The curse of Levens Hall.
-Edited by Natalie Simpson
An old woman roamed; she had lost her way upon the grass so bare
Frosted tracks followed and soft brown eyes watched her stumble here and there.
She glanced back at the herd of deer, with their bright eyes staring wide
They were her friends and family, in them she could confide
Like unceasing tears the rain did fall upon the darkened land,
A couple sheltered, warm indoors, for the night was close at hand;
Cutting wind whipped to and fro, and moaned among the leaves
As the haggard creature approached the step, rolling up her sleeves
Her teeth chattered, her knees shook; she drew a painful breath
The cold air rattled in her chest – a harbinger of death.
The gypsy stretched out a withered hand, took hold of the brass handle
As something pretty caught her eye, it was but a simple candle
A pained smile creased her weathered lips; it looked so warm in there
Yes, a fire danced merrily in the hearth. The gentleman rose from his chair.
She heard some sort of commotion, and the door cautiously opened
To reveal a butler standing there: perhaps he would offer a token?
But the servant only stood and stared, before calling for the owner of the house.
Too frail to stand, the old woman sagged and waited like a frightened mouse
Raised voices echoed from inside, followed by chattering and laughter
There were footsteps resounding in the hall, could this be the master?
The door flew open, almost striking her but she shuffled away in time
A handsome man stood before her there, dressed in clothes so fine.
“Gypsy woman remove yourself; you are not wanted here
You do not frighten me, be off with you- it isn’t you I fear.”
She pleaded for his pity, clasped her hands as she clung to his leg;
But- “Be off with you, leave my house. Do not presume to beg!”
The gypsy sighed, slumping back as these words escaped her mouth;
“You’ll live to rue this night, Sir, when you turned me from your house.”
“What do you mean?” He insisted. “Oh why don’t you get up and go?”
“ Sir, your line will bear no heir, until a white fawn is born and the River Kent ceases to flow.”
She took satisfaction from his change of expression, casting one more glance inside;
Her hazel eyes rolled back in her head; the gypsy exhaled and died.
©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014