Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Magic Wood

I meant to post this months ago...

Henry Treece
painting by Barry Moser 1992
We've found that summer nights can be dark and mysterious and even a little bit scary.  Anyone familiar with the erlking folk tales will recognize his spirit in this poem by Henry Treece (first published in 1945).  I love to read the repeating refrain:

The wood is full of shining eyes,
The wood is full of creeping feet,
The wood is full of tiny cries:
You must not go to the wood at night!

I met a man with eyes of glass
And a finger as curled as the wriggling worm,
And hair all red with rotting leaves,
And a stick that hissed like a summer snake.

He made me a penny out of a stone,
And showed me the way to catch a lark
With a straw and a nut and a whispered word
 And a pennorth of ginger wrapped up in a leaf.

The illustrations and wording may be a bit sinister for younger folks.  I've read it to Charlotte a few times and she actually requested it the other night.  She called it the "scary night" book.


  1. So many new things I'm finding here! I'm going to look for this one.

  2. This is my favorite children's book, though it's not exactly kid-friendly. I love the atmosphere.