It was just another day in summer in a small community in rural Ireland. Just like recent summer days for the time of year it was hot and humid. Most people who were having a day off from the daily grind of trying to make a living where staying in the shade, just enjoying a relaxing day off.
The local farmers were making hay while the sun shone, it was now or never to reap the rewards of their hard labour.In one nearby field the farm owner and his workers where having their tea break.
They had been working hard all morning gathering up bales of hay that the bailer had left scattered all over the field.
During these breaks the workers would chat, get to know one another, as they would only be workers hired by farmers for hay making and other jobs in the summer months.Sometimes they would tell stories, some would just make up stories as they went along, some had true stories to tell.
No one really believed in these stories, but enjoyed listening to them as if they were true nor not. Sometimes these stories were not all totally fairy tales, they were recollections of stories told by their parents and grandparents.Some of these stories were true, they really happened, some unexplained but actually happened.
One such story was about an Orchard, just an ordinary Orchard with Apples, Pears and a few of Plum trees. The story goes that no one would dare go into the Orchard after twelve midnight, because of something that dwelled there in the dark of night.
One of the workers called Mickey asked, does anyone know where this Orchard is located?One man says, yes! I do, It’s not too far from here, just a few miles away, why? You interested in picking some fruit after midnight?
He laughed.Maybe I might be, replied the Mickey, I’m not afraid of the dark, and I don’t believe in ghosts.
Anyone care to join me he asked? surely curiosity must be getting the better of you?
I will! Joe shouted out, when are we going?
We will go tonight, no time like the present, said Mickey.
Later that night the two men set off for the Orchard.
It was a lovely summers night, it was not too dark, a nice night for picking a few apples and pears they thought.
They timed their arrival at the Orchard, and they arrived there a few minutes before midnight.
It looked like just any other Orchard they had seen before.
Most Orchards were fenced off from farm animals by hedgerow or stoned walls.
Hedgerows are manmade, planted with various plants and shrubs.
Spine bearing shrubs such as Hawthorn and Blackthorn were used as a deterrent from livestock.
This Orchard had no walls just mostly hedgerow surrounding it, apart from an opening at the front, which once was closed by an iron or wooden gate, which was no longer there.
The two men easily entered the Orchard by just weaving through the hedgerow at back.
They entered this way because they did not want to be seen by anyone, as really, they were trespassing on private property.
It was now well after midnight and all was quiet, nothing strange, a lovely summers night.
The two men looked at one another, after a moment Joe said, I think we have been had, we are two fools.
Let’s go home, we can make up a story, tell everyone we saw the ghost of an old man with a pitchfork.
We have to save face some way, they will still be left wondering if this Orchard is really haunted, they will be none the wiser.
Ok, where did we come in? asks Mickey I think it was this way pointing to the side of the Orchard, says Joe, no it’s this way, it’s at the back, says Mickey.
By this time, it had got very dark, they could barely see the hedgerow, they would just have weave their way through as best as they could.
After about five minutes the were unable to get out through the hedgerow, it seemed like it had closed in, seemed solid, like a wall, they could not see any gaps in the shrubs.
Just then they heard a something, footsteps, not of a person, sounded like what a large animal would make.
Something is not right says Joe, can you feel it? Feel what says Mickey? Feel that something is in here with us, a presence?
Let’s go out the front gate! We are not getting out any other way.
Just then something appeared to be in front of them, they could not really see anything it was too dark, but they knew something was there.
It’s a bull says Joe! Just then they heard it run towards them, they ran, they ran around the Orchard trying in places to get through the hedgerow as they ran.
We have to get to the entrance at the front says Mickey, it’s the only way we are getting out of here!
After going around the Orchard a few times, they never found the clear opening that should be at the front of the Orchard.
Something is keeping us in here, says Mickey, that something is not of this world.
It seems it has gone for the moment, let’s try again to get through the hedgerow.
They men tried several times, several areas of the Orchard, but could not get out.
We are not getting out tonight, says Joe, let’s just go to the corner of the Orchard and wait till it becomes light in the morning.
Nothing happened after that, the two men lay in the corner of the Orchard until morning.
Then they weaved their way out through the hedgerow without any problem.
As they were walking home Mickey asks Joe, what happened last night?
I don’t know, replies Joe, but something wasn’t right, there was something in that Orchard with us, I believe it was the devil himself.
That Orchard still exists today, anyone want to pick some fruit??