ttto “Dryad’s Promise” by Betsy Tinney
(I wrote this in the Rotten Apple filk at Contata 6 this year)
Now, most Scottish dryads only want sun and water,
They cling to tradition like leeches to knees,
knowing their oak cousins deep in the wetlands
are distilling the best of whiskeys.
“No, you sisters mine, no,
no, please give back all the wet forest floor,
for these loamy distillings are nothing but spirits,
and our grandmothers’ trees deserve more.”
Sometimes, at new moon, they open their tavern,
their oldest of barrels are then newly cracked,
when the travelers came, you can see them all drinking,
the barmaids fill glass after glass,
Crying, “Ho, you customers, ho!
Don’t drink the swill served in town anymore,
for our grandmothers’ trees bring rare life to our barrels,
and you’ll learn to like dryad scotch more.”
Warned are the locals about the oak’s daughters,
of seasons and centuries of this long line,
when oak forest swampland runs red with the slaughter,
the drinks are on sale, you will find.
“Grow, you peat bog moss, grow
each of the ones we’ve interred, you will find
in tasting our whiskey, the deepest of flavors
will ever bring dead Scots to mind.”
In back of the tavern, surrounded by oak trees,
they tower there, silent, majestic, and strong
and the ghost of a customer, in grave not-so-shallow,
brings news that chills to the bone,
“Go, you vagabonds, go!
Do not tarry here lest they keep you behind!
Though it may seem like gifts when they give you some free ones,
I still cannot leave here, I find,
no, that taste in the scotch, it is mine!”