Oak and Holly King
poem by: Ing who was Chief Bard of CoR when written
The Oak King wore a crown made of deer antlers
intertwined with leafy branches of oak and mistletoe
bearing its white berries.
The Oak King was majestic as he strode through the
forest. He was following the sun, and he was finding
the path colder day by day.
Each time he crossed a stream, the Oak King would
take a drink. Each time he did, he began to see that
he was growing very old.
Soon the Oak King found it difficult to continue.
His old and stiffened body could not carry him much
As he pulled himself to the edge of a calm, clear
spring, he said to himself; “Each day grows darker;
soon I shall die.” The ancient Oak King bent to take
a drink. As he looked at his reflection, he saw ice
forming on the surface of the water. The Oak King
felt the darkness. The ice was closing his vital
Just as he was failing, the Oak King looked again at
his reflection in the spring. This time he saw the
ice melting away. The antlered crown of the Oak King
began to change. The rounded oak leaves became sharp
and pointed. The white mistletoe berries became red
as if the life fluids of all animals flowed into
The Oak King lifted his head and felt the life force
grow strong within him. As he looked into the
unfreezing stream, this time he saw holly leaves
with red berries instead of oak and mistletoe.
The former Oak King, now the Holly King, leapt from
the stream bank, and pranced through the forest. He
now follows the sun on its upward course. With each
step the Holly King takes, he melts the ice, leaving
the ground ready for the Goddess to awaken her tiny
Winter Solstice Blessings! )O(