Harry Loves Benny. OUT in the woods. Part 9 The End.!

I sat at the table not knowing what to think. Was I just more or less told that I should go on my way? Get out ,leave? Harry’s words came through my head over and over. Maybe he just didn’t want to be cooped up here in this cabin all winter with me. A person who had so many demons to fight off. Ugly scary demons that Harry didn’t seem like he wanted to be bothered with. Maybe I was getting myself in the wrong business, maybe this road wasn’t the right one for me to take. I had a lot of thinking to do within the next few days when Harry was away. I walked out into the yard and stood there just looking at the breeze coming through the trees. Bending and bowing the branches moved along alive in their fall colors. The dog barked at me and I came back down and realized I was in the yard not swaying with the branches and the fall leaves. I had been up there I knew, as the landing coming in and back, down on the ground was hard. I have to work on those hard landings, could break my ankels or maybe my knee. I felt it like my legs were going to collapse from my knees down. The dog barked again, “Come on over here and give me a pet, you fool.” You gotta give something if I am going to have to stop what I am doing for the next few days and watch out for you.” I wonder if you will be smart enough to take me with you when you go into the woods or down to the pond. There are somethings lurking here outside of the fence to this compound that just may want to get you and suck what they can out of you now. Harry isn’t around and those things, the things that don’t like you, that want to defeat you, know it and will act if they can. Why here is one right now. You think it is only a Jack in the Box, well you are wrong on that count. Count again and tell me what it is and how it fits into this what I am telling you. See if you can or is your mind is in doors under the covers of the bed?

“Woof, woof, woofie,” you better listen to me. I know you understand dog by now as you have been practicing dog talk for years. I remember when I first spoke to you when you came around here snooping as a young boy with your friend Freddie. You heard me then and you hear me now. So get your sorry ass that needs a bath over here untie me and let’s go down to the pond and take a good wash. My head swirled around and around. Damn I hope it isn’t going to be up in the trees, dog talk and things lurking around for the next few days. Is this a test? Is this only a test? I am all tested out for now and really don’t want any more tests. I should just go into the house and stay there for the next few days. I really am too weak of a person to carry this out. This always on my toes, this something is lurking behind every bush, rock and flower. Something good or something bad. This always something is watching. I want to scream, get me the fuck out of this prison that I am creating for myself. Get me back to something normal, something where everything just is and there is no something bigger than me, ready to pounce, ready to correct a wrong, ready to eat me alive or ready to extend all mercy to my hungry ass. I just wanted to be free from all of that. Free from the heavy hand that almost crushed me, free from the demon that fucked me until I dropped out a load of ugly babies, just free from it all. “Woofy woofie, woof, woof, howling, No you will not be free until you die,” the dog said to me. My mind crawled, and had squiggles all in it. Worms? Big someone playing with a mind, kneading like making bread, squishing, squashing around and around like a washing machine’s agitator. Sloppy slopping. STOP you got to stop, mind settle down, this isn’t a good feeling.

Slumping down against the oak an acorn fell and hit my nose. Even the tree has something to give me, to bother me, and not let me be. Well don’t lean on the tree so hard next time and maybe it wouldn’t dropped an acorn on your nose. Good thing it wasn’t into dropping a branch, you’d be a dead duck. It was just too much. Sort of like when I was coming up in the church. Be careful God is watching, this is a sin, and that is a sin, better not step too far that way or too far this way, no telling when the wrath of god would come falling down and you would be sent directly to hell. No stopping off at your favorite ice cream joint just to get something a bit cooling to bring along on your journey. It was always there, over one and all. Who the hell invented these things? Spirits, Gods, demons, the all watching eye, angles, devils, and all of those things that could at any time claim power over a person life. Who could ever be so mean to want to keep us all in one short line. Something gonna get you maybe the bogey man, the man on the corner, the ghost, the goblin, the monster under the bed, even the fucking acorn. Who the fuck is so mean to terrorize folks with shit like that? Yeah I know way back then, way back in the day before science I can excuse folks for being scared of anything that may lurk outside of their compound. The wind came in strong as can be knocking down everything, fear the wind, the breath of something bad. The breath of that big bad all. The lighting comes and burns down your corn field, oh we must have been so bad, better kill 2 virgins on the next full moon. Always something out there to grab you and eat you up.

Why now in this day and age do we still hold on to such thinking? I suppose some have made some of these fellows to be nice and easy now, the all forgiving, the loving, the your okay, go on your way but remember stay in the path to righteous. Say a little pray to me and you will be okay. Murder 6 people ask for forgiveness and all shall be forgiven. Still something bigger than us, something all-controlling, something that looks over you and say right or wrong. “I know,” said Benny, “I got to break free, free from all of that out there and free from the power of man and state. Freedom plain and simple.”

I thought back to the first day here at Harry’s place when he told me that I could stay if I wanted to. I could stay for as long as I wanted. But maybe said Harry I will get sick of you and tell you to go on your way. That must be what is happening to me. Harry is sick of me half way through my learning. I sat at the kitchen table all night dozing off and then jumping awake and then dozing off again. Everything was quiet in the house and in the surrounding woods. “Hey dopey, said the dog, why don’t you go off to bed. I’ll keep watch here. You’re no good at being a watchdog anyway that is my job. I’ll watch and will let you know what is happening. Don’t see what the need is for what the hell would you do anyway if something from the great beyond came up and was ready to pounce. Nothing but scream and hope that your scream would scare away that monster of yours. The kind you attract. Might as well go up to bed as if the great beyond comes in here I’ll give you a big woof, then I am going to run out the side door and hide in the woods, and it won’t matter if you are asleep or awake as if it is coming after you it will get you.

The old dog was right. What could I do? I really hadn’t done very much by myself as of yet in the way of fighting off that which needs to be fought off. The things that go bump up close to you in the night. So I might as well go to bed and in bed I dreamed. I dreamed I was in a large city. Much larger than Goon City. Maybe it was New York. I was standing on a corner near a park. Three folks that said they knew me from back in the day were sitting up against a fence. I just stood looking off down 14th street. Yes I am in New York. 14th Street and Union Square. How I remember it so well way before the goodies came and did it all over. A place that was alive. On the corner there was a material display, all sorts of material for sale. Want to make a dress, want to make curtains, want to cover over your chair, want to sew, whatever you wanted to do with material you could get a good start here. Everyone was sewing in the window upstairs making something out of the material from the display down on the corner. I stood watching. Not knowing how to move. Which way should I go. Didn’t Agnes have her art studio around here somewhere? I don’t want to learn to sew and I really don’t know the folks who claim to know me sitting up against the fence. The bells from some church rang 6 and I still didn’t know where I wanted to go. I should be somewhere, its dinner time. Maybe I was at the end of my world. Maybe I just didn’t know it yet. A young guy walked up to me and said “Hey man want to buy some grass? this grass will make that feather in your hat stand up and dance around.”

The old dog and I went up to the fields the next day. We should look around to harvest what we have left to harvest. (1) That is on the list that Harry keeps near the door of things to do daily and by the end of the week those things that should have been accomplished should all be crossed off from the list. The next week we needed to start on the next list and so on untill all fall things were accomplished. Soon a frost would be coming as it was getting colder at night now. I got the old wagon from out of Donald’s barn, a ladder, several baskets and bags. Dog and I headed to the apple trees. We hadn’t picked all of the apples last week and hopefully I can get a few more for winter storage. I didn’t think that there were any poor folks around here that would come by and get any apples that were left on the trees or that had fallen to the ground. I didn’t feel too bad nor did I feel like I was breaking the biblical instructions on harvesting food. Nope as Harry said we got to eat, get to work harvesting the food. I got to keep working even if I leave this place in 3 days. Maybe something will change, maybe I can stay. Maybe at least until Harry and I really have sex.

I wondered if Harry really wanted anymore from me. I wondered what is his game? Has this been a wasted summer would he think so? I knew I had learned up to my limit, had done up to my limit at this time and needed a real all wrap around person to get me past the limit. I didn’t feel that Harry wanted to go any further with me. Maybe that is the way with all of the study boys that came here. I had my note-book on the herbs that Harry had taught me about, I had crossed the lines between here and there and came back, I fought of one very bad spirit that day up at Donald’s farm and got out alive, I had flown to town and came back, I know scaring old bum bobbin half to death in the process. I just don’t know, I felt ready like I was standing on the edge of a cliff and ready to jump off and soar. I felt ready to do something to slay that ugly monster that came to me and rid myself of it, but then in all my feeling ready something kept pulling me back, and the pull back was stronger than the I am ready. I just couldn’t jump, for the life of me I just couldn’t do it.

Dog perked up and began to growl. Someone was coming through the fields, walking right towards us. Dog began to bark, it was his greeting bark, the figure stopped and stared then turned and ran away. Good boy, wonder who that was. Maybe that was some old tramp who walks the tracks and has been coming up here for years to get left over apples. Maybe I had better get home in case he goes down there next and steals everything that we own. Shit can’t do anything around here without something reminding me that someone or something is always lurking. I wonder if it is because of the type of person that Harry is. So involved with he great beyond that anything from the great beyond always is attracted to him.

“Hey dumb bell, all your maybes’ and guessing don’t amount to anything, I’ll tell you who that was coming through the fields, that’s Jacob Willbur. Now I am the dog and know lots of things, more things than you could even guess. Jacob lives over in the woods always has since he was young. His ma and pa died when he was 16 and he stayed out here by himself in the woods. Harry told me he buried them both at the edge of the clearing and just stayed on. Never bothers anyone that I know of and he most likely wanted to see if there was some extra food lying around Been doing that for years. Could have told you if you asked. Someday you should walk over to his place just go down the hill cross over the tracks, take the path to the left and keep walking. When you get to the large rocks take a right and yell, HELLO. That’s to let Jacob know that you are coming, if you don’t you may just startle him and he’ll take target practice on your dumb ass. Sneaking up on a man’s place way out here in the woods isn’t wise.

Jacob’s mother was a Goff and that family never thought much of the Wilburs. The Goff’s claim to fame was they were descendents of some of the people who came over on the Mayflower. So of course they thought that they had stepped down from all the heavens. The Wilburs on the other hand came from only God knows where. Some say they were a mixed breed. But I guessed that they figured that she would be marrying and moving out into the woods so at least she wouldn’t be parading around town with her poor self. Now I heard tell from Louise Purple that Jacob’s mother’s mother never gave up hope that her little dimple would leave her husband and come home to the families homestead. Never set foot in these parts but would drive to the end of Beaver Road and leave packages of goods for the Jacob’s ma and the kids. Her family still got a bunch of land over on Clark’s Hill in Goon City. Way up near the top just past the airport. Her mother was a Clark who came to these part way back. Some say they were Swamp Yankees and somehow got a hold tracts of land from the old Indian chief that ran the place before the white man came. Jacob’s place now is nothing but a small hut. The home his mother and father build burned to the ground back in 58 and he never rebuilt the place. He built his own 2 room shack and there he’s been for all these years. One fall I went over there with Harry when Jacob took to being sick. Harry nursed him back to health and after that they became good friends. Took him over a week. He stayed right there with the old man. Pitched his tent in the yard and that’s where he slept the few hours that he could sleep. Jacob was a friend of old man Donald and that is why he knows to come up here and find food. These were Donald’s trees and his farm. His sister still owns it and lets Harry and I come up here and grow what we need. She doesn’t even ask us for an apple or a tomato. Guess she got enough going on down near her place.

You probably scared him. He knows that you’re not Harry and didn’t recognize you at all. Well he hasn’t been around all summer. Stays off there to himself and doesn’t bother no one. That’s a good way to live. Someday like all of us he will be food for worms only he will be lying around for a good long time before anyone even finds him. Wild animals sure can do a job on a dead mans body out here in the woods. Saw it once and it smelled to high heaven. Never understood that saying, it should be it smelled like the bowels of hell had come up to the earth and was laying about back in the woods. I found out that the left over was a hiker and fell over a rock and banged his head, and died there on the spot. Just laid there all summer, into the fall, through the winter, thank goodness for winter as he froze up and didn’t emit any odor and then into the next spring until he was found about the middle of the next fall.

I don’t remember who found him but think it was that old lady Gaverts from up on Phillys Peak. She was known to wander all around in the woods looking for something good to take home with her. Nuts, berries, willow for weaving, herbs whatever she could find. Harry had to tell her once where she couldn’t come looking anywhere near his area. Stay up on Philly’s peak you old bat. Well the day she found the hiker her screams were heard all the way up to the main road and all around down to here. Someone thought she was in trouble in the woods but Harry knew better. That old bag must a found something that she wasn’t looking for. Miss Donalds told Harry that when old lady Gaverts found the leftovers of the hiker she ran screaming all the way home. Right by her cottage she went. Not even stopping to tell what was wrong. Must have been a sight. Well that sure cured her from nosing around on other people’s land and trying to take what isn’t hers. She should have been the first to heed the story of Mary Talbert who some say came around Harry’s place picking the wild food much too often for his liking and he killed her and ate her bones and all. Yeap, but they got the story wrong, I’m the one who did her in, got part of her buried out near my dog house. Saving it for a rainy day,ha ha ha, a good chew later. Now you know so I will have to kill you if you hang around, eat you up and bury your bones out near my dog house. Dog was just as bad as Harry always joking but dog was a scary joker with big teeth and claws to match. Harry told me he used to let the dog sleep in bed with him but that the dog scratched his leg too much but he sure was warm in the winter.

You have to leave some food for folks who don’t have any and that come around looking for something to eat. You know we got tramps around here they come up from the tracks and get a bit of this and a bit of that. Never take more than the meal they are going to make, so we all get along. If I was you I would leave half of those apples for Jacob. He will be delighted that you picked them for him as he has trouble getting up and down trees now-a-days. You know said the dog, no one has ever bothered Harry’s place, well no one in this world that I know of and I have been here for many a year. They all respect the old man, or some yes let me say do fear him. They got this thing that he will catch them and eat them up one, two, three with no regrets and no letter sent to the next of kin to inform them that their dearly beloved has met the fate of being ate by an old cannibal out in the woods. If someone wants something from Harry they leave a message down near the Elderberry tree and little bird will bring it up to Harry early the next day. They know, wait here if Harry wants to see you and help you he will let you know. There are all sorts of ways to let you know so just sit there and wait. A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t heard back from him in four days then be on your way. He either isn’t home or he doesn’t care about you and your problem. Nobody dared to cross that line. I will be the first to say I am glad of that. There’s already too much trouble no need for outsiders to start more, no need for them to bring us any more problems that they carry with them. Shit, that’s how one can catch-all sorts of things. I was afraid when we stayed out at old Jacob’s place. Afraid that Harry would come down with something too and then there would be no one to care for him and if he went on to wherever a person goes then who would take care of me. I suppose I could run down to Miss Donalds house and she would take pity on me but she doesn’t know dog talk so it wouldn’t be a very intellectual partnership. She already has two dogs and I don’t like them. They’re stupid and only care about bones and sleeping. Now I like a good bone every now and then and I really like a good ham bone. Sometime Sid from the store in town will wrap me up one and stick it in with our supplies. A good ham bone to chew on is certainly an afternoon delight.

Dogs delightful ham bone.

Time to Go.
I came to my decision very quickly. I would leave. Head back to New York, look up some old friends. Get out of this life and into something new. I was sick to death of things that go bump in the night, sick of the great beyond and sick of something behind every bush revengeful and ready to pounce. I was not strong enough to continue to learn on how to get along with these things and how to grow from there. I was sick to death of guessing and my guessing always being wrong. Another place closed down. Another part of my life over. Time to reinvent and come out new. You know I love the woods, the trees, the flowers, the streams, just be out with the smells of a forest. But too much has been introduced to me out here that takes the fun out of just being here. Nope, I had to leave, no sense talking myself out of it. We left a good size bag of apples for Jacob, left more up on the tree, picked  a large batch of marigolds for drying and went home.

Once when I was young I did an art piece of closing down sections of town. How to get from point A to point D without passing B and C. Go around, up and down, sideways, in and out but don’t pass in B or C. Pretty soon the folks that were in B or C would think that you no longer were around town. Sometimes I was bad in section E. Well I had to get to section F. How about the long way around so I would avoid the folks in section E. It all worked for a while but then I ran out of alternative routes and knew it was time to move on. I even ran out of disguises.  Go somewhere else, maybe you can come back someday when things quiet down in all the sections where you have offended folks and they would no longer come out of their store or house and chase you down the street with a shot-gun or broom. I always prefered to be chased by a broom it reminded me of the days when I was really young and my mother chased me with the fly swatter. Hey Mom I am not a fly but that swat sure hurts. One time she was chasing me and I got under the bed. She kept trying to move the bed back and forth but I held on and moved along with it. Couldn’t get me so she gave up. See just goes to prove that there is always a way out of something one just has to find it. A way out of studying with the old warlock of the woods. Is there a way out. Would I be able to carry what little knowledge that no I can’t yet write about here on these pages with me? Will it help me or only serve to confuse matters more than things are already confused? Will I be able to continue my studies about the healing herbs? Will I still be able to fly or will I even want to bother?

Maybe it was time I came down to earth and settled in and just be normal for a change. Ah, normal never was and I don’t know if I would need to go to school to learn how to be normal. Never fit. Some find it so easy to just fit in. Round pegs in round hole. Perfect as always. I have never found such a perfect place. A place where all the answers are found a place where they grow on the trees. Pluck them off and then you will find that you too have the answer. Don’t fret even if it is an answer provided by someone else. It’s their answer. You want someone’s answer so you don’t have to think for yourself. So what, so many people say. Now isn’t that easy, easy that way, oh so easy. No I just never fit. Sometime an answer from someone else was fine. Who likes to think all the time anyway. I was a strange kid even to my own family. My mother use to tell me, “If I didn’t know any better I would think that someone left you on our doorstep, you’re nothing like anyone else in this house, in my mother and fathers house, or in your fathers mothers and fathers house,you must have come from somewhere else other than where we came from.” Yes, that was me, from somewhere else, I don’t fit, but will never call it quits. I will make something of not fitting. I was still a lovable outcast except when I got a bit too crazy. As an older outfit when I smoked too much pot or the time that I made a real fool out of myself when Kim and I were high and freaked out the customers in a local restaurant she first removing her hamburger and inserting her sunglasses and then our weeding of the window boxes, screaming, “We got to weed this garden. We ran how we ran out of that place. Up the hill and hid. Just in time before the cops drove in.

Oh yes, I was a loner who hung out in the attic playing with my sister’s Barbie doll, got my own when I was 10 putting it in an empty paper bag and walking out of the 5 and 10 cent corner store. How I loved to go shopping, bring an empty paper bag, get what you want and walk out the door. It was easy back then. The old man that ran the store was way towards the back and the toys were along the side. One time I almost got caught but noticed him peeking at me from behind the sewing thread and other notions.   Yeah a loner I was, hungry for sex, I sat on a long fat hammer handle down in the abandon shower room in the basement and shot my cum all over the floor, lifted my naked ass in the air and got a hump from Prince the dog, and as many days as possible got fucked by Dickie Moons in a cave above the railroad tracks. A boy outsider who played movie star paper dolls designing cut out gowns for Elizabeth Taylor, made paintings and sculpture that no one understood because as it was then as now they didn’t even try, preferred to build cities in the large sand piles rather than play baseball out in the hot sun with other boys, as a young man read the beat poets, sang freedom songs with black folks, marched for peace and got punched in the face once or twice by rednecks, liked to play dress up in my mothers red bridesmaid gown, with lace curtains piled high on my head like the wigs of yesterday, played for hours alone up in the attic or in my bedroom, played the indian, the black hat out law, the kid taken prisoner in games that children play. Now don’t get me wrong I did do boy things, I wasn’t all outcast, I helped my father saw all the wood for our furnace every fall, shoveled the sidewalks and driveway, went to school dances with girls even if I wanted to go with boys, smoked camel cigarettes so everyone would think that I was a real man. (damn how publicity twists us around.) That was me, I liked most of it, had fun and games doing it and just moved on to the next game whenever the need came up and stared me in the face. Games I looked at it as all games. I outsider always found someplace to be. I had to for I was Benny and that is just what Benny did.

Harry walked in the door right before noon. He was away 4 days not 3. “ran into a few things that I would have rather not been face to face with but came out smelling like a sweet potato flower,” he told me. I knew by now that I might as well not ask him what had been the trouble as he wouldn’t have told me straight up and would have made me play around a game with him. Is it this? Is it that? What was it before you came back? “Are you hungry Harry, I made some lentils and baked a batch of corn muffins?” Harry ate not speaking much but looking out into space. I could tell something was on his mind before he even said, “So you are going to leave here, whats the date of your departure?” “I don’t know yet but was thinking that this life isn’t really for me, that no matter how hard I try I just can’t seem to find what I should be finding and do what I should be doing. While you were gone the old dog and myself had a great conversation about everything and that is when I became convinced that I wanted to be doing something else. What I don’t know. I never did and I still don’t. But got to take my chances or I will never know. I’ll leave in the morning if that’s okay with you and hit the road down to New York. Maybe there is something down there for me.” Harry said nothing except that he was going to bed. He wasn’t around in the morning when I left, hit the tracks and headed for Goon City from there I planned to take the highway down to NYC. Goodbye Harry. The dog barked 3 times at me as I closed the gate to the compound. “I will miss you, you were fun, and the games we played I always won” He let out a long WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOF.

This would be the last time that I stayed for any length of time in or around Goon City. There was really nothing there for me any more. The folks in the run-down section of town all casted a jaundice eye towards me thinking that I was something evil and would do them in or the very least something would rub off on them and they would succumb to some disease that ran amok in their bodies. I wanted to stop and say goodbye to Mamma Wally but didn’t out of fear of who would be hanging around her restaurant. I stopped off at Ruthie Hillard’s house and left some paintings with her. “You can always stay here if you want.” I’m not afraid of you nor am I afraid of old Harry Johnson. Ruthie was one of the few who called Harry by his god given name. She didn’t believe that he was of the devil as their aint no heaven and their anit no hell you heard that before I am sure. Well its true. You can stay out in the old house for as long as you want. I got plenty of food and a good income coming in. Stay around here Benny, make art and live. You got all the back woods if you still want that life style. Never have to go into town for anything if you don’t want to and you know by now that I don’t care what anyone around here thinks. But one thing I would ask of you. Please shave off that beard. You are such a handsome young man and that beard makes you look older and unkempt. I knew a man with a beard once and after dinner a person could come by and find half his supper in his beard. PU is what I say about beards. “Yeah Ruthie,” I thought, “the only beard that you ever liked is the bearded clam between some woman’s legs.” How we laughed on that one. Recalling her telling me the exact same things 20 years ago. I shaved it while thinking now I will have another chore to do each day. Ah, maybe not. Maybe I will go for two days without shaving and then shave. Better to be shaved if I am going to the city rather than looking like a wild woods man.

I hung out for two weeks with Ruthie and did some odd jobs around her place. Before leaving she gave me $120.00. Now that was quite a bit of money back in those days. I knew from Janet and Lee that I could get an apartment on the Lower East Side for a few bucks a month. I probably would have to share it with cockroaches and a occasional mouse or city rat that happened through but as long as it had heat and running water all would be right with the world. Maybe this time around I would find something good, get off this road of traveling and settle in for a while. Ruthie had Billy Bates drive me to the highway two towns away stuck out my thumb. There I stood in my new look beardless, long hair tied back, waiting for a ride to my new life. With any luck I would be in the city by early afternoon look up Janet at the Day Job Placement Service in the Village where she worked, stay over night with her and Lee and find my own place in the morning. Janet told me there was plenty of day work and knew just the job for me. It was at some type of art place that did reproductions and they needed someone to help keep their sales slips in order, do filing and other odd jobs around the office. It was what she called a long time temp job that wasn’t too demanding and in a weeks time I would have a month’s rent. Hold on to it for me I told here. I will be there tomorrow.


(1) Gleaning the fields.

The Gleaners 1857 by Jean Francois Millet









As instructed: Leviticus 23:22 “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.’”

Gleaning references can be seen through history from biblical times, when farmers were instructed not to harvest all of the food in their fields, but to leave some for poor people and travelers; to old England, where gleaning the manor fields was considered to be a right of the cottage-dwelling class; to modern times, where, although not as common as in previous eras, gleaning is still practiced, often by charitable groups as a means to distribute food to the poor, or by people who simply enjoy picking their own food from the source!

For more about gleaning see: Gleaning a harvest for the needy. 












This tree is really beautiful. Apples on a tree.










Apples’ curative powers were documented by self-proclaimed master surgeon John Gerarde in 1597. Apples were used as treatments for ailments from “a hot stomacke” and inflammations of all types, and as a beauty therapy. Root Phrases § “An apple a day keeps the …Apples’ curative powers were documented by self-proclaimed master surgeon John Gerarde in 1597. Apples were used as treatments for ailments from “a hot stomacke” and inflammations of all types, and as a beauty therapy. Root Phrases § “An apple a day keeps the doctor away:” From an old English advice, “Ate an apfel avore gwain to bed, makes the doctor beg his bread” (eat an apple before going to bed makes the doctor beg his bread).

Spirits of the Woods.












The Teutonic race believed in a spiritual being, who inhabited the woods, called in old German scrat. His character was the equivalent of the English hobgoblin, or the Irish cluricaune. The scrat as the spirit of the woods was properly called a waltscrat, but as he also inhabited fields, and homes, he was a field spirit, and a domestic spirit or ghost haunting the house. An old German vocabulary (1482) explains schraetlin, little scrats, by the Latin word penates, so, an image of him was probably an amulet, a protection to the house.

The lascivious nature of this spirit is implied by the fact that scritta, in Anglo-Saxon, and scrat, in old English, meant a hermaphrodite. Accordingly, the medieval vocabularies explain scrat by Latin equivalents, which all indicate companions or emanations of Priapus, and in fact, Priapus himself. Isidore gives the name of Pilosi, or “hairy men”, and tells us that they were called in Greek, Panitae—an error for Ephialtae?—and in Latin, Incubi and Inibi, applied to them on account of their intercourse with animals. So, they were the fauns and satyrs of antiquity, haunting, like them, the wild woods, and were characterized by the same petulance towards the other sex. Woe to the modesty of maiden or woman who ventured incautiously into their haunts.

As Incubi, they visited the house by night, and sexually violated people living there. Some of the most celebrated heroes of early medieval romances, like Merlin, were the children of incubi. They were known at an early period in Gaul by the name of Dusii, from which comes our modern word “deuce”, a word for a devil, used in such phrases as “the deuce take you!”. The term ficarii was also applied to them in medieval Latin, from the word ficus, already explained. Most of these Latin synonyms are given in the Anglo-Saxon vocabulary of Alfric, and are interpreted as meaning “evil men, spirits of the woods, evil beings”.







An old bible commentary describes these spirits of the woods as “monsters in the semblance of men, whose form begins with the human shape and ends in the extremity of a beast”. They were half man, half goat, identical with a class of hobgoblins known in England by the popular name of Robin Goodfellows, whose priapic character is sufficiently proved by the pictures of them attached to some of our early printed ballads……from Thomas Wright, the Worship of Generative Powers.

New Scrap Work by Ruthie Hillard.

I told Ruthie when I was down in Goon City for the wedding that I was writing about this period and she sent me one of her new scrap works. “I like the color scales that one finds on the flaps of boxes. I just rip them off and store them in a little box and when I am ready to put them together I just do. I had asked her if she had any examples of the art she was making from the time that I was writing about, and she said, You must have never listened to me when I told you that I got rid of most of my art. I have some photos in a box upstairs where I store my junk but don’t feel like going up there and sorting them out just for a short little blurb in your story. I don’t write dates on any of them so I really don’t remember when I did this or that or the other thing. So use the new one if you want. Its says Ruthie Hillard all over it no matter if it was done 50 years ago or just today. Now if you want to write another story about me then you can come down here, stay for a week or two and go through all my junk you will be very welcomed. Come down anytime.

So ends my life series with Harry Johnson, aka Snake Oil Johnson, warlock of the woods in days gone by in Goon City. I would love to someday go down those tracks which are no longer tracks but a hiking trail go up to the old compound and see what is left. No one that I talked to seems to know what happened up there, just that Donalds sister Dotty who is now 89 still lives on Daley Road and still holds on to the old farm. Sid’s market is long closed and Queenie Kloo is now dead. The artists in the run down center of town have all moved on, the Purple Cow and the building that it was in has been torn down, my old studio building done over and is now a real apartment with running water and heat, Old Edgars Place is now an Antique Store, still looks the same on the outside and the train tressel over the road has been dismantled. Only the ghosts of was once pass through there now.

I asked Ruthie if she ever heard of what happened to Harry but she didn’t. Call on Miss Donald when you are in town the next time. She would know. So that is just what I will do. I like to go down to visit some family still around in Goon City in the fall so maybe next month if I can work a trip in and time off from work. I just hope that I will be up to it. No telling about Goon City what one will find when one gets there and wants to poke around. Maybe a new story will pop up in my head.