The Tree That Fell

By Joshua David Ling

Word Count: 689

Rating: G

Summary: The Legend of St. Boniface in rhyme.

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Nature groaned like Paul foretold,

Winter was everlasting.

Dead men drunkenly stumbled in the dark,

And in Hesse, troubled times weren’t passing.

Or so it seemed in ancient Germany,

With broken and splintered tribes,

But in the coldest, bleakest winter,

Hope began to thrive.


Boniface, a Man of God,

Had his heart pricked by the Lord of Love.

He came to proclaim to his Germanic brothers

That Salvation came from Above.

But one thing stood in the way of Boniface

And his Missionary Brothers;

As long as the Thunder Oak stood in Hesse,

They would never trust in something so ‘Other.’


“Tree of Death,

Tree of Life,

Give to Thor,

He’ll win your fight.”

That is what the Gothi’s said

All those years ago.


“Darkness, Injustice,

Political Control!

Death, Death, Death,

Fear for your soul!”

Was Boniface’s counter

As he read from his scrolls.


Yet none would hear the sacred cry

From The Baptizer of the Germans.

They served their Thor and Odin well,

And only wanted to be heathens.


Then Boniface approached the Thunder Oak

And he challenged Thor’s strength and might:

“Nothing but death will come from this tree—

Until it falls this night!

I hereby defy the god of thunder!

May Thor strike me down!

Or else I will fell his thunder oak!”


Then the world shook with the sound

Of the axe-head wielded by Boniface,

Striking deeply into the trunk

Of that mighty symbol of their god,

One by one the axe-blows sunk.


Said he, “Choose now to serve the Lord of Heaven!

The Christ Child comes to you!

Bow down and worship his almighty glory!

All of you, right now! Do!”


The People began to gather around

And the Chieftains and Gothis protested,

But then they began to confer for a moment

About who would most likely be bested.


“Surely Thor will strike him down!”

Many began to think,

And the thought of seeing such a mighty sight,

Began to settle and sink.


The head Gothi stood and declared to Boniface,

“This must be some sort of joke!

But if you want to commit suicide,

Continue chopping the Thunder Oak!


“Thor will rend the heavens open,

And strike you with his bolt!

Then all of Hesse will surely know

You were nothing but a dolt.

Your God is fairy tales and myth!

And nothing more than that!”


Just then the Thunder oak buckled

And it began to crack.


Chop went the axe for the lives sacrificed,

Chop went the axe for every lie told,

Chop went the axe ending the Gothi regime,

Chop went the axe against sins bold,

Chop went the axe against sorcerers

Who had kept the land in fear,

Chop went the axe and the whole land shuddered,

For a new spring was finally here.

No eye or ear could scarcely believe,

But their unbelief melted inside;

The Thunder Oak fell as Jehovah’s wind blew—

The Long Winter had finally died.


And then good Boniface cried,

“You are all as broken as your ‘sacred’ oak,

This tree is a symbol of that,

But forgiveness is something God offers you freely;

You will not die from lack.”

He chopped through the rubble at the base of the tree,

And a small oak sapling stood there intact.


“Now let this small tree be a symbol

Of your new God who is without flaw;

Though do not leave it outside in the cold;

Take it, and let its fragrance divine

Inside your homes every year on this day;

And may God’s endless love entwine

Your hearts together and toward Him,

And instead of sacrificing men,

Give thoughtful gifts to one another;

From this new custom you will learn

Of God’s never-ending love

In winter or in spring,

And that He will one day come again.

And to Him, let us sing!”


And so, though the Hessians created gods

For reasons they didn’t know,

The True God found them once again

And washed their sins white as snow.

He melted their hearts of stone and ice,

And grafted them back on the tree of life.


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