and the song One Tin Soldier, which we learnt in music class in grade three. This hippie classic song, along with others such It’s a Small World after All, and Put Your Hand in the Hand, and I’d like to Teach the World To Sing, insured a generation of children would grow knowing all about the hopes, and dreams that exemplified Hippie philosophy.

I was one of those children and really, really got it all. Love, peace, harmony- it all made sense to me. It makes sense as well, that after a couple of decades of hippie like drug use, and yuppie like drug treatment, I emerged as a clean and sober animal rights activist and social, environmental activist that I am today. Our childhood really marks us, and this song marked me more than any other.

This song, with its chilling, terrifying and timeless message, and grim, sad yet wise outlook stuck in my heart. Recently I found it again and returned to my childhood, that golden age of innocence, hope, and growing political and social clouds, which were to prove, once again, the truth in it’s lyrics: the sad reality that spans from Jesus’ life, and death, to today’s sad legacy of economic austerity, environmental devestation, envy, cruelty, and greed is good ethics, inequality, injustice,

I have changed the ending as it does ring the most true for me. Feel free to put your own ending in it as many can apply.

Wisdom is simple, and so are human emotions. We need to understand that, and not let the power behind hate and ignorance stop us. This song may be chilling and sad, but the message is clear, and relevant. We are in a battle for our planet, our species and ourselves. Now more than ever, we need to understand this battle and work even harder to protect that we have, cherish and need.

One Tin Soldier (The Legend of Billy Jack)

by Dennis Lambert & Brian Potter, performed by The Original Caste (1970)
This song was performed by Jinx Dawson and Coven in the movie “Billy Jack” (1971)
( Last line changed and rewritten by Una Rose 2014, my apologies to the author)
( line changed is in italics- Una)

Listen, children, to a story
That was written long ago,
‘Bout a kingdom on a mountain
And the valley-folk below.

On the mountain was a treasure
Buried deep beneath the stone,
And the valley-people swore
They’d have it for their very own.

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of Heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won’t be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgement day,
On the bloody morning after….
One tin soldier rides away.

So the people of the valley
Sent a message up the hill,
Asking for the buried treasure,
Tons of gold for which they’d kill.

Came an answer from the kingdom,
“With our brothers we will share
All the secrets of our mountain,
All the riches buried there.”

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of Heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won’t be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgement day,
On the bloody morning after….
One tin soldier rides away.

Now the valley cried with anger,
“Mount your horses! Draw your sword!”
And they killed the mountain-people,
So they won their just reward.

Now they stood beside the treasure,
On the mountain, dark and red.
Turned the stone and looked beneath it…
“Peace on earth, a beautiful, clean healthy, just for all planet, love for animals, each other, and a healthy, vegan lifestyle and diet for all” is all it said

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of Heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won’t be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgement day,
On the bloody morning after….
One tin soldier rides away.

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