The night was dark, the sun was hid
Beneath the mountain gray,
And not a single star appeared
To shoot a silver ray.
Across the heath the owlet flew,
And screamed along the blast;
And onward, with a quickened step,
Benighted Harry passed.
Now, in thickest darkness plunged,
He groped his way to find;
And now, he thought he saw beyond,
A form of horrid kind.
In deadly white it upward rose,
Of cloak and mantle bare,
And held its naked arms across,
To catch him by the hair.
Poor Harry felt his blood run cold,
At what before him stood;
But then, thought he, no harm, I'm sure,
Can happen to the good.
So, calling all his courage up,
He to the monster went;
And eager through the dismal gloom
His piercing eyes he bent.
And when he came well nigh the ghost
That gave him such affright,
He clapped his hands upon his side,
And loudly laughed outright.
For 't was a friendly guidepost stood,
His wandering steps to guide;
And thus he found that to the good,
No evil could betide.
Ah well, thought he, one thing I've learned,
Nor shall I soon forget;
Whatever frightens me again,
I'll march straight up to it.
And when I hear an idle tale,
Of monster or of ghost,
I'll tell of this, my lonely walk,
And one tall, white guidepost.