Not knowing how to shirk the blame,
The wicked stepmother was afraid;
She searched for a handkerchief
To secure her stepson’s head
And then she sat him on a stool
As if he were not dead
Under the juniper tree
With an apple in his hand.
Running in from the garden
To find her mother by the fire
Stirring a pot, Margery enquired:
‘What’s wrong with my brother?
I asked him for the apple, mother,
That he’s holding in his hand.
But he did not say a word
And I do not understand.
He looks so pale and I am afraid.’
Her mother replied,
‘Fiddlesticks! Ask him again
And, if he gives no answer,
He’ll respond to pain.’
When Margery’s brother
Didn’t reply, she boxed his ear
And his head fell off –
She ran away in fear.
When her father came home to dinner
And asked for his little boy,
Margery wept bitterly and could not reply.
But the evil stepmother easily told a lie,
That he was visiting his uncle
Without saying good-bye.
Margery was sorry
For what she thought she’d done;
She took her best handkerchief,
Wrapped up her brothers’ bones
And buried them under the juniper tree,
Where a bird sat, singing merrily.
© Kim M. Russell, 2016
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