Disclaimer: All things related to tolkien's work belongs to him. The poem "Woodman spare that tree!" was by George Pope Morris.

Woodman, spare that tree!

The man balanced his axe against his shoulder as he walked into the woods, by rights, he was not allowed in here. Neither he nor anyone from his village had permission from the woodland King to cut down any of the trees in these woods. He would not do this if there were no other choice, but winter was coming and he had to cut enough wood to sell so that he could buy provisions for his family.

He soon found a suitable one and the man readied his axe and poised it against the trunk of the tree. He lifted his tool but just as the axe was about to strike, a soft voice drifted clearly to his ears.

Woodman, spare that tree!

Touch not a single bough!

In youth it sheltered me,

And I'll protect it now.

The man froze. What form of devilry was this? The voice seemed to come from the trees around this one! The singing continued and it seemed to have grown louder.

That old familiar tree,

Whose glory and renown

Are spread o'er land and sea,

And wouldst thou hew it down?

The voice was not accusing, as it tried to coax the woodcutter not to carry out the deed which he had set out to do. The woodcutter lowered his axe as he listened to what words were being said.

Woodman forbear thy stroke!

Cut not its earth bound ties!

Oh! Spare the aged oak,

Now towering to the skies.

The voice now rung clearly to the woodman's ears and it had grown pleading.

When but an idle boy

I sought its grateful shade;

In all their gushing joy

Here too my sisters played.

My mother kissed me here

My father pressed my hand –

Forgive this foolish tear,

But let the old oak stand!

My heart strings round thee cling,

Close as thy bark, old friend!

Here shall the wild bird sing,

And still thy branches bend.

Old tree, the storm still brave!

And, woodman, leave the spot!

While I've a hand to save,

Thy ax shall harm it not.

The last line was uttered firmly and with a slight threat to it. The woodman stood unmoving, as though deep in thought. His heart bade him not to hew this tree, and yet he had his family to think of! He did not know he had spoken his thoughts aloud, and yet he must have for the voice in the trees answered him.

They will not starve. Leave it to me.

The woodman thought for a moment. He did not know if it was wise to trust this promise. But the sincerity of the voice and the urging of his heart made up his mind for him and slowly, he moved away from the tree and made his way home.

Sunlight that had crept between the leaves of the trees shone off golden hair of an elf who sat in the boughs of a tree.  The elf grinned to himself smugly and placed one hand gently on the rough surface of the aged oak. No one shall harm you, my friend, not if I have something to say about it.

The End

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