Hairy Tree
hairytree.jpg
t1.gif

he Hairy Tree is a large, misshapen tree of inteterminate type, growing near Girvan, on the coast of Carrick. The tree, and the area beneath its boughs, maintains a faerie aura - a pocket of unrest in the surrounding Dominion.

Origin

An old tale among the villagers tells of its planting and growth.

Many years ago, in the time of King Fergus, there came to Girvan a young woman. Twisted and hateful she was, as she was a daughter of the Mac Arawn, who rules under the hills. She saw the good folk of the village had started to build their kirk, and she took offence as only the Kind Folk can. "Beam by beam," she said to herself, "and stone by stone, ye'll wish that Christ himself were gone!"

So she took up the eye of a sorceror and the finger of a thief, packed them in the earth from a battlefield and bundled it all up in the hair of a stolen child, then she planted her bundle in yonder field. She gave it her water and it grew by the light of the moon behind clouds, 'til one night it brak forth from the cold ground. By morning, it grew straight, dark and tall, and the villagers marvelled at what had been gifted them.

The stones of the kirk were great and heavy, and the wood of the tree were strong, so the villagers took up their axes and felled it that very day. Then they took up their adzes and split it into beams, and they placed the beams in the kirk wall, for to hold the stones strong and high. They looked at what they had wrought, and were pleased at their labours.

Come morn, though, there could be naught but maunding. The beams of the wall were gone and the stones of the kirk fallen upon each other. In yonder field, the straight tree had grew by night a dark, strong branch, and from that branch, hanging by its hair, was the head of the first man to swing his axe against the trunk.

The villagers cut the man's head down and buried in the churchyard, and once they had finished with prayer they took up their axes again, and cut wood for the kirk, and took adzes and split beams from the wood, and built a strong frame for walls and a roof, and strang did they call upon Christ to protect them in the night.

Christ did not hear their plea, but the Mac Arawn's daughter did, and she shrieked and capered. "Hauld to your God," she cried. "Beam by beam and stone by stone, ye'll wish that Christ himself were gone!"

Come morn, the strong frame was gone, the tree had two branches, and two heads hung by their hair. So the villagers put down their axes, and locked away their adzes, and took up torches and pitch, for to burn the tree down to its roots. The tree took fire, and the heads blackened and charred, and a great pall of smoke rose, for to blot out the light of heaven. Day became night, and with no light for their labours, the villagers took to their beds, and wept and wailed while the tree cracked and smoldered.

Come morn, the tree was great and dark and whole, and twenty branches grew from it, and twenty heads hung from its boughs, for the Mac Arawn's daughter had been busy with her knife in the night. By the stones of the kirk, she had builded a strong frame for walls and a roof out of the bones of the dead, and she shrieked and capered high upon it. "Christ is gone," she cried, "Christ is gone! Bone by bone and tree by tree, build a house of stone for ME!"

At this, the villagers cried out, for though they were afeared, still they were proud men, and would not submit to one such as she. They took the axes from their homes, and took cord from their nets. They cut down the bones of their kin and chased the Mac Arawn's daughter to the base of her tree. They surrounded her, threw the cord round her neck and hung her from the boughs, as she had hung them.

That is why nobody goes near the Hairy Tree, no - not even to cut down the heads that still grow upon it. And that is why, when the kirk-bell rings, anyone under the tree will hear only the creaking of the Mac Arawn's daughter as her body swings back and forth.

Vis Source

Since its foundation, magi of Alerock have come to Girvan to collect vis from the tree. Every autumn, hair begins to grow in certain places on the tree's branches. By midwinter, heads have grown beneath the hair like grisly fruit. The eight most fully-grown heads on the night before the winter solstice contain a pawn of corpus vis each.

Annaeus Aurelian has stated that the wood of the tree itself could probably be harvested for herbam vis, but given the results of earlier efforts to cut it for wood, nobody has yet attempted this.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License