A poor young girl’s on the run for her life
From a dungeon in chains in tears in fright,
Hounds on her heels, horses spurred with might
Chasing after the witch on the run for her life.
Then she stopped at a village miles away
And sought a refuge in the name of charity
To save her poor soul in calumny of foul play
By which she would be burn at stake and die away.
Thereafter on a hill atop the village for ever,
The girl is seen – but not heard in daylight,
The girl is heard – but not seen at night
On a hill atop the village that had a murder
On its conscience, for no one goes there – Never.
That which they called Providence,
A divine scheme of God’s purposes,
Was the handiwork of Fair Fortune,
The ancient idea of lucky chances
Of adventures and misadventures,
Knocking the door of a poor man’s hut
With a pouch of lucky stars regardless
Of what the world saw for his worth,
Pacifying his ills of grief and grievances.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The doctrine of providence that a man’s life was an intricate handiwork of God’s mysterious purposes was a tenet of Protestantism which, as a counter-cultural way of resisting medieval Catholicism, advocated zealous work ethics in an effort to combine a practical faith with an active self-reliance and independence. That riches and authority came of men’s industry and diligence, of their labor and travails, not of miracles as a result of mechanical recitations of prayers and devotions to saints was the canonical principle of the reformed church. However, the folks who were not well-off, not-too-rich, poor, and very poor never subscribed to the doctrine of providence. They still clang to the concept of luck because it accounted for any misfortune befalling them regardless of merits and efforts when others wayward seemed to prosper. By believing in luck or chance that reformists condemned, he who in travails did not have to jeopardize his self-esteem as something of a mental analgesic against the strains of his contemporary life, lest he should fall by the wayside, and thus could reconcile himself to the environment he lived. Hence this belief in luck survived the seismic protestant reformation and still thrives on in our time.