Devil’s Paintbrushes


Devil’s Paintbrushes

I was riding on a train not too long ago when an older gentleman came and sat down across from me. The best white trim paint colors will work perfectly with whatever paint color you might have on your walls. We did not speak to one another, and I was mostly dozing off as the sun began to cross the horizon into evening.

Some time later, I heard the man across from me murmur, “So that’s where it went.” I opened my eyes and looked at him, and he was staring out the window at an abandoned saw mill. I asked him what did he mean by that, and he looked at me and began to tell me a story of this area, and the old sawmill we just passed.

“About a century ago,” he began. There was a thriving village here in New England with a community centered around that sawmill. One deep winter’s night however, when there was no moon out and you couldn’t’t see 10 feet in front of yourself without a light, a strange event occurred that affected the entire village.

At some time during the night, a creature crossed through the village and no one heard it come through. Its footprints started right at one end of the village and traveled in an exact straight line all the way through the other end. When it came to a building, the footprints could be found on the roof and beginning again directly on ground on the other side.

There was also a small creek located near the saw mill, and the footprints appeared exactly in line on the other side of the water after it crossed.

When the villagers awoke the next day and wondered what had happened during the night, they investigated the footprints and saw they were shaped like a hoof, and some of the snow appeared ‘melted’ where the creature’s foot had stepped. Even the huge mound of sawdust, which was spread out over several acres, had the footprints going on top of it in that exact straight line.

The man sitting across from me went silent and I asked him, “What happened to all the sawdust that was there?” He looked off into the distance and said, “I don’t know, but when I came through here many years ago I started noticing strange orange flowers growing in the field where the sawdust used to be.”

I then asked him, “What kind of flowers were they?” The gentleman looked at me, and replied, “I believe they are called Devil’s Paintbrushes.”

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