- THE GRUNDLE -
Near the edge of Thornock Wood
 Where twilight breezes blow,
The village known as Potters Glen
 Lay nestled long ago.

The townsfolk dwelt in modest huts
 With little time to rest,
For life was hard in Potters Glen
 And each soul toiled their best.

Yet side-by-side they forged a bond
 And lived in fond accord–
Men tipped their hats as they would pass
 And children were adored.

But something icy rode the breeze
 That night the Grundle came–
He strode the roads and dusty paths,
 His edict to proclaim:

"I come with silver in my hat
 And pockets filled with gold

Where'er I walk I leave a trail
 Of opulence untold.

"If you allow me in your midst,
 Our lives will intertwine

My days will be a bit like yours
 And yours a bit like mine."


The townsfolk heard the Grundle's words
 And tried to comprehend–
"Does he imply our daily strife
 Is coming to an end?

"If we provide his daily needs,
 Vast riches he'll bestow!
So hurry, build a house for him
 Lest he decides to go!"


With all due haste, they sought to find
 A site all might agree
Would suit a manor fine enough
 For someone grand as he.

But every time they took him 'round
 To show the spot they chose,
The Grundle rolled his bulging eyes
 And wrinkled up his nose…

"This one lies too close to the road!
 That one, too far away!
The trees are far too crooked here,
 And there, the stones too gray!

"I guess unless I search myself
 There'll be no guarantee
They'll plan a manor fine enough
 For someone grand as me."


So through the town he sauntered forth
 To search for an abode;
He peered down every garden path
 And rambled every road.

Then suddenly the Grundle spied
 A spot that might fulfill
Halfway 'tween the village streets
 And graves of Widow's Hill.

"Upon this site I'll build my house
 The finest in the land,
And all the skills of Potter's Glen
 Shall be at my command.

"I'll watch their lowly lives from here
 While they look up at me,
And everyone will see my home
 Is grand as it can be."


And so the townsfolk set to work
 To fill the Grundle's needs;
The woodsmen cleared the building site,
 The gardeners pulled the weeds.

The sawmills whirred from dawn to dusk,
 The kilns were filled with bricks,
The blacksmith forged a zillion nails,
 The children picked up sticks.

The women stitched on velvet drapes,
 Glassblowers puffed with pride–
Yet every time the Grundle came
 He wasn't satisfied.

"This door should swing the other way,
 That floor is way too low,
Those windows let in too much sun,
 The bathtub fills too slow.

"Since all of you desire my gold,
 I'm sure you will agree
It would be prudent to avoid
 A reprimand from me."


Construction of the house resumed,
 Although the mood had changed
With each addition ridiculed,
 Rebuilt or rearranged.

But finally the house was done
 Despite the Grundle's scorn,
And all the townsfolk were relieved,
 But spirits frayed and worn.

One day the Grundle left his hill
 To frequent village stores,
When several children crossed his path,
 Enjoying life outdoors.

Their laughter filled the somber air
 With youthfulness unbound;
The Grundle watched them skip away,
 Then stomped his foot and frowned.

"I wouldn't think a little peace
 Should be too much to ask,
Or keeping children tucked away
 Would be so great a task.

"I'll let the merchants of this town
 Decide how things shall be

To banish children from the streets
 Or risk being shunned by me."


As dreary days passed into years,
 Contentment fell away–
The village known as Potters Glen
 Grew stagnant with decay.

The townsfolk dwelt in gaudy huts
 Bought with the Grundle's gold,
They'd earned by listening to his voice
 And doing what they're told.

The women judged their neighbor's worth
 By what each could afford,
Men scowled and spit as they would pass
 And children were abhorred.

Yet through it all the Grundle grinned
 Without the slightest clue
That since he'd moved to Potter's Glen
 All cheerfulness withdrew.

"From all the good that I have done,
 And good I shall do still,
A perfect village now resides
 Below me on this hill.

"'New Grundle's Glen' should be its name
 As far as I can see

A fitting tribute for a life
 Of someone grand as me."


No sooner had he spoke those words
 When something deep inside
Began to bulge within his chest;
 "Oh, no!" the Grundle cried.

A ruptured ego blocked his heart
 And swelled inside his head;
His insight blurred, his bluster slurred…
 And then he dropped down dead.

It took the town a day or two
 To notice he was gone
Since no one dared to soil his porch
 Or stray across his lawn.

They laid him in the oaken chest
 He'd kept beneath the stairs–
When suddenly they realized
 A quandary that was theirs.

"We lack a proper resting place
 Atop of Widow's Hill

Up there among the humble graves
 There's naught but holes to fill.

"No granite slab or wooden cross
 Should be his effigy

No earthen hole is deep enough
 For one as grand as he."


So townsfolk set upon his house
 And searched through every room
To find the treasures they would need
 To build the Grundle's tomb.

They pulled the rosewood off the walls
 And dislodged all the bricks,
They took the crystal chandelier
 And all the candlesticks.

They lined his casket with the drapes,
 Then gilded it with gold,
And carved his name upon the lid
 In letters deep and bold.

They built his tomb outside of town,
 Yet not too far away,
Where grass grew green and trees were straight
 But no one came to play.

And from that day in Potter's Glen,
 The townsfolk would agree
No better tribute could exist
 For one as dead as he.