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David Potts-Dupre: Music

The Boy on Dismal Hollow Road

(David Potts-Dupre)
My wife and I were travelling down to North Carolina in January a couple years ago and passed by a road in Virginia named Dismal Hollow Road. I made a note that a road like that needed a good song. A few days later, driving back after some massive snowstorms, I began sifting through ideas. I settled on this wintery ghost story and while driving kept throwing out lines and verses for my wife to write down. Most of the lyrics were actually written during that drive. It’s my second long ballad. The first is “Sam and Mona” on “The Preacher and the Teacher” cd. I used a drop D tuning with a capo on the seventh fret.
The Boy on Dismal Hollow Road David Potts-Dupre 3/10

The sky was grey ash and the ground hard as stone
It was bleak and bitter cold and she was all alone
The birds had taken shelter from the first few flakes of snow
It was December 24th, on Dismal Hollow Road

She just came round the bend when she saw him by the barn
Walking up the road with no coat to keep him warm
Probably eight or nine, he was dressed in Sunday clothes
And in his arms he carried boughs of mistletoe

She stopped the car, said, “kid get in, you must be nearly froze
You’ll catch your death, I’ll get you home before it really snows”
The boy he grinned and jumped inside, said “looks like a storm
Don’t worry, ma’am, I’ll be alright, somehow I’m always warm”


She said, “where are you going and why are you alone?”
He said, “I got these for my Ma and now I’m heading home
It’s only half a mile, just past Baker’s Brook
And really ma’am, no need to fret, I’m older than I look”

She stopped just past the bridge, but there was no house to be found
“It’s just past the trees, ma’am, to my home now I’ll be bound
Thank you for the ride”, he said as he got out
And off he ran, but she thought she heard, a “Merry Christmas” shout

She made it to her parent’s house before the full blown snow
She told them of the little boy with boughs of mistletoe
She asked who he might be, but they shook their heads instead
“The little boy you saw, he’s sixty six years dead”


“He died on Christmas Eve in nineteen forty four
He was out picking mistletoe, his father off to war
He didn’t see the blizzard blow in from the west
They found him frozen on the ground, the boughs upon his chest”

He’s seen sometimes on Christmas Eve, when storms blow from the west
He wears the clothes he’s buried in, his Sunday best
He seems so peaceful all alone, he feels no cold nor snow
And in his hands he carries, boughs of mistletoe

On Christmas day, she found herself by the bridge where he got out
She left the car and the road behind, following his route
She came upon a great white oak, dead and lightning scarred
And underneath some toppled stones, a family graveyard


The smallest stone read, “Elijah Dorn, we’ll love him evermore
Son of John and Elizabeth, he died in forty four”
And next to his, another stone, “Elizabeth” it read
And boughs of mistletoe were laid at its head