"JackOh the Green" artwork by Doug Welch
This song is being sung in the voice of Forest Boy. Interestingly it seems he knows of JackOh the Green, and perhaps is even expecting him at
this point in his journey, since the lyrics begin with Forest Boy asking JackOh where he has been. Forest Boy continues to tell JackOh his
problems, which assumes that Forest Boy thinks JackOh is someone in whom he can confide.
After realizing this area of the forest is haunted, and having just avoided the temptations of the Woodland Witch, Forest Boy asks JackOh to
take him away from this place, but then JackOh's "vaporous colors" make Forest Boy's "mind taller" so he can see his destiny, and he realizes
he is "the chosen one." In other words, JackOh is able to bring Forest Boy’s mind out of his body and above the tree line to gain a new vantage
point. Perhaps way up there above the trees Forest Boy is able to look down on the forest and become aware of the progress he's made, from
burying his father, through the Haunted Woods, and past the Woodland Witch; and that ahead of him lies the Tree of Life and the Sacred Grove of
the Druid. Though he's not sure what exactly it is he has to do yet (he does not gain that knowledge until visiting the Tree of Life), he does
now realize that he's been chosen to carry out a great task of monumental importance.
The last two lines of the song are sung by JackOh himself, as he tells Forest Boy to "Follow the path" and "Remember the Dream." It is unclear
what exactly this means, and whether Forest Boy grasps the significance of these words. The “path” could be a literal trail in the woods, or
JackOh could mean it figuratively, as in follow the path to your destiny. Forest Boy probably also wonders what dream JackOh is referring to
when he tells him to, “Remember the Dream.” It could be in reference to when Forest Boy was visited by the bird singing to him at the beginning
of the story, and believing at first it was a dream but then the bird tells him, "this is no dream."
Forest Boy has a similar experience when he encounters JackOh as he did with the bird. He asks JackOh in the first verse, “JackOh the Green, is
this a dream?” But in the second verse he realizes, after being exposed to JackOh’s vaporous colors and his mind rising above the tree line,
“This is no dream, this is no dream.” In essence then, JackOh would be saying, "Remember the dream, which is actually not a dream." This would
be fitting, since JackOh is a trickster after all.
JackOh the Green's name is based on the traditional Jack o' the Green character (also known as Jack in the Green, Jack-in-the-green, or
Jack i' the Green) who is the foliage-covered man associated with May Day celebrations in England. This character may or may not be related to
the Green Man motif and/or the Wild Man/Woodwose mythological character, but JackOh the Green certainly is. He is a conglomerate of all these
characters. Archetypally he is a trickster. And if you haven't guessed already by the fact that JackOh's "vaporous colors" can make Forest Boy's
"mind taller," JackOh's green is a different kind of green than the traditional Jack o' the Green's. The particular type of vegetation JackOh
the Green is composed of and wears on his body is a type of plant that affects Forest Boy’s perception of himself and the world. Mind-altering
effects, in other words, are the result of being near JackOh.