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The Old Crone In the Woods, Part III

III. Lost in a daze, but her fingers still shaking, Liesel turned the great brass knob on the door. She felt herself tense, was ready to shriek, Expecting to see some Satanic horror. Instead she found herself looking into A cozy great room with a massive hearth, Yule logs burned hot, warming up the whole space, A great table ran down the center part. Many children sat there, all about five years, On the table in front of them was a feast, Some looked at her, amazement in their eyes, The others just seemed quite eager to eat. In front of it the crone took off her cloak, And Liesel gasped as the ancient face changed Into a woman of just forty years, Her poor mind struggled to keep up, in vain. The woman was handsome, and smiled warmly, When she said, “Liesel, don’t let in cold air. Please do come in, we have plenty for you. Now children, please go get our guest a chair.” Liesel shut the door as the children moved, Within a minute they got her a seat. She sat down still much too stunned to react, Then said the woman, “We’ve new friends to meet.” She took our the jar she’d had at the grave And slowly removed the bung from the top, Out came a mist that seemed to move and glow, Liesel shielded her eyes until it stopped. There besides the woman stood a small boy, He seemed frightened, but the woman bent low, Then hugged the child, said, “Heinrich, my sweet, You’ve nothing to fear when you’re in my home.” The boy relaxed, and was led to a seat, Liesel watched and asked, “What is going on? How can a child appear from a jar? Why are they all here? Why does this not feel wrong?” The woman sat at the heart of the feast, And said, “What is ‘wrong’ with what God had ordained? Do you think he’d forget the unbaptized, That he would punish souls so free of blame?” The words hit Liesel like a hammer blow, Said the woman, “For about two centuries, I’ve been looking out for unbaptized souls, Since, on my deathbed, the Lord came to me. “He asked if I would delay paradise To see to these children who died so young. He makes them flesh, they stay for one year, And I teach them about the Holy One. “Come the year’s end, the local priest arrives, To christen the kids who now know of God, Then they ascend, and I start again, It is a path I am grateful to trod.” Liesel just gawked, her mind still rebelling, Not accepting what her soul now did know. The woman continued, “Oh yes, your niece Is besides you, and wants to say ‘hello.’” CONCLUDES IN PART IV.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2020

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