The Hash of Crouch Ende Towen

Rutilius Namatianus affirmed that the Druids invested all contiguous objects with their peculiar evil, so that anyone who touched so much as the hem of their robes was in deadly danger of becoming a partaker of their fallen divinity.

Lucian Brown, The Cromlech Jeelos (Frank Belknap Long)

The Hash of Crouch Ende Towen

Of the hash of Crouch Ende Towen
Much amiss was spoken
From witchery, to weakening
To covenants long-broken.
Knowing little, suspecting much,
The townsfolk feared the worst
Certain only of one thing:
The Druids' food was cursed!

Potatoes— Nightshade's cousin— formed
The basis of their feast
Dug from dirt, and chopped in cups
In number nine at least.
Also from dirt, the onions wer't
Ceremoniously tore
And cut right up, for Druids' sup
In cups that numbered four.

'Twas not complete without the meat—
A most horrific roast—
The mystery of the meat's true source:
That riled the townsfolk most!
Four hours in a pagan oven
Then sliced across the grain
To aromatic, savory shreds
That filled cupmeasures twain.

Into a skillet, piping hot
Chopped spuds and oil were cast
To simmer thirty minutes,
Well-stirred until the last.
Oil and onions then flung in
As Druids leapt about
In widdershin rotation
To keep the godly out.

Ten minutes more, and then the meat
Was added to the lot
To cook five minutes more at
The dance's focal spot.
More water then, and extra salt,
And brought back to the boil
Covered, simmered; thirty minutes
Rewards the Druids' toil.

Of the hash of Crouch Ende Towen
Nothing more is known.
The little town is empty,
The Druids dwell alone.
When they said the hash was cursed,
The townsfolk never lied:
Lured by the smell, they supped as well,
And ate it 'til they died.

2015

Author’s Note

Inspired by an apocryphal quote from Frank Belknap Long, an evocative phrase in a Steven King story and a very old family recipe for corned beef hash.

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