David Lewis Paget
The Wishing Well
We’d bought a cottage, but sight unseen
At the edge of a thickety wood,
We’d had enough of the city scene
And thought it would do us good.
At one with nature, with birds and bees,
The owner was eager to sell,
He didn’t tell us it had no power,
And water was drawn from a well.
He wouldn’t leave us his new address
So we saw it after he’d gone,
I looked at Ellie and she at me,
She said, ‘I think we’ve been done! ’
The thatch was leaking, the walls were cracked
And it needed a coat of paint,
‘Oh well, we’re stuck with it now, ’ I said,
‘But a palace it certainly ain’t! ’
The one surprise was a fairy dell
That lay at the edge of the wood,
And in the midst was a Wishing Well,
Under a Witch-Hat hood.
A wooden bucket was still in place
And hung from an oakum thread,
‘We’d better replace the rope on that,
Or you’ll be fishing, ’ she said.
The ground was covered in bluebells, for
They bloomed, that time of the year,
And all around them were butterflies,
Testing their wings in the air.
‘Oh Jack, ’ she said, ‘what a dainty place,
What a marvellous, magical scene, ’
I had to admit, it moved me then,
So different to where we’d been.
We roughed it there for a day or so
While I fixed a couple of leaks,
I hinged the door and I blocked the draughts
Though the cracks would take me weeks.
We bought an antique paraffin lamp
For a little light in the gloom,
And lay on cushions that Ellie brought,
Made love on the floor of the room.
The water level within the well
Was high with the Springtime rain,
I only dipped the bucket a foot
To fill it with iced champagne,
The water there was so pure and clear
And cold, from the Wishing Well,
I said, ‘This couldn’t be water, Ell,
It’s more like a fine Moselle.’
We worked by day, then we sat and read
In the pale white evening light,
Then rose with the early morning sun
After a dreamless night.
But after a fortnight Ellie rose
And she said she was feeling queer,
I said it was probably just a bug,
‘It’s the flu time of the year! ’
But the pains, she said, got worse, she said,
She began to sweat and grieve,
She couldn’t eat, but she drank a lot,
And then she began to heave.
I fed her the water from the well
And said it would flush it out,
But she soon went into convulsions,
And I panicked then, no doubt.
The doctor took over an hour to come
And that must have sealed her fate,
For Ellie lay, and she breathed her last
As he entered the garden gate.
He took one look at her pale white face
As I wept, and held her hand,
‘I think it’s a case of cholera, ’
He said, ‘Do you understand? ’
The white coats swarmed all over the place
And took in the Wishing Well,
Wanted to know if we drank from it
And I cried out, ‘God in Hell!
They grappled down to the very depths
And their hook was jagged at the bed,
Then hauled on up to the surface by
The hair, was a woman’s head!
She’d been down there for a month or so,
Was starting to come apart,
The rest they got the following day
And took away on a cart.
I drained the well in the Autumn, and
I filled, with gravel and shell,
I should have known by the Witches-Hat
It was under an evil spell.
They caught the guy in another state,
They fairly ran him to ground,
He hadn’t left a forward address,
He thought he’d never be found.
He’d killed his wife and had weighed her down
And had dropped her down in the well,
I pray to the God of just rewards
That his soul will burn in Hell!
2 May 2014
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