For the Love of Trees
The Man Whom the Trees Loved is another short, supernatural horror story from Algernon Blackwood. You can download it for free from Project Gutenberg, or buy it on Amazon for cheap (in mega-pack form).
By the way, we love Algernon Blackwood. Blackwood good. Delicious, even . . .
One man shrinks from picking flowers, another from cutting down trees. And, it’s curious that most of the forest tales and legends are dark, mysterious, and somewhat ill-omened. The forest-beings are rarely gay and harmless. The forest life was felt as terrible. Tree-worship still survives to-day. Wood-cutters… those who take the life of trees… you see a race of haunted men…
–Algernon Blackwood, The Man Whom the Trees Loved
In The Man Whom the Trees Loved we are introduced to Mr. Bittacy, who has a fondness for trees. It soon becomes apparent that the trees have noticed him, and desire to draw him to them. The story is told mainly from the perspective of the wife, Sofia, who is afraid for her husbands welfare. While we found Sofia to be a bit annoying and close-minded at first, we gradually came to see her point*, and pity her; in the end she ends up suffering more than her husband.
Before we close, we’ll ask you one question: What is it like walking alone in the woods?
(We feel an ever-growing sense of awe, in case you were wondering.)
*The old wife is described as very religious; which Algernon doesn’t seem to particularly like; in fact his views of women seem a tad bit old fashioned and one-sided, but that was a product of the times. But she is religious to the point where science frightens her, and in all reality it shouldn’t have to frighten anyone. It just hints at religious ignorance and close-mindedness. The story does explain to you why she is the way she is, however, and even Algernon seems to change his opinion on her as the tale progresses. She is a selfless and self-sacrificing woman, and she does make an effort to understand her husband and what he is going through, even if it does end up to be too late. No one is really ever perfect, real or imagined, but as long as they can make an effort to change, they’re fine in our books.