They’s heaps o’ folks here still believe
On Christmas – that’s Old Christmas – Eve,
The elders bloom upon the ground,
And critters low and kneel around
In every stall, though none I know
Has seen them kneel, or heard them low,
Unless, maybe, ‘t was Judith Daughn
And she’s been dead these years agone.
But, as a girl, I ‘member well
How, sitting at her loom, she’d tell
Of a strange thing that once befell,
When she lived here upon this creek
With Jason. I’ve heard old folks speak
Of their log-house, when it was new.
All kinds of colored lilies grew,
On bushes, to the very door;
And Jason laid a puncheon floor,
And framed a table and a bed
For Judith. They had just been wed,
When they came here from mouth o’Ball.
Judith, you see, she was a Hall,
And all her folks was mighty sore
When she took up with Jason; for
They long had been a row between
The Daughns and Halls. The Daughns was mean.
Jim Daughn, he killed Dalt Hall, and then
Dalt’s brother got one of their men.
And so, for years, the fighting went,
With every sort o’ devilment,
Till Jason saw Judith one fall day.
poem continues HERE…
from ‘Old Christmas and other Kentucky Tales in Verse, by William Aspenwall Bradley, Boston & New York, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1917
I have tried to invest each story, as I have told it, with as much as possible of the peculiar color and atmosphere of mountain life, and to make it a means of interpreting the spirit of that life to the country at large, which has need of what the mountaineer—still intact in all his vital and spiritual energy—has to offer it.
William Aspenwall Bradley