The Apple Tree Man

In Somerset there lived two sons of a farmer who passed away

The elder son was vain and mean, the younger merry and gay

The elder son was left the farm, to his brother naught gave he

Save a tiny plot with a feeble ox, a donkey and apple tree.

(chorus) Old apple tree, we'll wassail thee and hoping thou wilt bear

The Lord doth know where we shall be to be merry another year

To blow well and to bear well and so merry let us be

Let everyone drink up a cup, here's health to the old apple tree.

Good husbandman was the younger son, he tended the ox and ass

He patched their stable walls and roof and he led them to sweet grass

And he poured the cider round about and a wassail song sang he

To the spirit guard of the orchard wood, the Man of the Apple Tree.

(insert chorus after every first, second or third verse as audience & time permit)

On Christmas Eve the rent from him his brother did demand

And at midnight the elder should summon him to where treasure lay on the land

To the farmer spoke the Apple Tree Man in a voice so rich and rare

"Go dig beneath the apple tree, the treasure awaits you there."

The younger son went to the tree and he dug as he was told

And there beneath the roots he found a wooden chest heavy with gold.

Hide it away, it now is yours," said the voice from out the tree

"And your brother call to the stable door as he bids you, merrily."

The elder son came silently, to the stable door did creep

And the ox and ass, as was foretold, of the treasure they did speak.

"He thinks to learn, the greedy fool, where the treasure lies from me,"

Said the ox and then the ass replied, "Twas taken long since from the tree."

The Apple Tree Man spoke not a word as he stood in the orchard good

But shook with mirth and an apple rolled to his feet where the farmer stood.

So the greedy son he went without while the wise one prospered free

And each Christmastide for all his days he wassailed the Apple Tree. (chorus)