Little Devon Drummer Boy

The moorland mist that had embraced Boringdon Hall slipped away to reveal a clear, fresh evening. Night had fallen to reveal a bright starlit sky.

Venus was exceptionally bright this Christmas Eve, with the light of the Moon highlighting the outline of the old Hall, silhouetted with the festive lights peering from its large windows.

The Hall, formally a monastery and once the home of the Parker family in Tudor times, was enjoying a new incarnation as a beautiful Spa, providing a high service of relaxation and recreation to its guests. The mansion too, had it’s tales of ghosts and odd goings on, filled the pages of local folk lore, fitting in well with many old English country houses.

The Great Hall was warm and cosy, with a wonderful log fire filling the early 17th century fireplace. Guests sat around enjoying an after dinner drink, relaxing and enjoying the atmosphere of the Eve.

Megan gazed out of the large window overlooking the car park. “Look, it’s snowing” she exclaimed excitedly.
Other guests joined her at the window. “Indeed it is” commented Mark.

Starting slowly at first, the flakes of snow gathered in volume until they began to cover all the cars and even the driveway, which led downhill to meet with the entrance at Boringdon Hill.

“Come on, let’s go outside” continues Megan. Mark looked doubtful, after all, it was warm and comfortable inside. “I think I will stay here” he continued. With this lack of interest, Megan decided to stay.

Darren the concierge had greeted the last guests to arrive, and as he gradually closed the large heavy oak front door, the latch clicked into position to secure it.

Leaving the lobby he joined the reception staff in a glass of wine to celebrate the arrival of the festive season.

In the Great Hall, Megan and Mark had been joined by their friends Amy and Chris and the quartet was talking about the history of the Hall through a book Chris had picked from the table inside the front door.

“Do you think there are any ghosts here?” enquired Megan.
“No, I think that is a tale the locals tell to keep things interesting” replied Chris.
“ What about him over there?” Amy pointed to the suit of armour that was standing in the lobby.
“No, I think he is quite safe; mind you if he moves I will be leaving very quickly”, came the reply.

The evening continued and as the guests continued to relax, the sound of laughter filled the Hall. There were guests from all over the British Isles, Europe, USA and even Canada. All were having a great time.

“Listen, did you hear that?” Megan concentrated,
“What on earth are you going on about” replied Mark. “Listen there it is again.”
The group fell quiet, closely followed by other guests in the Hall.

Everyone looked towards the stairs leading down into the Hall. From above the staircase could be heard the sound of a Gregorian Chant. Everyone looked and listened intently. The chant grew louder, but no sign of anyone.

The chant was accompanied by what sounded like angelic voices singing from somewhere; but where?

Everyone present was spellbound.

Mark laughed, “Sounds like the hotel is playing some music to increase the atmosphere”.
“ Hush” replied Megan.

On the landing of the stairs appeared a boy who could not have been older than 9. The boy was gently tapping a drum. He was dressed in a red tunic with large white lapels. On his head he wore a black hat and as he turned to face down the stairs a full image of him could be seen.

His face was indeed quite pale but what was most noticeable, was his extremely bright eyes.
His hair appeared blond and long but it had been tied back to form a pony tail. His smile was radiant and as he looked around the room, it was filled with a wonderful energy.

He stopped beating his drum, and stood still. With a gentle voice he spoke. “I come when Venus is bright in the heavens. I bring the love of the universe to wish you all well on this evening”.
With that the boy turned and once again started to beat his drum while making his way upstairs.

“That was brilliant. What a great way for the hotel to create an atmosphere for the evening. I must congratulate the manager on that performance, I will be back in a minute” excitedly exclaimed Chris.

The appearance of the drummer boy was indeed a surprise to all. All the guests were exchanging comments on how much they enjoyed the presentation. All were hoping to see the boy again to congratulate him on his performance.

Amy commented, “He sure looked cute even dressed in 17th century uniform; brilliant”.

A few moments later Chris returned looking puzzled.
“I could not find the manager but I did bump into Darren. I explained how much we enjoyed the show and asked if we could meet the boy who did it”.

He looked at me and said, “I have not got a clue what you are going on about. All the staff were in the reception area, we did not see anything”, as he stood there and just smiled.

By Ray Steed
Edited by Sandi Mcconnell, Canada

with Courtesy of Boringdon Hall Hotel

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