October 16th, 2012


Halloween Countdown, Day 16

Deep Thoughts

Text of the Day: Today's spooky tale is Wolverden Tower by Grant Allen (1848-1899).

Excerpt: "It's a lovely old church!" Maisie said, looking up at the trefoil finials on the porch — "all, except the tower."

"We had to reconstruct it," Mrs. West answered apologetically — Mrs. West's general attitude in life was apologetic, as though she felt she had no right to so much more money than her fellow-creatures. "It would have fallen if we hadn't done something to buttress it up. It was really in a most dangerous and critical condition."

"Lies! lies! lies!" the old woman burst out suddenly, though in a strange, low tone, as if speaking to herself. "It would not have fallen — they knew it would not. It could not have fallen. It would never have fallen if they had not destroyed it. And even then — I was there when they pulled it down — each stone clung to each, with arms and legs and hands and claws, till they burst them asunder by main force with their new-fangled stuff — I don't know what they call it — dynamite, or something. It was all of it done for one man's vainglory!"

"Come away, dear," Mrs. West whispered. But Maisie loitered.

"Wolverden Tower was fasted thrice," the old woman continued, in a sing-song quaver. "It was fasted thrice with souls of maids against every assault of man or devil. It was fasted at the foundation against earthquake and ruin. It was fasted at the top against thunder and lightning. It was fasted in the middle against storm and battle. And there it would have stood for a thousand years if a wicked man had not raised a vainglorious hand against it. For that's what the rhyme says —

"Fasted thrice with souls of men,
Stands the tower of Wolverden;
Fasted thrice with maidens' blood,
A thousand years of fire and flood
Shall see it stand as erst it stood."

She paused a moment, then, raising one skinny hand towards the brand-new stone, she went on in the same voice, but with malignant fervour —

"A thousand years the tower shall stand
Till ill assailed by evil hand;
By evil hand in evil hour,
Fasted thrice with warlock's power,
Shall fall the stanes of Wulfhere's tower."

She tottered off as she ended, and took her seat on the edge of a depressed vault in the churchyard close by, still eyeing Maisie Llewelyn with a weird and curious glance, almost like the look which a famishing man casts upon the food in a shop-window.

Read the Complete Story: Here.
  • Current Music
    "Danse Macabre," Saint-Saëns
  • Tags