Once upon a time by the old forestsWhere the spirits still lived in the hearts of beasts,There was a boy who lived in the village of Outtontyne.
He was mute, or so they said,And the children of the village made him the butt of their cruel jokes.He had no friends,For if anybody tried to make nice the other children would ostracize them.He had no family, for his father was killed by war and his mother by consumption.
It was the other boys who were particularly mean.They molested his body for "practice" and kicked him while he was down in the mud.The boy could not stand his peers,But was forbidden from associating with the girls of the village."Ladies are not meant to be friended to menfolk," they told him.In truth he knew the adults wanted them all to themselves,For the grownups of the village were wickedAnd exploited the children for their own purposes.
There was nothing in the world to give him joy.There was no meaning to time.The boy wanted only for death,Yet could not take his own life due to cardinal sin.
But one day while he was pulling up turnipsA beautiful girl with raven hair walked down the road,And time had value again.Suddenly the boy found his voice.
Who is that girl?He asked the foreman.
Don't even think about it, boy.She is the daughter of Hershel the Jew.If the people find you fraternizing with her they will beat you and the girl for good measure.
There were no other Jews in the village to play with,And the boy felt sorrow for the raven haired girl that was all alone.He thought of the children who raised up in the wickedness of adults,And of the girl made lonely by their world.
He wanted to save her from that miserySo he turned his voice into a weapon.
He called out the candlestick maker,Who whipped his son so severely that he could not sleep on his back.He called out the butcher,Who pressured his wife so harshly that her wrists were the color of plums.He called out the soldierWho took his wants from the lady pilgrims.
No adult would shame them, and he was just a boy after all.It was not until he called out the mayor for laying with his daughterThat the town went in uproar.
How could they believe it?Their strong man, the pillar of their own community, laying with the fruit of his loins?He could have any woman in the village.Surely the boy must be possessed as he had no voice before.
So the mayor sent his man to beat the boy savagely,Strip him of his clothes,And exile him to the ancient forest for a night.
It was cold and lonely in those woods.His flesh was flayed by the branches,And his feet were cut by the thorns,Until at last the boy came to a clearing by a brookWhere he sat on a hollowed logTo mourn for himself and the other children.
No creature approached the clearing despite their thirstFor they feared Man.His sobs echoed from the trunks,And climbed to the canopies.
In this old forest there was an imp,Last of his kind.For Man had long killed the gods of legendAnd there was only belief in the animals for one impling.He was small in stature but felt no fear from the boy,For his magics were frightening to behold.
Man Child why do you sob in my forest?The village is your home,Go now or I will destroy you!
The boy did not care,For the children hated him,And the adults did not believe him.So he continued to fill the woods with the sound of his sorrow.
The imp took pity on the boy who was all alone,And silenced his cries with displays of magic.
The creatures of the forest slowly came to the clearing to drink their fillWith no cause to fear in the presence of their imp.
It has been many ages since I had reason to converse, Man Child.Stay in my forest for the night and I will weave you tales of the dead gods.
So the imp told the boy legends of the old gods who raised the hillsAnd filled the streams with their blood.Of the spirits who were given life by the gratitude of MenFor the bounty that the gods had provided.Of the hero men who stood with the spirits of the wildWhen they fought The Eagle and Cross.
Without realizing it the Sun had risen,And the imp had to return to the shadows.
Come back to the forest at night, my boy,So that I would have a friend to call my own.
The boy returned to the village suspiciously happy,But no one questioned it for he must have been lame brained.Every night he journeyed to the clearing to hear the imp's tales,To marvel at his magics,And to run with the creatures accustomed to his scent.The friends of the forest were in a place out of time,So the boy forgot about the raven haired girlAnd the children he risked his voice for.
The mayor grew suspicious of this behavior,Dispatching the huntsman to track the boy in the woods.
The huntsman witnessed the clearing,And the wonders of the imp.Greed seized hold of the huntsman's heart,For the rumor of the time was that implings had hearts of pure gold.
The huntsman waited for the boy to return to his shack,Then laid a snare in the center of the clearing.
In the village the huntsman sent the boy on an errand to town,So that he would not be in the clearing that night.
The imp came looking for the boy and was caught in the huntsman's snare.Without mercy he was smothered to death,For the huntsman cared nothing of the things that are not Man.He carved out the imp's heart,Which was made not of gold but of lead,And which stained the huntsman's hands an unwashable purple.
Jaded by his lack of spoils,The huntsman threw the carcass into the brookWhere it faded into the earth beyond his sight.
The next night the boy returned to the clearing,But no imp was there to greet him.He waited and waited,But there were no friends of the forest that dared approach the scene of murder.
So he sat on the log and he wailed.He bawled for his friend who did not come,And for the children he could not save.For the world he could not change,And the raven haired girl he could never make smile.
No Man today approaches that forest,For the sounds of mourning still echo off the leaves.