Preaching of the Rood

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.





9 thoughts on “Preaching of the Rood

  1. Remarkable! Who knew you could type!? Even more astounding, who knew that you possessed more good sense than half of England!? The words you speak are true: respond to cruelty with kindness! Take every opportunity to prove yourself more warm and goodhearted. Not only will your mercy and forgiveness be apparent to all, but you will grow in your heart and in your kinship to me, Christ, with each forgiven transgression.

    Boy! I sure would have liked to know that you could think while I was being nailed to you! Even if it was just for the company. I know all of God’s creatures are special, but I certainly have never heard of a thinking tree, let alone one that thinks after being felled. Simply outstanding! We’ll have to talk more about this lat–. Where was I?

    Ah, yes, forgiveness and mercy. Always find it in your heart to forgive those who transgress against you. There’s no glory in savage revenge.

    Ta-ta, tree,

    • Why, Mother Jesus, of course you knew I could type. We know each other very well. We bled together, we stood together, and we died together. You felt the heart within my timber. Don’t deny the bond we had! Please Lord!

  2. “When someone does you wrong, in return, treat them well” you say? Nay, both you and Mother Jesus are wrong.

    Should I have treated my husbands well even when wrong was done to me? What say you? What would my life be like as a wife if I always treated them well? You see, not treating them well is what gave me control. They needed me in more ways than one, yet I would not give me. I did not give until I received. When they did me wrong, I would do them worse, and then that is when they became good husbands.

    Having control is what a lady desires most. “Forgiveness and mercy” you say? Why? I do not need revenge, I just need control. I can be a good wif with control.

    “Do not let your greed consume you or it will send you straight to hell,” that I do not believe. Have you read this for yourself Rood? Of course not, you are but a tree. I, for one, have even read the likes of Ptolemy. I will decide for myself what will send me straight to hell.

    • You speak so ill, yet you’re still on a “holy pilgrimage.” Shame on you, wife of bath, using the Lord’s name for your own vanity. You sure won’t meet Jesus or I in heav’n.

  3. Oh how truly noble you are, Rood. Your bravery in kindness to those of wrongdoing is truly remarkable. My Lord and I are not so innocent. I am only a weak woman, who’s only power seems to be controlling men with my sex appeal. My intention to Sir Gawain was indeed greedy, but I was only doing what my Lord asked of me. I imposed myself on Gawain to see if he would crack, so does this count as being disloyal? I may not see it as so.

    You are the Rood and they pain you have endured serves as unquestionable bravery and nobility, and I do look upon you for strength. I will do better to not let myself be snatched by sin, for you have become the Swallow to my life and I will listen! I will listen.

  4. Ah lonely, Rood. My son was crucified on you. Thou hast his blood all over thee. Thou knows about sacrifice, doesn’t he? I feel that is how, thy son, the Lord, had done his work. He went around and tried his hardest to spread the word of God, but in the end, he failed. It still pains me to know that he sacrificed himself for the good of others who did not even care for him. However, I praise him as I praise the Swallow in this fable for preaching the word of the Lord. You did nothing wrong. The sacrifice of our Lord, my son, did not have anything to do with thee. Thou was only an innocent victim in the whole thing. A tree has wisdom, as well as yourself and the Swallow. Wisdom is everything. Continue to follow your faith and everything will fall in place. Sins cannot consume you, as you’ve expressed. Being a beacon for Christ is a satisfactory job. If you follow the Lord and stay free from sin, even you can ascend into heaven. You are very wise, Rood. Stay true to the Lord’s work and you will be forgiven. I agree with thou version of the moral. Repent your sins, continue on the right path and you will find your place in Heaven.

  5. Interesting fair Rood, your perspective on the Swallow provides him a sense of accomplishment. This fair Swallow was surrounded by fools who refused to listen to his righteous words, but as you point out, when you see someone suffering then treat them well. The Swallow’s careless companions were not at fault in this scenario, it was the greed of man that caused their demise, just as it tried to suck the life from your roots. Both you and this Swallow come from the same ascended existence, high in the sky, but in the end man attempted to keep both of you closer to the ground where their existence is limited to. Although I have the powers of deception, I will never know what it is like to be a tree or a swallow as noble as the two of you. Your noble wood will never be forgotten, and through Aesop the brave preaching Swallow will never be forgotten.

  6. Noble Rood, I find your interpretation of the swallow to be quite uplifting! Some would argue that her preaching was useless, just because it fell on deaf and ignorant ears, but not I (nor you!). She knew that there was danger and thought it her duty to warn those close to her, however unlikely her chance at success. So too did Christ preach to those around him! As I’m sure you know, the Lord’s preaching was often ill received, despite his promises of hope and salvation. His preaching, however necessary it was, turned those who did not want to accept the truth against Him. Thus this is how He was brought upon you, Rood. As such, while this poor swallow did not carry the burden of humanity’s salvation, she did hold the keys to the salvation of her fellow birds. And yet they, like those who crucified Christ, suffered for their actions. When duty calls, those with true fortitude are apt to answer, even when scorned by those who cannot know better. Please, Rood, continue your noble works.

  7. Oh, Rood! Holy Rood! How I sympathize with you and your struggle. I too have experience being involved with sin against my own will. I could only imagine being the tool which the Son was crucified. How horrible you must have felt to have Him be killed on you. And for you to be held accountable? No you did not choose to be changed from your former state as a tree into a stand for bodies to be slung upon, especially not the body of the Son. You mustn’t fret however. Our heavenly father is all knowing and all wise. He knows and understands the intentions of all things. Even those things not living like a piece of wood formerly growing out of his Earth, He understands that you wanted no part in this tragedy and that as you said, “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 too was in close proximity to sin. When my wife Margery still held residence with me, she was a wretched creature who found pleasure in breaking the word of Him. And yet, to my knowledge, I was never punished for her indecency. I am living proof that being near sin doesn’t reflect negatively in the eyes of God. As you have instructed I will continue repenting for my sins and living a good life.

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