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Newbury's Old Elm






Category: TALES OF PURITAN LAND

Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

Among the venerable relics of Newbury few are better known and more
prized than the old elm. It is a stout tree, with a girth of twenty-four
and a half feet, and is said to have been standing since 1713. In that
year it was planted by Richard Jacques, then a youthful rustic, who had a
sweetheart, as all rustics have, and adored her as rustics and other men
should do. On one of his visits he stayed uncommonly late. It was nearly
ten o'clock when he set off for home. The town had been abed an hour or
more; the night was murky and oppressively still, and corpse-candles were
dancing in the graveyard. Witch times had not been so far agone that he
felt comfortable, and, lest some sprite, bogie, troll, or goblin should
waylay him, he tore an elm branch from a tree that grew before his
sweetheart's house, and flourished it as he walked. He reached home
without experiencing any of the troubles that a superstitious fancy had
conjured. As he was about to cast the branch away a comforting vision of
his loved one came into his mind, and he determined to plant the branch
at his own door, that in the hours of their separation he might be
reminded of her who dwelt beneath the parent tree. He did so. It rooted
and grew, and when the youth and maid had long been married, their
children and grandchildren sported beneath its branches.





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Previous: The Wild Man Of Cape Cod



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