The Lass and the Strangers

What if villains were heroes, and heroes were villains?

There once was a girl named Annie Poole

As sweet as a lamb with eyes like jewels.

With her parents she lived in a village far away

Quipped with wide, open land, where it was easy to stray.


A cherubic young soul, and eager for adventure,

Annie’s parents warned her never to venture

To the realms which inhabit outside the village,

Where devil men lurk and monsters pillage.


But worst of all,’ said Annie’s mum, ‘are the creatures with skin

Far darker than night and shriller voices than the wind.’

‘They are beasts from the devil,’ Annie’s dad said, ‘who will lead you to woe,

And for that, my dear child, to those outlands you must never go.’


Annie honored her parents and obeyed this warning.

Never did she stray, all except for one wintry morning.

It was a chilly, biting day as Annie trudged to her classes

When a sudden gust of wind blew her bonnet towards the distant grasses.


In a haste and forgetting her parents’ one rule,

She dashed toward the meadows to get her bonnet back for school.

After a good time passed of scouring and looking,

Annie gave up and headed back, for she was late for her booking.


Yet all during school, her spirits frustrated and head bare,

Annie worried just where her bonnet was out there,

For it was a gift from her mother, and without out it, to home she could never go,

So she planned to search for it, even if the whole field she had to mow.


When her lessons were done, instead of the path leading home,

Annie headed for the outlands and through the fields to roam.

Further and nigh she searched as the sky grew darker,

 ’Til she fell upon an opening with a dead tree as its marker.


Onward through the opening she plodded to look for her cap

And the deeper she wandered, the more lost became her map.

Staring owls and rowdy ravens stood vigil along the road

And, sensing lurking spirits and eerie monsters, a shiver down her spine followed.


Just as her search for her beloved bonnet was losing hope,

Annie soon spotted two houses near a small hill slope.

Seeing lights in their windows, Annie wondered in her mind,

‘Perhaps the residents can help me, if they would be so kind.’


The closer she drew, the houses became clearer

And to Annie one seemed quaint, but the other much queerer.

The house on her left was grand, with a porch, swings, and flowers,

While the right house seemed gray and decaying, as alone as Rapunzel’s tower.


As conscience would foretell, Annie started for the house with the swing,

When she abruptly halted, for a figure was emerging.

Annie’s heart quickened pace as her eyes widened in fear

As the figure was dark-skinned, with a scowl from ear to ear.


The figure stopped and stared at Annie as she’d forgotten how to run

When she heard a voice behind her shout, ‘And who are you, my sweet hon?’

Turning around, Annie saw a tall, light-skinned gent

With golden hair and a broadened build, smelling of a woodsy scent.


‘My poor dear,’ began the stranger, ‘how frightened you must be!

All lost in these woods, instead of at home with your Mummy.

You best come with me to my humble abode,

And I shall care for you and send for a horse to return you to your household.’


Taking the gentleman’s hand, Annie followed out of fear

That the dark figure should take her lest the gentleman was not near.

For looking into his eyes, Annie felt she was in trustful hands,

And with a last glance at the dark figure, away she was whisked to the gentleman’s right lands.


Days went by, and weeks and months after that

And not a spotting of Annie was evermore seen, neither she nor her hat.

Her parents searched far and wide, but soon their hope was destroyed,

For their little girl was gone for good, and her Real Fate they could not avoid.


Years passed away, when one day, the mourning parents received a guest,

Who withheld some knowledge of their little girl now laid to rest.


‘Far beyond the fields,’ began the guest, ‘is a village so dreary,

With two houses on a slope near the woods, one dwelling a man very eerie.

With skin black as night and eyes haunted and leery,

I believe him to be the cause of death for your little dearie.


‘His neighbor, who is my respected and dear friend

Asked me to help him depart from the next-door house for a land I cannot contend,

And as I helped him carry his large and heavy bags out one day,

A strange feeling I contracted about his neighbor that I could not allay.


‘So I went back to the house and waited for the dark man to leave

Then I snuck up to his window to see what I could perceive.

And on his front-room table, what did I spy

But a little pink lace bonnet right before my very eye.


‘I remembered you two and your grieving tragedy

And knew at once that the dark man must have seduced little Annie.

I reported him at once and had him detained

So his evil, dark-skinned ways may never upon this world stain.’


‘Now I know why my friend moved away so quick,

For how dreadful it must have been to live next to such a demonic, evil tick!’

The End

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