Keeper of the Woods

In 1721 Daniel Brown purchased a plot of land on the coast of what would become Maine. Although his father had been locally famous as a failed farmer, Daniel was rather successful in business and managed to expand his holdings with each passing year. Unlike many colonials, Brown was on excellent terms with the native inhabitants and availed himself of their knowledge of local conditions and other matters.

When the colonies rebelled against Britain, the Brown family joined the revolution. Andrew Brown was killed in the war, but his younger brother Samuel survived and the family thrived as the fledging nation became involved in lucrative trading and whaling endeavors. The Brown family maintained its friendly relations with the natives and this caused them some trouble when young Joshua Brown wrote several tracts condemning America’s treatment of the Apache, Dakota and other tribes during the late 1800s. Joshua created a further stir by attempting legal action against the government on the basis that the United States had violated its own treaties.

Joshua’s actions had little positive effect and led to an attempt on his life that left him lame. Thwarted in these efforts, he was determined to take some action. Having been influenced by the new fangled notion of conservation, Joshua became determined to help preserve the bounty of nature. A naturally curious man, he turned to many strange sources and learned many unusual things.

In 1911 Joshua donated a large portion of the family land to the state of Maine. The land was to be maintained in perpetuity as a public park that would be free of development. He named the pond on the land after his beloved wife, Ellie.

In 1923 Joshua realized that he was nearing the end of his life. Although his family seemed to support his views of conservation, he was worried that time might change things. So, he took a rather dramatic step. Using a ritual he had learned from a wise and ancient sage of the woods, he transformed himself in a way that melded his human flesh and bone with plant matter. This alteration would permit him to endure for centuries and would provide him the strength he might need to protect the woods he so dearly loved.

From 1923 onward Joshua remained the hidden guardian of the woods of Joshua Brown Park. Those who worked in the park noticed that the trees seemed unusually healthy and well tended. They also noticed that the trails were mysteriously well maintained and kept free of litter. Since this made their job much easier, the workers thought it best not to comment on this and attributed these things to eccentric locals.

Download: Keeper of the Woods


~ by Michael LaBossiere on March 9, 2008.

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