A peasant woman, so to speak,
Appearing frail and old and weak
Became the measure to ensnare,
As Gandolina donned grey hair
And called forth children to her keep,
Alone, to make their parents weep.
The village where she came to dwell,
Enveloped in nightmarish hell,
Could not foresee the damage done
To every daughter; every son.
Her appetite’s voracious wont
Became the measure meant to haunt
The minds and dreams of all around
And did so ere she touched the ground.
Concealed within her quaint disguise
The world about had blinded eyes
And Gandolina had her fill,
Conducting magic at her will.
The witch could shape the wind and trees;
At other times, controlled the breeze.
She brought good fortune to the seas
Where creatures dwelt and brought disease.
Suspicion drew from in the well
Of nagging doubt and came to swell
Within the chest of one man’s heart.
His daughter’s body, torn apart
Had been discovered near his home.
He and his wife began to roam
The countryside in search of hope
Or measures that would help them cope
And bring back answers, but instead
They stumbled on their missing dead.
A pile of bones beneath some brush
Where Gandolina, in a rush,
Displaced them recently until
She came to finish up her kill.
Before the thane they brought their find,
But peasants’ lives were of no mind,
And at the gates of his great hall,
The words were echoed, left to fall
On warriors watching spear to spear.
The parents left, bereft of cheer
As down the corridor engaged
The ruler’s children, merry; stayed
Within the reach of safety’s net.
The troubles of the world’s regret
Unknown or touched upon by them
Until a fading beacon, dim,
And lo, the thane let down his guard.
He set his children to the yard
And measured with his wife in length
The channeled instinct of his strength.
Without adults to watch their play,
The thane had sent his men away
For he desired his woman’s touch,
And lusty passion was his crutch.
The aching parents who had gone;
The ones who found the fleshless bone
Belonging to their child in life
Embraced the daunting, endless strife.
And as they walked the road to where
A hollow house with naught to care
The laughter of three children rose
Beyond the woodland’s fearsome throes.
And though the father turned to leave,
The mother could not, for to grieve
Had been her only saving grace
From when her child had left her space.
The man, a blacksmith still by trade,
Created weapons, one displayed
About the open air as night
Enshrouded all and swallowed light.
The woman, more than just a cook
Or silent force, began to look
Disgruntled, for the lack of aid
Received from where the truth had weighed.
Invigorated by the sound
Of children playing all around
Convicted her to go and see.
Enticed by memory’s decree,
And fearful of the coming dark
Embraced the woodland’s brooding mark.
It was not long before the sky
Erupted in night’s lullaby
And every dreaded monster’s sound
The mother heard, for all around
The land went bump, an eerie crease
About the trees broke in a breeze,
And looking back, the blacksmith, gone,
Unseen, had left her all alone,
Unknown to her the horrors crept,
Devoured him, as now he slept
Eternally, and not a piece
Of skin or blood they left; release
Condemned their bodies to abide
By Gandolina’s wicked pride.
The giggles and the laughter stopped,
And in the darkness cruelly cropped,
The lopping beast bent over three,
A ripped and shredded child’s degree
Of tattered flesh as cowered two.
The woman, sword aloft, ran through,
As vicious jaws with dripping blood
Awaited joyfully the flood
Of battle’s sweeping, savored spark
Upon her in the lonesome dark …