Once there was a cabin here, and once there was a man;
And something happened here before my memory began.
Time has made the two of them the fuel of one flame
And all we have of them is now a legend and a name.

All I have to say is what an old man said to me,
And that would seem to be as much as there will ever be.
-Fifty years ago it was we found it where it sat.�-
And forty years ago it was old Archibald said that.

-An apple tree that-s yet alive saw something, I suppose,
Of what it was that happened there, and what no mortal knows.
Some one on the mountain heard far off a master shriek,
And then there was a light that showed the way for men to seek.

-We found it in the morning with an iron bar behind,
And there were chains around it; but no search could ever find,
Either in the ashes that were left, or anywhere,
A sign to tell of who or what had been with Stafford there.

-Stafford was a likely man with ideas of his own-
Though I could never like the kind that likes to live alone;
And when you met, you found his eyes were always on your shoes,
As if they did the talking when he asked you for the news.

-That-s all, my son. Were I to talk for half a hundred years
I-d never clear away from there the cloud that never clears.
We buried what was left of it,-the bar, too, and the chains;
And only for the apple tree there-s nothing that remains.�

Forty years ago it was I heard the old man say,
-That-s all, my son.�-And here again I find the place to-day,
Deserted and told only by the tree that knows the most,
And overgrown with golden-rod as if there were no ghost.