Hwaet! Tis I, the Rood. Before I was slain by man together with our Lord, I was a tree. I stood quiet and proud, at the edge of the forest. Birds nested on me, ants scurried at my base, squirrels scoured my branches for nuts, and I let them be. I did not kill the squirrel to put a tail on my hat. I did not murder the ants because I found them to be disgusting. I did not rattle my branches to fell the baby birds. It is mankind who does all of this. I was a fine tree, and in death, I was the best Rood I could be. Hear me words, hear me cries, and make your way to heav’n.
The swallow tried his best. He preached and preached and tired to save their lives, to no avail. Do not let yourself be snatched by sin and damned in hell. A greedy bird will meet his end, just as a greedy man will meet the Devil. Listen to me, the Rood.
When I was being felled by man, did I fall on top of him? Did I try to murder my kidnappers? Did I command the squirrel to eat their eyeballs out of their heads? Nay, I did not. When our Lord was being nailed against me, did I take the hammer from man’s hands and put it through their skulls? Nay, I did not. Tis would have been an easy task for such a mighty Rood, but I did not. Man can learn many a thing from such a noble tree.
I stood by our Lord, stayed with him till the end. No matter how much pain we went through, I endured and did not strike back. When somebody does you wrong, in return, treat them well. When you see someone suffer, help them. Do not let your greed consume you or it will send you straight to hell. If you have money, share it with the poor. If you have food, share it with the birds. And if you have water, share it with– the tree.
Lo! The Rood has spoken. Heed these words and live a good life. Repent for the sins you have cast upon I, the Rood, and you can join me in heav’n. This is the moral.