Living Lore: Marcia Meara’s ‘Rabbit’ tells the tale of Boojum and Hootin’ Annie

The Tale of Boojum and Hootin’ Annie
Appalachian Mountains Folk Tale

An Excerpt From Wake-Robin Ridge Book 4 (Coming this Fall)

Thank you, Miz Sue, for lettin’ me come by today, and meet your friends.

My name’s Rabbit*. Well, that ain’t my real name, of course, but it’s what I been called near-bout all my life. (I’m eleven, now.) This here’s a story my gran told me ‘bout Boojum and Hootin’ Annie. My mama’s a writer, an’ she wrote it down ‘zactly the way I told it to her an’ my daddy last Halloween, an’ this here’s what she wrote:

“Who’s that supposed to be, Rabbit?”

“Boojum.”

“Who?”

Rabbit’s mouth dropped open, and he gaped at Mac, pumpkin carving forgotten in his amazement.

“You ain’t heard ‘bout Boojum?”

Mac shook his head.

“Nor Hootin’ Annie, neither?”

Another shake of the head from Mac.

“But you been comin’ to these here mountains since you was younger’n me!”

“I sure have, and I’ve learned a lot of things, but Boojum and . . .?”

“Hootin’ Annie.”

“. . . and Hootin’ Annie are not among the many things I’ve heard about.”

“Then I reckon I better get busy an’ fill you in on the story, the way my gran told it to me.” He gave Mac his most impish grin. “Can’t have me knowin’ more’n you do, can we?”

Watching Mac with our adopted son, Rabbit, was always a treat. The two of them had bonded more closely than I had ever dared to hope, and their relationship grew stronger every day. I requested a short delay while I put the baby down for the night, then rejoined my men.

“Now then, Rabbit. What’s all this about Boojum and Hootin’ Annie?”

Rabbit’s eyes danced. “Oka-aay, Mama. I’m gonna tell you, but I better not be gettin’ into no trouble ’bout this. Boojum weren’t . . . wasn’t . . .  always so nice all the time. Leastways, not before he met Annie. Just don’t blame me none for what he used to do.”

We promised we’d never hold Rabbit responsible for anyone else’s behavior, so without further ado, he slid off his stool and paced around the kitchen, excited to be the one telling us something new, instead of the other way around.

“Well, now. This is what my gran told me. I got no way of knowin’ how much is true, but my gran knew lots of stuff ‘bout these here mountains, an’ this here’s what she said.” He cleared his throat, enjoying the drama. “There was once this man named Boojum. Or maybe he wasn’t really no man at all. Folks who seen him used to say he looked more like half man, half bear, on account of he was so hairy, an’ wild lookin’. Gran said some people thought he looked more like a giant raccoon. Me, I always figgered those folks mighta been hittin’ the moonshine a bit. But whether he was really a man or somethin’ else altogether, everybody who seen Boojum agreed that he was hairy—an’ scary. An’ mostly, everybody ran away when they seen him, too.

“Now, the only thing people ever found out about Boojum was that he liked two things more’n anything else in the world. Sparkly jewels, like rubies an’ such, and spyin’ on pretty women when they were skinny-dippin’ or bathin’.”

Rabbit paused, eyes on me as he waited for my reaction.

“Um, did Boojum do anything other than spy?” I asked.

Rabbit shook his head. “Ain’t nobody ever said nothin’ about him doin’ more than that. Least, Gran never said so, an’ she probably wouldn’t have told me about Boojum at all, if she’d thought he’d done anything too awful bad.”

“Okay, then let’s hear the rest.”

He grinned, gesturing in excitement as he proceeded with his tale. “Okay, so Boojum, he had him a cave somewhere, filled with rubies, an’ jewels, an’ maybe even gold, only nobody ever found out where it was. Gran said lots of people tried, but ain’t nobody found it to this very day. Only time anyone ever spotted him was when they looked up an’ seen him peekin’ through the bushes at different ladies, like I told you. But then one day, Boojum come upon Annie, bathin’ in a stream, and you’ll never guess what happened.”

By now, Rabbit was all but ricocheting off the kitchen cabinets, and his delighted excitement was contagious.

“I’ll bite,” Mac said. “What happened, Rabbit?”

“Boojum went an’ fell in love, that’s what happened!”

His enthusiasm for this tale had pulled me in. “What? This wild, hairy man fell in love?”

“He did, Mama! He took one look at Hootin’ Annie, and that was it for ol’ Boojum. But this here’s the funnest part. Annie fell in love with him right back! Can you believe that? An’ the two of them run off together, and no one never did see them again.”

“Aw, that’s kind of sad isn’t it? I mean to never know what happened to them.”

Mac raised an eyebrow in my direction, then turned to Rabbit. “I agree with your Mama. So poor Boojum and Hootin’ Annie just disappeared, then? Lost and gone?”

“Oh, no. Nobody saw ‘em no more, but they knew they were out there, on account of they heard ‘em all the time. That there’s why she’s called Hootin’ Annie.”

I must have looked completely lost by then, because Rabbit sat down beside me, and explained. “See, right after they disappeared, all this hootin’ and hollerin’ commenced comin’ from the woods, at all kinda weird hours of the day an’ night. Didn’t take long before folks figgered out it was Annie, hootin’ at Boojum to get hisself home for dinner, an’ quit admirin’ all his rubies and diamonds in his secret cave. Gran said the hootin’ went on for years an’ years, and then one day, it stopped, real sudden-like, and they knew Hootin’ Annie wasn’t out there no more. An’ since they never again spotted no hairy ol’ man lookin’ at pretty women, they knew Boojum was gone, too.”

Mac’s eyebrows drew together as he digested that, and Rabbit leaned across to pat him on the arm. “Don’t be sad, Daddy. Ain’t nobody lives forever, an’ if the stories are true, Boojum an’ Hootin’ Annie had a real good time together for the rest of their lives.”

“That’s a good way to look at it. And thanks to those wonderful talks you had with your gran, I’ve learned about a story I never heard before.”

“It’s a pretty good ol’ tale, ain’t it?”

Mac tousled Rabbit’s hair. “It is, indeed, and you told it well, too. Now, I believe we’ve got some pumpkins to finish carving.”

*Rabbit is a character in Marcia’s Wake Robin Ridge series


Find and follow Marcia

The Write Stuff     Bookin’ It     Facebook    Pinterest

Amazon author page    Twitter @MarciaMeara

You can also reach Marcia by email: marciameara16@gmail.com or to keep up with the latest news and giveaways, sign up for Marcia’s Mail List.


About the author

Marcia Meara lives in central Florida, just north of Orlando, with her husband of over thirty years, two big cats, and two small dachshunds. When not writing or blogging, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard. At the age of five, Marcia declared she wanted to be an author, and is ecstatic that at age 69, she finally began pursuing that dream. Three and a half years and six novels later, she’s still going strong, and plans to keep on writing until she falls face down on the keyboard, which she figures would be a pretty good way to go!


Marcia Meara’s books are available via Amazon in print and for Kindle

Click the images or titles to visit Amazon.

Wake-Robin Ridgewrrnewsmall

Marcia Meara, author of Swamp Ghosts and Finding Hunter, has set Book One of her Wake-Robin Ridge series amid the haunting beauty of the North Carolina mountains, where ghosts walk, ancient legends abound, and things still go bump in the night.

“A PHONE RINGING AT 2:00 A.M. never means anything good. Calls at 2:00 A.M. are bad news. Someone has died. Someone is hurt. Or someone needs help.”

On a bitter cold January night in 1965, death came calling at an isolated little cabin on Wake-Robin Ridge. Now, nearly 50 years later, librarian Sarah Gray has quit her job and moved into the same cabin, hoping the peace and quiet of her woodland retreat will allow her to concentrate on writing her first novel. Instead she finds herself distracted by her only neighbor, the enigmatic and reclusive MacKenzie Cole, who lives on top of the mountain with his Irish wolfhound as his sole companion.

As their tentative friendship grows, Sarah learns the truth about the heartbreaking secret causing Mac to hide from the world. But before the two can sort out their feelings for each other, they find themselves plunged into a night of terror neither could have anticipated. Now they must unravel the horrifying events of a murder committed decades earlier. In doing so, they discover that the only thing stronger than a hatred that will not die is a heart willing to sacrifice everything for another.



abnrsmall
A Boy Named Rabbit: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 2

“Evil’s comin’, boy…comin’ fast. Look for the man with eyes like winter skies, and hair like a crow’s wing. He’s the one you gotta find.”

The remote mountain wilderness of North Carolina swallowed up the ten-year-old boy as he made his way down from the primitive camp where his grandparents had kept him hidden all his life. His dying grandmother, gifted with the Sight, set him on a quest to find the Good People, and though he is filled with fear and wary of civilization, Rabbit is determined to keep his promise to her. When he crosses paths with Sarah and MacKenzie Cole, neither their lives nor his, are ever the same again.

The extraordinary little boy called Rabbit has the power light up the darkness, and the resourcefulness to save himself from the one person his grandparents had hoped would never find him. His dangerous and bittersweet journey will touch you in unexpected ways, and once you’ve let Rabbit into your heart, you’ll never forget him.


Harbinger: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3final-harbinger-cover-at-25percent

“. . . he felt the wet slide of the dog’s burning hot tongue on his face, and the scrape of its razor sharp teeth against the top of his head. A white-hot agony of crushing pain followed, as the jaws began to close.”

The wine-red trillium that carpets the forests of the North Carolina Mountains is considered a welcome harbinger of spring—but not all such omens are happy ones. An Appalachian legend claims the Black Dog, or Ol’ Shuck, as he’s often called, is a harbinger of death. If you see him, you or someone you know is going to die.

But what happens when Ol’ Shuck starts coming for you in your dreams? Nightmares of epic proportions haunt the deacon of the Light of Grace Baptist Church, and bring terror into the lives of everyone around him. Even MacKenzie Cole and his adopted son, Rabbit, find themselves pulled into danger.

When Sheriff Raleigh Wardell asks Mac and Rabbit to help him solve a twenty-year-old cold case, Rabbit’s visions of a little girl lost set them on a path that soon collides with that of a desperate man being slowly driven mad by guilt.

As Rabbit’s gift of the Sight grows ever more powerful, his commitment to those who seek justice grows as well, even when their pleas come from beyond the grave.


Swamp Ghosts: A Riverbend Novelsgsmall

Marcia Meara, author of the popular Wake-Robin Ridge books, sets her second series in the sleepy little town of Riverbend, Florida, where the hungry creatures swimming in the dark waters of the St. Johns River aren’t nearly as dangerous as those walking along the quiet neighborhood streets.

Wildlife photographer Gunnar Wolfe looked like the kind of guy every man wanted to be and every woman just plain wanted, and the St. Johns River of central Florida drew him like a magnet. EcoTour boat owner Maggie Devlin knew all the river’s secrets, including the deadliest ones found in the swamps. But neither Maggie nor Gunn was prepared for the danger that would come after them on two legs.

On a quest to make history photographing the rarest birds of them all, Gunnar hires the fiery, no-nonsense Maggie to canoe him into the most remote wetland areas in the state. He was unprepared for how much he would enjoy both the trips and Maggie’s company. He soon realizes he wants more than she’s able to give, but before he can win her over, they make a grisly discovery that changes everything, and turns the quiet little town of Riverbend upside down. A serial killer is on the prowl among them.


Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2fhsmall

Before, I never thought about taking a life. Not once.
Now, the thought fills my mind day and night, and
I wonder how I’ll hide that terrible need,
As an old car swings to the shoulder,
And stops.

~ Traveling Man ~

Hunter Painter’s darkest fears have shaped his offbeat personality since he was a child, crippling him in ways invisible to those unable to see past his quiet exterior. In a sleepy Florida town known for its eccentric inhabitants, he’s always been a mystery to most.

Only one person sees beyond Hunter’s quirky facade. Willow Greene, the new age herbalist who owns the local candle and potpourri shop, has secretly loved him since they were in high school. When, sixteen years later, she discovers Hunter has loved her just as long, Willow hopes her dreams are finally coming true.

Willow soon learns that Hunter fears happiness at her side isn’t in the cards for him. With her natural optimism and courage, she almost convinces him he’s wrong—that they can really have that life together they both long for—but even Willow can’t stop what Hunter knows is coming.

One by one, his worst nightmares become reality, culminating in an unthinkable tragedy, which devastates everyone it touches. Willow’s battle begins in earnest as Hunter is plunged into a bleak, guilt-ridden despair, threatening to destroy not only their love, but Hunter, himself.

Finding Hunter is the story of a lost man’s desperate struggle to make his way home again, and one woman’s unshakeable faith in him and the power of their love.


That Darkest Place

“There are dark places in every heart, in every head. Some you turn away from. Some you light a candle within. But there is one place so black, it consumes all light. It will pull you in and swallow you whole. You don’t leave your brother stranded in that darkest place.”

~Hunter Painter~

The new year is a chance for new beginnings—usually hopeful, positive ones. But when Jackson Painter plows his car into a tree shortly after midnight on January 1, his new beginnings are tragic. His brothers, Forrest and Hunter, take up a grim bedside vigil at the hospital, waiting for Jackson to regain consciousness and anxious over how he’ll take the news that he’s lost a leg and his fiancée is dead. After all, the accident was all his fault.

As the shocking truth emerges, one thing becomes obvious—Jackson will need unconditional love and support from both of his brothers if he is to survive.

Just as he begins the long road to recovery, danger, in the form of a sinister, unsigned note, plunges him back into bleak despair. Scrawled in blood red letters, the accusation—and the threat—is clear. “MURDERER!”

Will the long, harrowing ordeal that lies ahead draw the Painter brothers closer together, or drive them apart forever?

Suspenseful and often heartbreaking, this small-town tale is a testimonial to the redemptive power of love and paints a story filled with humor, romance, and fierce family loyalty.


The Emissary

An angel’s work is never done—that’s part of the gig. But angels hadn’t been created to deal with such a vastly over-populated planet, rife with misery, suffering, and general chaos. Helping souls in peril has become a nearly impossible job, and even angelic tempers are frayed.

The archangel Azrael has had enough. He believes he’s found a way to ease their burden while saving jeopardized humans, too—hired help.

When Jake Daughtry lost his life rescuing a total stranger from certain death, he was on the fast track to Heaven. But that was before Azrael pulled him right out of line at the Pearly Gates. Now, as an Emissary to the Angels, Jake is taking to the highway in a quest to help souls in trouble. But the innate stubbornness of human beings bent on self-destruction is a challenge unlike any he’s ever faced.

It’s up to Jake and Azrael to bridge the gap between humans and angels. Will they ever convince the Council of Angels this endeavor is worthwhile? Can Jake figure out how to play by Azrael’s complicated rules? Will Azrael ever master the use of contractions in general conversation?

To find out the answers, hop on board Jake’s big red-and-white semi and travel the roads from the Florida Keys to north Georgia on an adventure that will make you laugh hard and cry even harder.


Summer Magic: Poems of Life and Love by [Meara, Marcia]Summer Magic: Poems of Life & Love

Summer Magic: Poems of Life & Love is a collection of contemporary poetry about exactly that–life and love. The first part of the book features poems about the magic a young boy discovers while camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The second part of the book has a sampling of poetry about love, life and death, autumn, and dreams coming true.


How did your granny predict the weather? What did your great uncle Albert tell you about the little green men he saw in the woods that night? What strange creature stalks the woods in your area?

So many of these old stories are slipping away for want of being recorded. legendary creatures, odd bits of folklore, folk remedies and charms, and all the old stories that brought our landscape to life…

Tell me a story, share memories of the old ways that are being forgotten, share the folklore of your home. I am not looking for fiction with this feature, but for genuine bits of folklore, old wives tales, folk magic and local legends. Why not share what you know and preserve it for the future?

Email me at findme@scvincent.com and put ‘Living Lore’ in the subject line. All I need is your article, bio and links, along with any of your own images you would like me to include and I’ll do the rest.

Posted in Photography | 21 Comments

The Anaphora controversy ~ Tallis Steelyard

Reblogged from Tallis Steelyard:

i_033

Do many now remember the notorious Anaphora controversy? At the risk of causing insult, I’ll merely remark, for those who have advanced far beyond such techniques, that Anaphora is the deliberate repetition of the first part of a sentence for artistic effect.

Indeed I could do no worse that quote from a poem I penned at the time which perhaps illustrates the technique.

 

Why must I suffer?

Why must I go to the bother?

Why must I write the agenda?

Why must I whose means are slender, pour endless drinks into the truculent member

Why must I judge to a nicety

How to offend everybody as I run this accursed poetical society.

Indeed I might as well quote it, I wasn’t paid for it then and I don’t suppose I’ll be paid for it now.

But still, the controversy did indeed rage fiercely within poetical circles. In retrospect I don’t know why, it’s not as if it was a novel technique. It’s one of the oldest; well hallowed by time and used by orators and rhetoricians as well as poets.

Now a wiser man than me once commented than in any dispute, the less important the issues, the more intense the feelings generated. So you can immediately see how those poets with an assured private income and not enough to do should throw themselves body and soul into this dispute. I, like the other working poets, with patrons to pander to and a living to earn stood on the sidelines of the controversy, at least at the beginning. But slowly, inevitably, we were drawn in. I was perhaps one of the last to hold out. At the time I was secretary of the Society of Minor Poets. It isn’t a particularly onerous post, nor, to be fair, is it a particularly well paid one. The remuneration being limited to a bottle of wine presented to your spouse at the annual general meeting. Thus there was never any real competition for the task.

Continue reading at Tallis Steelyard

Posted in reblog | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Thousand Miles of History V: Nice weather for ducks and Drake…

 12 Tavistock, church, river, drake, waterfall (50)

It was raining when we finally found our way through the mists. It was still raining when we arrived in Tavistock, to be welcomed by a surprising figure. Sir Francis Drake… privateer to Queen Elizabeth I, circumnavigator of the globe, defeater of the Armada… looked down upon us benevolently as we modestly circumnavigated his roundabout. This was a little coincidental as Stuart had played Drake at the annual workshop this year…and we had not realised that Tavistock was his birthplace. We knew there was a statue of him at Plymouth Hoe, but did not realise that the Plymouth version was no more than a copy of this one.

12 Tavistock, church, river, drake, waterfall (75)

It was a little coincidental too as we had been given some interesting food for thought at a recent Silent Eye meeting regarding Drake and his famous bowls, suggesting a connection between them and the leys… and we were on the trail of the Michael Line, one of the most significant leys in the land.

12 Tavistock, church, river, drake, waterfall (15)

For now, though, we were tired and hungry… it had been a long day. We found our hotel and went looking for supplies as we didn’t fancy the noise and bustle of the pub restaurant. With most shops closed, late on a Sunday afternoon, we settled for sandwiches and cider and beat a hasty retreat back to the hotel to escape the rain., where Drake again looked on from the hotel wall.

12 Tavistock, church, river, drake, waterfall (73)

The weather, though, decided to cooperate, and as the evening drew in, the rain stopped. It was too good an opportunity to miss and we needed to stretch our legs after the long drive. Tavistock is an attractive town, dominated by the church and the ruins of the old Abbey that had brought the town into being…at least in its present form. The archaeology suggests that there was a settlement here long before Christianity was a twinkle in the eye of Time.

12 Tavistock, church, river, drake, waterfall (28)

Officially though, the town grew up around the Abbey that was dedicated to St Mary and St Rumon. The Abbey was founded in 961 by Ordgar, Earl of Devon. The Danes destroyed the Abbey in 997 and was rebuilt, only to be destroyed again with the Dissolution of the monasteries under King Henry VIII. With the tin and mineral trade, the town had prospered, being granted charters for fairs and markets that still continue to be held after a thousand years.

12 Tavistock, church, river, drake, waterfall (39)

We wandered the town streets, coming face to face with ‘our’ Coyote in a gallery window, exploring some of the Abbey ruins that are still dotted about the town and ending up at the bridge over the River Tavy.

12 Tavistock, church, river, drake, waterfall (4)

We followed the path beside the tumbling water in the fading light to pay our respects to Sir Francis. We walked back through the park, along the course of the old canal, admiring the civic amenities and deciding that we rather liked Tavistock. The pity was that we would be leaving fairly early next morning to meet the girls… but perhaps, if we were lucky, the church might open early enough for us to get a glimpse inside…

12 Tavistock, church, river, drake, waterfall (33)

Posted in albion, Books, Don and Wen, historic sites, Photography, Stuart France and Sue Vincent | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Gone to earth… Stuart France

*

It is, perhaps, natural to speculate

on the original inhabitant of our next site…

**

Given its proximity to Dans Maen,

a short walk away,

Continue reading at Stuart France

Posted in albion, alchemy, Ancient sites, Art, Books | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Images #midnighthaiku

Imagination
Whimsy and creative sparks
Celebrate summer


These pictures were taken in Great Hucklow, the village where we hold our annual Silent Eye workshop, during the well-dressing a couple of years ago.

Posted in Photography, Poetry | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

A Call For Guest Posts for the ULS, The Underground Library Society ~ Charles French

Reblogged from Charles French:

ULS logo 1

Hello to everyone! I recently had an excellent guest post from Josh Gross, a wonderful blogger. I am sending out a request to anyone who would like to join the ULS, the Underground Library Society, and who would like to write a guest post about it. This is an organization begun in my First Year Writing class last semester at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. When asked, my students said that they would like to have this organization continue, and I am very pleased by their sentiment. So, I hope to keep it alive in the blogging world.

Continue reading at Charles French, Words, Reading and Writing

Posted in reblog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Curious Monk – A Short Story ~ Lucy Brazier

Reblogged from Secret Diary of PorterGirl:

Curiosity killed the cat, or so they say. What cat? Why a cat? Were any dogs ever seriously injured by curiosity? Could curiosity maim a fish?

This rather eclectic train of thought belonged to Barnaby, a middle-aged monk, as he hoisted his ample frame over the unforgiving stone monastery walls of the Blind Brotherhood of St Bastian, his home since he was a small boy. Barnaby had scant memory of his parents, save for that they were devoted to the Lord and fashioned themselves as 12th day Advent Hoppists. It was a curious religion, rising from the fact that their bible had a misprint. It taught of ‘faith, hop and charity; and the greatest of these is hop’. Every Sunday was spent hopping around the parlour with great vigour, singing joyful songs and trying not to stub a toe.

Their furious hopping must have paid off as the good Lord saw fit to take them in his arms soon afterwards, leaving the little Barnaby alone in the world, until one day a benevolent member of the Brotherhood came across him weeping in the woods and took him in. The Brotherhood was so named not because they were blind in the literal sense, but because they endured an elective blindness of the outside world and its nefarious ways, so that they would not be tempted from their righteous path. They were good men and kind, but life was monotonous and dry, and Barnaby had something of the spirit of adventure in his bones.

Continue reading at Secret Diary of PorterGirl:

Posted in reblog | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guest author: Gordon Le Pard ~ The Way Through the Woods

Featured image

The Way through the Woods

They shut the road through the wood, seventy years ago,
The weather and the rain, Have undone it again,
And now you would never know,
There was once a road through the wood.
Before they planted the trees,
It is beneath, the coppice and heath,
And thin anemones. Only the keeper sees,
That where the badgers roll
And ring doves take their ease
There was once a road through the wood.

But if you enter the wood,
On a summer’s evening – late,
When the night air cools, on trout ringed pools
And the otter whistles his mate
(they fear not men in the wood, because they see so few.)
You may hear the beat, of a horse’s feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew.
Steadily cantering through, the misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew.
The old lost road through the wood.
But there is no road through the wood.
Rudyard Kipling

At the bottom of the garden, a gate led onto the field. On the other side of the field was a wood. Her parents told her that she should never go into the wood, though she had heard her grandmother say.

“Oh, Mary’s a polite little girl, she would come to no harm in the wood. SHE would never harm her, in fact she would probably like to see her there. I saw her several times, and it did me no harm.”
Mary didn’t understand, but kept away from the wood all the same.

Until one summer afternoon, she had been walking across the field, and came to the old fence that ran round the wood. The field was so hot, and it looked so cool in the wood, the dappled sunlight was so beautiful. In a patch of sun she saw big black and white butterflies gliding across the glade. She slipped through the fence and walked into the glade, there was a path leading deeper into the wood. She followed it, deeper and deeper. Then suddenly she felt afraid, looked around, and suddenly realised that she couldn’t see the path back. She was lost. She turned and tried to find a way though the trees, but there was no way. She pushed between the trunks, branches tried to catch her, they pulled at her dress, they caught in her hair. Suddenly there was a lighter patch in front of her, she forced her way through the branches and found herself on an open ride, a broad strip of grass.

She fell on her knees, grateful to be free of the trees, and burst into tears.
She knelt there sobbing, and didn’t notice the noise of a horse approach, in fact she was so wrapped up in her misery that she didn’t notice anything until she was gently tapped on the arm. She looked up to see a young woman looking down at her.

“Whatever is the matter pretty maid?” The Lady asked, Mary knew she was a lady.

“I’m sorry.” She gulped through her tears.

“Why are you sorry?”

“Because I was told not to go into the wood. I am so sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry, you can come into this wood whenever you like.” The Lady smiled, and raised her head.
“You are free of this wood for as long as you live, do you understand?”

Mary nodded, but she had the strangest feeling that the Lady wasn’t talking to her, rather she was talking to the trees. As the Lady bent to her again, the wind whispered through the branches, as though acknowledging the Lady’s orders.

“Now what would you like?” she asked.

“I want to go home now, please.”

“Of course you can.” The Lady replied, and pulled her to her feet. Mary now realised that the Lady was dressed very oddly. She was all in green, in a long old-fashioned riding dress. She put one foot in her stirrup and pulled herself up on the saddle. Seated side-saddle she bent down and pulled Mary up onto her lap, she was certainly very strong. They cantered down the ride, Mary felt completely safe and very happy.

Suddenly they were at the edge of the wood, the Lady lifted her and gently placed her on the ground, then she felt in her pocket and gave Mary something, before she could say anything she heard her mother calling her name. She turned to look, and when she turned back to thank the Lady, the Lady had vanished.

As she told her mother the story, her mother went very silent. She didn’t say anything, but rang Mary’s grandmother as soon as they got back to the cottage. The grandmother listened to her story and smiled.

“I knew she would be safe.” Then she turned to Mary. “Now you can go in the woods whenever you want, you will be safe there, as long as you are polite to her, and I know you will be.”

Mary suddenly felt a weight in her pocket and pulled out a large, bright coin.
“The Lady gave it to me.”

Her father looked at it closely.
“It looks brand new – and its more than one hundred years old.” He said quietly.

This story began in the traditional way of many stories, I made it up to tell my children, after they wanted to know more about the wood in the poem. They would naturally ask further questions, but my reply was always the traditional one – ‘That’s enough for now, it’s time to go to sleep.’

About the Author

I am a retired archaeologist, who used to work for Dorset County County, where I mapped the wrecks off the coast. A maritime archaeologist who cannot swim is unusual, but there.

I have written a great deal, on many diverse topics, from the works of an arts and crafts artist, to a fossilised beaver, from early aerial photographs to medieval sundials (the last my father considered the most boring think I had ever written).

I read a great deal, and remember a heck of a lot, this actually has a downside, if you have difficulty in forgetting! For example I will often check the end of a story to make sure it ends happily, who wants a miserable story running about in your head for the next decade or so.

My wife and I are reenactors, Regency or Victorian, and I will try most of the odd things I reconstruct. I have limits, but not many …

Follow Gordon’s blog, The Curious Archaeologist, for a glimpse into some weird and wonderful corners of history


Tell me a story!

If you are a writer, artist or photographer…If you have a poem, story or memoirs to share… If you have a book to promote, a character to introduce, an exhibition or event to publicise… If you have advice for writers, artists or bloggers…

If you would like to be my guest, please read the guidelines and get in touch!

Posted in Guest post | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Ash Samara ~ Steve Tanham

In the gold-washed glow on green

Of July’s vivid evening blue

I watch your spinning fall to earth

Through softer air than day’s has been

Your path to ground is freshly spoken

Continue reading at Sun in Gemini

Posted in reblog | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Thursday photo prompt: Summit #writephoto

#writephoto

Every Thursday at noon GMT, I publish one of my photos as a writing prompt.  If you know where the photo was taken, please keep it to yourself until the challenge is closed and I usually share something about the place during the round-up.

Throughout the week I will feature as many of the responses here on the Daily Echo as space allows. Every Thursday at 10a.m. GMT, a full round-up of posts will be published linking back to the original posts of contributors.

You can find all last week’s entries in the weekly round-up. Please visit and read the stories and poems and explore the sites of their writers. I will feature as many contributions as I can on the blog during the week, but please note that I will be away from the computer for a couple of days, so responses may be delayed.

Use the image below as inspiration to create a post on your own blog… poetry, prose, humour… light or dark, whatever you choose, by noon (GMT)  Wednesday 25th July and link back to this post with a pingback to be included in the round-up.  There is no word limit and no style requirements, except to keep it fairly family friendly.

If you are unsure of how to create a pingback, Hugh has an excellent tutorial here.

Pingbacks need to be manually approved, so either check back to make sure that the pingback has appeared or simply copy and paste your link into the comments section of this post.

Feel free to use #writephoto logo or include the prompt photo in your post if you wish or you can replace it with one of your own to illustrate your work. Don’t forget to use the #writephoto hashtag in your title so your posts can be found.

Have fun!

Posted in Photography, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments