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The Old Haunted Tree
An old and haunted tree stands up, dark in ripping wind.
He shelters wretched souls that howl, for they have sinned.
They scream and claw their faces, but when there’re passersby,
they turn their blank eyes up to look at the purple, churning sky.
The ghosts, they flee for cover, in the trunk, so cruel and torn
only when they feel the coming of a high and brooding storm.
One murd’rous man came riding on this lone, cold autumn night:
a rather infamous highwayman, his pursuers just lost from sight.
A sack of gold medallions, the rubies of a baroness
hung just beneath his coat near the beat-beating of his chest.
A laugh came from his throat, and he weighed his riches with pleasure,
for to get this precious living he’d gone to a wicked and terrible measure.
The village to the south of him had wealthy folk to spare,
so he’d taken out a few on a bitter, drunken dare.
He tied the stolen horse to a fallen, gray birch log
and set himself ’neath a curious tree in the overgrown highland bog.
The highwayman looked up in camaraderie
at the black and sagging branches of the old and haunted tree.
It wasn’t a tall plant, hard and dry, but its cruel demeanor implied
that many-a-men, on the broken, frayed rope, had right there lost their lives.
Black diseases covered its branches and sea-green moss grew frizzy and wild
on the trunk near which the rest of the rope had so carelessly been piled.
A feeling overcame the lone highwayman, one he didn’t like at all…
So with his stolen, midnight horse, he galloped away through the wind’s endless brawl.
The old and haunted tree, specters peering ’round his body,
scowled after the cowardly man and waved his arms, forever rotting.
A wind whistled through the tree, tearing moss right off the bark
and the demons ’gan to whisper-say they’d leave once it ’came dark.
Now the old and haunted highland tree wasn’t haunted anymore
and began a long, hard journey, to heal the trunk ’twas sore.
The highwayman looked back and sighed, the sorrowful villagers wept,
for one cannot grow if hidd’n in his trunk, dark demons there are kept.