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Some townships have a legacy and the sleepy town of Maggiville was one such town. The story dates back to nearly 200 years ago. I’ve had an interest in the story for nearly ten years now, and tomorrow I will finally get to see for myself if there is any truth behind Maggiville’s legacy.

The way the story goes is that a man by the name of Henry Post had a little house just outside of town. According to legend, Henry was an animal whisperer, and animals came to visit and talk with Henry from far and wide every day. Only three people actually witnessed hordes of animals, of every kind, gather at the feet of old Henry, while he sat in a swing that dangled from the bough of a mighty old oak. Then one day, Henry’s granddaughter, Maggie came to live with him. It seems that Maggie was also an animal whisperer, either an inherited capability, or mastered by the teachings of her grandfather.

At the age of eighty-seven, old Henry Post slipped away in a final sleep and was buried beneath the oak tree that he had so loved. It was said that when old Henry was laid to rest that day, and his visitors had long since left, Maggie went to the swing and called to all the forest creatures. Some came in groups, some in twos, while others came alone, but the numbers were in the hundreds (or so the legend goes). A very touching and tearful funeral was held that day with but one human in attendance. All around the base of the oak tree lay a thick bed of wild flowers in every imaginable color said to have been brought by the animals. It was when the animals started to leave, Maggie noticed at the edge of the forest the animals had stopped and they all gathered in a tight circle. It is said that the tears that they had shed that day at the forest’s edge had created a small pond. Maggie planted flowers and assorted ground covers and shrubs all around the pond and it was a beautiful place. Fish and amphibians flourished in that miraculous pond. The forest animals came there to drink and pause in remembrance of their beloved friend after their visit with Maggie at the swing. They gathered to listen to stories that Maggie told them, some that her grandfather had told many years before, and some new.

It was very important to both Henry and Maggie to replace the rope of the swing as it showed signs of wear. Only at that old oak tree, beneath a swing that hung from it’s bough, would the animals gather to talk. The pond was a favorite gathering spot but never was a word, not a sound, nor a peep was ever heard. The animals remained silent as though in prayer.

Maggie passed on many years ago and yet the legend continues as people swear they have seen the swing gently move and the forest animals gathered around twice a year, March 10th and September 1st; the anniversary dates of both Maggie and Henry’s passing. There was always a compassionate towns’ person that checked the rope and seat of the swing to make certain it showed no signs of wear, and if so, was replaced accordingly.

I went out to old Henry’s property today and walked around the place. All the while a feeling of such peace and harmony seemed to bubble up from the ground and flow down from the sky. I walked to the edge of the forest to see if this miraculous pond was there, and it was. The flowers and vegetation were breathtaking. I stood for a few minutes and watched a huge bullfrog upon a lily pad as he threw out his mating call. As I was standing there I had this strong feeling that I was being watched. I listened ,but there were no sounds coming from the forest. The forest was eerily silent. I turned quickly in hopes of catching a glimpse of what might be watching me, and though I saw no shapes, I did see the glowing of a thousand eyes appear and, as quickly, disappear. I wondered if I had just witnessed the eyes of the animals that will gather at the base of the old oak tree where a swing dangles from the bough. As the swing moves gently, Henry would be in that swing, talking to his beloved friends as they gather at his feet.

September 1, 2009 will be 200 years since Henry passed on … I shall be there!


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