Then The Priest
Came From The Vestry, And Seizing The Rope Vigorously, Pulled
At It For Five Minutes, After Which He Showed Us Where To Sit
And The Service Began.
It was very pleasant there, with the
door open to the sunlit forest and the little green churchyard
without, with a willow wren, the first I had heard, singing
his delicate little strain at intervals.
The service over, we rambled an hour longer in the wood, then
returned to our village, which had a church of its own, and
our landlady, hearing where we had been, told us the story, or
tradition, of the little church in the wood. Its origin goes
very far back to early Norman times, when all the land in this
part was owned by one of William's followers on whom it had
been bestowed. He built himself a house or castle on the edge
of the forest, where he lived with his wife and two little
daughters who were his chief delight. It happened that one
day when he was absent the two little girls with their female
attendant went into the wood in search of flowers, and that
meeting a wild boar they turned and fled, screaming for help.
The savage beast pursued, and, quickly overtaking them,
attacked the hindermost, the youngest of the two little girls,
anal killed her, the others escaping in the meantime. On the
following day the father returned, and was mad with grief and
rage on hearing of the tragedy, and in his madness resolved to
go alone on foot to the forest and search for the beast and
taste no food or drink until he had slain it.
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