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Well now, it’s a damp night and there’s heat in the fire, so gather ye for another story. A story about a field and the things that inhabit it. A story about a man known as the Baron, though whether he merited a mention in Burke’s Peerage, I never did know
The Baron was a raggedy sort of being but a sleeked one too, and he accumulated many fields across the counties. One beautiful big field he bought at auction had been farmed for many years by two brothers, and uneasily they worked and lived together, sharing the duties and chores
The Baron had money enough in his pockets for twenty men but his real currency was strife. He saw these two brothers and their simmering ways. He took that field and he split it into two unequal parts, giving one part to each of the brothers while whispering foul in their ears
The Baron’s love of hate didn’t stop there. The people round here know that the Fairythorn tree is never to be moved, never to be dug up, unless you don’t mind be cursed and pained. The Baron divid the brothers’ field with a row of Fairythorn, thinking they’d never shift it
And that was how it went. The trees grew, generations passed, the brothers, and then the children of the brothers, estranged themselves.

And then a strange thing happened. The Baron, now an aged and decaying shell of man, was seen in the dead of night, digging up the Fairythorns
The next morning the trees were gone. There was only a line in the grass where the Fairythorns had been. And the Baron would tell anyone who asked him, and many who hadn’t, how this came about:
“I was passing by the field that night, feeling rightly, and I heard my name being called. So I climbed the hedge and went in. It’s my field, after all. And the voices calling me were coming from the trees, sounding like rowdy children in an unattended schoolroom.”
“I got to Fairythorns and I felt a hundred clawing hands on my back, and a hundred more pulling my hair, and a hundred more scratching my face, and they all three hundred shouting ‘Dig up the thorns, Baron!’”
“‘I will not’ I said. But then they scratched and pulled harder and I saw, opening up in the ground in front of me, a freshly dug plot and one of the voices said ‘That’ll be your grave, Baron, if you don’t dig up the thorns this night’. So dig I did, with the fear of God in me”
[How’s this going? My phone’s nearly out of charge]
The thorns were gone and the field restored, though it had that scar across it. One day I saw a grandchild of one of the brothers scattering flowers on the scar and I said to her “Grandchild of one of the brothers, what are ye at?” And she says “I’ll tell you, Border”
“I got fed up of not seeing my cousins, but you know you can’t dig up the thorns because of the things that inhabit them. So I went one evening to see them things, and I brought them sweets and ice cream, and I told them the Baron had put them there for the sake of foul division”
“The things in trees didn’t know this and they said to me ‘Grandchild of one of the brothers, you’re a brave grandchild to come here with this story. Leave the Baron to us’. And they called him in that night. And now I come to give them flowers and sweets. And raspberry ripple.”
So that’s why, when you wake up in the morning, you can look over that hedge there, and in that field you’ll see a scar in the grass. And if you listen carefully now, here in the dark, you might hear that line in the field telling stories about itself

[End]
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