DRAGONWELL- From Beatrice

Tradition rarely varied, for Beatrice at Yuletide..rise early, chores, then to the beach for a long horseback ride….

I roast potatoes in the coals of my fire, with mince tarts for afters, curl up quiet with a book when early I retire”.

“The coming of Adelaide and Benny, added an odd new element to my peaceful life on “Sonsie”. They had been on the farm more than a year. Of indeterminate age, she former “Bed Chambermaid To The Queen”, partner Benny a horseman, bush balladeer of the outback kind. They treasured a decrepit, old plaid steamer trunk, they wandered at will about Wales, pulling their trunk in a wagon behind.

Nefariously light fingered, a pair of jolly pad-foots, they built a cozy sleep out shack of lumber they’d dragged home. Now, snecked in for winter, they dreamed of yellow houses, and the warm months ahead when they could set out to roam.

“Tell us a story”, genteel, yet obtuse as a lady be, Adelaide could invade even a trip down the path to my outdoor Loo. Early Christmas morning she sought me- time mattered not to the worldly old pair, and though they never knew my friend, the vagabond Godfrey, loved the childhood stories of him, when I chose to share.

“We invited you to breakfast in your home”, grinned Benny. They made themselves welcome frequently, food splattered on the stove top, a slab of “Eggy Toast”had been saved for me. Mugs of tea were slurped, I decided to tell them the tale of “Dragonwell”, south end of our valley.

“Godfrey called that end of Sonsie Farm “Dragonwell”. It’s hills rise from lowland, cool and misty year round. When small we were forbidden to play there by my mother, yet we oft hid in the deep, oak woods of “Dragonwell”, to scare the shite out of each other.

On the softest summer day, in “Dragonwell” the grass was damp, where we found ancient, half buried ruins, the stones of a castle. Traveler folk paused for water from the old well, but did not ever camp. Our ponies shied from the trail, would snort and paw. “Godfrey’s sister, Alice told us, “Dragonwell  at full moon, legend has it if you dance neath the oak with twisted limb, you will turn into a stump on the 5th turn”….”you ought take Godfrey, said Alice, and try it out on him”.

Two elderly faces were fixed on mine, chewing and slurping of tea paused abruptly. Benny, more whimsical of the pair, said- “A stump?, bugger me days, you did not try it?, did you?.”

“Believe Alice?..no, but something about the oak woods compelled Godfrey, as we grew older, bolder down to “Dragonwell”.  Wrote Godfrey, “I oft sat neath the great old oak, there was chuckle of running water, scent of musky Badger sett, autumn wood smoke from I knew not where”. “The  shadows moving in the gloom did not frighten me, though after dark, I did not linger down there”.

“That last winter before Godfrey left Wales, money, coal and fuel were low, it was time of deep snow”. “We took the horse, “Flickertail”and sleigh, was a cold, clear blue afternoon”. “Neath the great oak tree down “Dragonwell”, Godfrey asked as we stood, asked the mighty tree for a gift of wood, that we may have a good, hot fire Christmas Day. “Our horse trembled, unhappy, I’m sure I heard a muttering in the oak woods of “Dragonwell” as we drove away.

“I never came to like the path through “Dragonwell”, but next time we coaxed Flickertail with sleigh, under the tree that Godfrey asked for warmth, the mightiest of it’s oaken limbs lay” ” In perfection it fell, for us to saw up and shift, we had warm fires well in to spring, we thanked the old oak tree for her precious gift”.

“I rarely go down to “Dragonwell”, south end of Sonsie, but it no longer scares me, makes for a good, mid winter myth and story”. “I knew Adelaide and Benny, had explored the valley over, by the look on the two poker faces, indeed suspected they’d been down to “Dragonwell”. Feasting on “Eggy Toast ” resumed, Benny poured  fresh Billy tea, whatever the pair of old rogues knew, they were not yet prepared to share with me…..


11 thoughts on “DRAGONWELL- From Beatrice

  1. How nice was a life when people could invite you to breakfast in your own home. All that is long gone. Maybe if I get an old man’s house on my own I can find friends to do just that.

  2. Good morning John, in their own odd way, they were all alone for a long time. Across the ocean, it has long past to, someone would call the cops. I have a fondness for these characters freedom, you can march right into my old ladies home…

  3. I so enjoy the pair of old rogues and their confidence in making themselves at home wherever they roam. I also admire the patience of Beatrice; I don’t take so kindly to my anticipated traditions and routines being interrupted. No one interfered with my Christmas, and Joel and I had a peaceful, happy time, opting to eat spaghetti and meatballs with all the garlic bread we wanted rather than turkey and stuffing. I hope your Yuletide went as you wanted it to as well, Sheila.

    • Thanks Janet, I trust you and Joel stayed home, warm and dry as I did. I had hot dogs, a tradition in my home, and a long nap. We had, last night a surly wee earthquake, that knocked over my lemonade, and caused the building to sway. So minor compared to some of the news down your way. I to, am becoming fond of Adelaide and Benny, we shall see what they get up to, Alice is currently at work on a memoir. Keep well, my dear.

      • A memoir? I can’t wait. Sign me up for the first edition. We were warm, dry, snug, and happy, Sheila. With nothing as troublesome as a wee earthquake, though it was Joel who kept us dug out so we had access the the garage, car, and mail. The sun is shining today, and there is nothing like a blue sky to make our frigid temperatures seem bearable.

  4. Good to hear, Janet, just plain cold here, but over the shaking, 4, out of the 10 people at my work had fender-benders this morning, first time I was thankful for the 50 bus…time to sneck in with Alice.

    • Fender benders abound her as well; I avoid the issue by running errands afoot; but, rather than running, I scoot along with great caution, not wanting to fall and bend my fender.

      • Indeed, Janet, the chap who pranged our Office Lady was in his P.J.’s and robe, my bosses very cranky, 82 year old dad quarreled with an answer machine, my bus reached the stop as I did, and rode home warm, waving out the window like the Queen Mum. Do mind your out there, the world is a lulu..

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