Poetale:  The Traveler and the Witch’s lair


There came a traveler weak and weary, 
Fatigued with the heavy bag on his back
And many tiny stones inside his shoes
In his bag he carried a guitar for he could play well
He fainted slowly, clinging closely to his life, 
Hoping to see an inn or a well for water
For he had sang all the way and had his water exhausted

The evening was fast behind his heels with
Darkness; a vile and unpleasant creature 
Which found joy leading tired travelers astray
The clouds gather solemnly, the winds grew, 
Further away, the road beckoned to the man
Casting shadows of smoke rising from houses
But when he came to the bend, it was rocks, 
Huge rocks sitting all about the open field
Fueling the fears that the traveler’s heart held
In the growing darkness, he finally found a place
With his final strength he dragged himself to the door
A silent prayer left his breath as he leaned on the wall

Grasses stood at the doorway with patched gravel
And some quarried stones which lay littered about
He thought someone was counting, counting numbers, numbers… 

Suddenly the door flung open! 
Alas a miracle, he thought
A young lady looked out… 
She brought out an arm
Then a leg, then other parts
Of her body, in instalments
‘There will be a storm soon
The weather and night is here
And if the rain storm came
You won’t find your way home
Come in, have some warm tea… ‘
She soothingly offered the traveler 
Surely the emissary of the rain came
Followed by another, and many more
There was no time to think, 
So the traveler followed her in

In the night it rained heavily, so the roads were not seen
Pieces of grass, torn from plants squashed at the window
The house lamps glowed in the thick darkness
Rain drops battered the windows hard
Seeming to call out, to the weary traveler
Yelling his name, knocking at the glass windows
But the tea and lady’s beauty caught his fancy
The traveler reserved most of his trust to himself, 
He won’t let the lady steam some water for bath
And will not take the nut bread she offered too
Lying down at the window, he observed the open fields

From whence he came, he was glad he found a place

Lightning drew cracks across the wall, the cold made him shake

The fire licked the wood in the chimney and sleep worried him

No one could say though if the lullaby came from the rain beats

Or from the sugared tea cup offered by the lady, 

He thought he saw a fiery creature in one of those lightning flash

And decided to force himself to stay awake through the night

‘What’s the matter?’ The lady spoke finally

She must have perceived the travelers unease

‘I get fever in storms, rain storms, do you mind if I played my guitar for a while?’

‘I don’t mind, so far you won’t get me sleeping!’ the lady laughed hysterically

So the traveler pulled out his guitar and stroke the lines gently 

Closing his eyes he began to sing as his fingers worked mildly

He sang of the crazy fat frog which stole a pretty maidens voice

And the poor orphans who got lost in the Wild woods

He sang of the three cunny wolves up the rock cleavages

And the pain of traveling alone… 

As the rain’s cold grew, he sang the tale of love

Taking his time to romance his guitar chords 

Finding true words to fall in with the rhythm

And before he could raise his eye the lady was asleep

Snoring deeply and in her sleep she had dropped a knife

She held, hidden in her long dress

He played more and kept on until the morning 

But then as he woke the lady, she became worried 

Wondering why she slept and why the traveler was standing 

It wasn’t long, the traveler was on his way home.  

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