The Townfool and the Leshy

The Image is from Wikipedia-“The Leshy” by Ivan Bilibin, 1906.


The town fool took refuge in the forest,
He stifled his laugh and thumped his chest.
He looked behind, not a man was in sight,
He pranced about the trees like a forest sprite.
He skipped and sang among the trees,
He enjoyed the touch of the slight autumn breeze.

Two hours or three passed in the shade
Till the sunshine retreated and the trees swayed.
He shook himself from his pleasant nap,
He shrugged his shoulders and straightened his cap.

He whistled and marched along the stream,
When he felt he heard a tiny scream.
Taken aback, he looked around,
North or south, east or west, not a soul he found.

He resumed his whistling as he sauntered on,
Not a bird chirped, he wondered where they had gone.
Not a cricket, not a croak he could hear,
His whistle alone echoed in his ear.

He grew nervous as he walked ahead,
He took the path he knew, to the town it led.
He still whistled and kept up his gait,
It was growing darker but he kept on straight.

He seemed to walk and walk in vain,
He took off his cap and ruffled his mane.
The town was nowhere in near sight,
At this rate, he’d be out tonight.

And finally, he heard a gruff voice,
From behind the trees there came a noise.
“Halt! You vile brute!”, the voice spoke.
He cautiously gazed upon the rows of oak.

A strong wind swept him off his feet,
Dazed he was, his heart wildly did beat.
Before he knew he was clutched by a giant hand,
A grim giant man stood tall above the forest land.
He seemed old and wise with a long , green beard,
The town fool squirmed as the giant brought him near.

“You dare crush the helper of the Forest Spirit!”
It pelted down hard on the townfool, the giant’s spit.
He pleaded with the angry Forest Spirit, The Leshy,
“Apologies oh great one, for I was unable to see
Your helper, for I was too big, I assume.”
The Leshy pondered as he continued to fume.
“But you must repay for your unkindly act.”,
The Leshy frowned and vengeance he did exact.

Soon the giant faded much like a dream,
And the townfool woke up near the stream.
He shook himself as he awoke from the nightmare,
He heard the sounds of the forest as well as the chilly air.

The chirps were louder and so were the croaks,
The crickets thundered and there were giant cloaks,
Green as velvet, his senses seemed gnarled,
Till he took flight, for a monster behind him snarled.

A little fox chased after its tail,
Standing there, no human might hear his wail.
The town fool was never found again,
But the townfolk did complain of rogue little men.

About the post:  As per Nordic Myths, Leshy was the Slavonic spirit of the forest who led travelers and hunters astray in the woods. Among his chief powers was the ability to change size at will, from being small as a mouse to growing as tall as the highest tree.


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