Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Ballad of Charlie Dare

There once was a boy named Charlie Dare, who had a head of bright red hair. And little Charlie Dare lived in the village, fair, of St.Bonfice-upon-Clair. And when he was young and just a wee lad his mother would scold him as she washes his ears red, "Now listen here, young Charlie, dear, do not go into the wood, cause you know that you shouldn't, otherwise you'll end up dead." Then every night during the ardious bath, young Charlie would have to ask, "But Mama, what makes you fear the wood so? Why should I avoid it, why shant I go?" And his mother would then grow omnious and say in her voice so grave, "The men in the trees are more than mere knaves. Because they lie in wait in the shade, and when they see young children wandering far, they call to them thar, and if the children go where they're bade... well, naught is seen of them again. So no more playing by the stream with your little ball, no more wandering over it to the waterfall. And next time run when ye hear me call. Cause if ye dont a spanking will wait for ye then."

So it happend one day as Charlie Dare, played by the small stream of the river Clair, that his ball bounced out of his reach, and fell to the other side of the pebbly beach. And he thought not of his mother's words, and began to play by those dire woods. And that same fickle ball pulled by some evil power, moved ever closer to the oaken bower. Till little Charlie Dare was beneath the tree shade, just as the noon light began to fade. And soon his way was lost in the wood, and he walked in circles clutching his ball. The trees and the shadows grew ever closer, and he could no more here his Mama's call.

And there in the woods, Charlie Dare found a grove, of tall, magnificent oak. And they seemed to shimer and shine in the light, like some ancient eleven folk. And beneath these trees there lay all maner of animals around, and in their branches all kind of birds did abound. But as he moved closer he heard a strange sound. Like breathing from the trees, near the seething of the greeves, he heard a strange and unearthly release, as if ancient bark relax to take its eaze. The creaking, croaking, breathing, breaking, snatching, snipping, that broke from tree after tree. And Charlie Dare then heard behind him a voice as deep as the earth and as strong as the soil.

"Helloo, young lad. What are you doing in my forest?"

The young one turned with fright and fear, but found that the owner of the voice had disappeared. Then spoke he into the gloomy air, "Who makes that voice? Who goes there?"

A low chortle like the wind in the leaves answered the voice with ease, "What funny way to speak. Do you always rhyme like that?"

"Whose there? Who laughs at my words? Am I hearing voices from the trees? No, don't be absurd."

Then from behind the boy, a tree gave a low creak, and opened up as a birds beak, and within the folds of the hard bark, there was made a hole into the tree's heart. and there in the darkness of the empty hallow shell, there just faintly the figure of a man Charlie could tell.

"Sir, if you please? How come you into the tree? Did you get stuck within the log? Or are you some kind of bogey or bog?"

"Niether. Its been a long time, so very long since I came into my tree. I can't remember anymore. Maybe I was betrayed by close friends and left here in the tree to rot. Or maybe I betrayed close friends and came here to die insteead. I don't know anymore. All I know is the ever beating sound of the growing trees. Their persistant laughing leaves that never end. Its a lonely life hiding inside a shell of a tree."

"Why don't you come out, sir? The weather is quite agreeable for one to stir."

"You might think so, but its so cold. So very cold. The ice of winter has come into my bones. Now that I think about it, it must have been a betrayal of friendship that placed me here. Nothing else can chill the soul so deep to its bones."

"Pardon me for asking if you please, how long have you been stuck in your tree?"

"Long enough. Long enough to know the stifiling smell of rotting death that my dark prison is rank with. Long enough to know that if I remain hidden here in the tree, I will soon perish. The leaves catch all the light, no matter the season, and cascades it down to the other trees. I receive none. I am left to freeze. The branches are far and spread wide, providing many a home for many a bird, at the cost of my own arms. The dark canopy my tree-shell makes is a home for all the creatures of the forest. At least in my anguish others are satisfied."

"But what about your self? What about your own needs? You'll die if you remain in that shell!"

"Hmmm. Hahaha. Gave up the rhyming have you? You are still young. Carry your joy while you can. Soon. Someday all too soon you will also trust in someone you should not, and will find your own tree to crawl into. And there in the darkness of your arboral home, you'll feel winter bleeding into your veins as well, and seep into your heart and turn it to stone. There is no escaping it. Look around. There are so many others. This entire forest.There is no preventing it. Except in this. Avoid the heartbreak. Avoid the pain. Climb into your tree now. Look, we have one made ready for you Charlie Dare."

"Wait." He then responded with sudden dread, "How did you know my name? How did you make me forget? My Mama warned me about you men of the trees, and I was foolish and have bantered words and played with these. But now I see you'd take my soul from my very breast, no thank you sir, I believe my Mama knows best."

And with that the young lad set off at a brisk pace, running towards the river he could now see, with all haste. And he crossed the stream before the sun's last ray. And made it home in time for washing, eating, and before bed to pray. And so that was the day that Charlie Dare, the young boy with the red hair, learned what lay beyond the river in the woods there, there by the small town of St. Bonifice-upon-Clair.


  1. Miyazaki's 'Spirited Away' meets Dr. Seuss? Well done, kind sir! *clap* *clap* *bow*

  2. Beautiful. I am very impressed. Doing so much rhyming is quite a challenge, and I enjoyed the language.