'Twas a dark gray night on the old north shore
—and the wind and the waves were wild—
that the black-caped traveler came to her door
and begged to rest a while.
An hour's rest from the savage wind
she dared deny no man,
so graciously she asked him in
to sit and warm his hands.
She stirred the fire and bade him sit
before the merry blaze.
Sit he did, and stared at it,
with a lost and distant gaze.
She made the tea and cut the bread
and lit three candles more,
and asked the man what business led
him out on the old north shore.
with a smile on his face and a spark in his eye,
he began this tale to tell:
of a faraway place in an ancient time,
and of things he remembered well.
He told her the tales of a distant land,
of men who lived by the sword,
of knights who fought for their ladies' hands,
and for glory of kings and lords.
He told her the tales of the brave-hearted men
who marched to the Holy Land,
"And truer souls there have never been
who fight, their faith, to defend."
He recited the epics of ancient bards,
their songs of legend and lore,
soft tales of winning ladies' hearts,
heroes' sagas, and many more.
And of all the tales he told her,
not one failed to touch her heart—
whether lightly, and with pleasure,
or in some deeper, hidden part.
At some she laughed, at some she wept,
at some, did both and more!
And treasured were the thoughts she kept
of that night on the old north shore.
With a start she awoke and sat straight up,
and cast a look around.
On the table sat his empty cup,
but he was nowhere to be found!
The fire was nothing but a glow,
as was now the eastern sky;
it was only a dream, she had to know,
but there was still his teacup—why?
Blaming her own wild mind,
she gave up the thoughts as lost.
But there on his saucer, what did she find
but a gold crusader's cross?
She crept to her room up under the eaves
and gazed at the cross once more.
What a beautiful gift—but who would believe?—
from a knight on the old north shore.
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Copyright 2009, Mary R. Hawkins. All rights reserved.
Mary began writing stories at age six. It was only for fun at the time, but by age thirteen she realized that writing was her life's calling. Besides writing poems, short stories, and essays, she is now hard at work on her first novel. It is her prayer that God will use her writing to reach people all over the world with His truth.