Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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The Silver Beaker: An American Faerie Story

Up around Westby, they say, there was a wedding one day, and the bride, she steps out for a breath of air, being a touch winded from the dancing and all.

Out she goes in her finery and her wedding crown and, it being a fair day, she walks a bit, and doesn't she hear more music, coming from over the fields, so she walks on over, and sees that it's coming from a little green hill.

Well she follows that music, she does, and when she gets there, she sees that there's a door wide open in the side of the hill, and isn't there a great grand party going on inside, with music and dancing and all.

Well the girl, she goes up to the doorway to see and hear the better, and doesn't a fine young man come out to meet her with a silver beaker of wine in his hand, and a fine-looking young man he is indeed, and dressed all in green.

Will you drink a glass of wine with me to toast the day of your wedding? says he, and she says: I will. So they drink the glass of wine together.

Then the lad, he says to her: Will you dance with me then, on this day of your wedding? and the girl, she says: I will, but only the one.

So he takes her by the hand and leads her in, and the two of them, they have a fine dance together.

My thanks to you, sir, but I'm off now, says the girl, and off she goes.

She heads on back to the village then, but aren't things looking strange, not quite as they should be: the farms and the houses, all different. And then, when she comes to a group of people, not one face among them does she recognize.

Welcome, says a man, And who might you be?

I'm such-and-so, daughter of such-and-so, she says, but they all shake their heads, for none of them knows the name.

How come you here? says the man, and she tells them all her tale.

Then one old woman, hearing the story, she ups and exclaims: Why, you must be the girl that disappeared a hundred years ago, at my grandfather's brother's wedding!

When she hears these words, the bride's true age comes upon her in an instant, and doesn't she fall down dead, stone dead!

That would be up Westby way, then. There's lots of Norwegians up there.

And the bride? She's buried in the old graveyard there, with her bride's crown still on her head.



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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


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