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re: Fred and the Worm Farm Ghost

Steel your hearts, Free Peoples of Middle Earth.

Keep ale handy, and gather your courage!

For I bring to you a tale, the most foul of all:

"The Tale of Fred and the Worm Farm Ghost!"

It was a cool evening in late October, with still a bit of glow in the western sky, and I had just finished carving a pumpkin for the porch.

I put the trash pieces in a pail, thinking to dump it on the compost heap in the worm farm.

Then I carried the pumpkin out to set it on the porch, and sat for a few minutes, enjoying the cool air as I lit my pipe.

It was such a lovely evening, peaceful and calm, with the faintest of breezes stirring.

Surely there would be no trouble this evening!

Unknown to me, Fred was above ground as well taking in the cool evening, pondering the coming winter.

"Fred?" you ask?

Well, Fred is one of the chieftest worms in the worm farm, (who all chose the name Fred, to the very last one.)

He is more famous than Fred, Fred, or even (If you can believe it), Fred.

He is considered to be a level headed, serious worm of the highest sort, well respected by all.

His ability to organize the farm Chess tournament is legendary, as well as his ability to keep the worm youth Judo class in line and out of mischief

The knitting class is another story, though.......

However, Fred was enjoying the evening air when he noticed a commotion nearby. Glancing that direction he saw Fred rushing up to him.

"Fred!" exclaimed Fred, but he was too out of breath to continue.

Fred urged him to calm down and get his breath. Get his breath he did, but calm down he decidedly did NOT!

"Fred! I just saw a ghost over at the compost heap!" He exclaimed, his voice carrying a note of fear.

Fred, aware that Fred's eyesight was somewhat suspect, was skeptical.

"Now Fred, calm down. There is no ghost in the worm farm! You were seeing things, is all."

But Fred was not to be swayed, and hurried underground as if a dozen ghosts with fishhooks were on his tail.

As Fred was pondering this and about to dismiss it as an over-active imagination, suddenly Fred came rushing up.

"Fred!" he said. "I just saw a ghost over by the compost heap!"

"Fred", said Fred, beginning to feel exasperated, "You know there are no ghosts on the worm farm!"

"I know what I saw!" insisted Fred. "Come see for yourself!"

By this time, of course, word of the horrifying event had spread throughout the worm farm.

Many of the worms had gathered around, looking to Fred for comfort in their time of fear.

Fred looked at the crowd, proclaiming in a reassuring tone as best he could, "There is no ghost on the worm farm!"

"It's a beautiful evening, why don't you all calm down and enjoy it, as I was, and intend to do again."

But the worms could not find any peace and continued to press Fred. "Do something, Fred! There has never been a ghost here!"

Fred heaved a heavy sigh.

"Ok, ok. Since it seems I am not going to enjoy this lovely evening in peace, I'll go look."

And so Fred started off, with the rest of the worms following.

(At what they hoped was a safe distance back, I can assure you.)

Fred came to the compost heap and looked around. Nothing like a ghost could be seen anywhere.

"See?" said Fred. "No ghost here. Just as I said."

The other worms were visibly relieved to see it was so.

"Now everyone go back, and relax" Fred told the crowd and they all turned to go.

Fred also turned to go just as a light bit of wind stirred. Fred looked back at the compost heap one more time

Did Fred see anything? If he did, what did he see?

To find out, come back to Ales and Tales on the 26th for the conclusion of "The tale of Fred and the Worm Farm Ghost".
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