Make Like A Tree

on April 19, 2011 in Fantasy

There was a sound in the middle of the night like the creaking of timbers as an old house settles upon itself, magnified a thousand times over and continuing for a number of hours. The woodcutter stayed abed all through that terrible night, even after the noise faded into the distance and then abated completely.

When at last the morning sun streamed in through his cabin’s window, only then did he look out to see that the trees had up and left in the middle of the night. Scattered about were leaves and branches, and even a few young saplings and the trunks of dry old trees that had fallen along the way.

Shaken, the woodcutter packed up his meager belongings and left the land that had been a forest. Some of his fellows left, too. Some stayed behind, determined to harvest what fallen wood was left and then make something of the land that remained. He headed west, for the badlands where nothing larger than scrub could grow. There he became a ranch hand, and eventually a rancher. Some nights when he was in his cups he would tell the story of his former occupation and how he had come to leave it.

“But why come all the way out here?” his disbelieving friends asked. “If there was all that empty land that used to be forest, why not claim it for yourself?”

“If trees can walk, they can do other things,” he said. “I wanted to put myself beyond their reach in case they came back.”

“Why would they come back?” someone asked.

“If they didn’t hurt anyone the first time, why would you have anything to fear if they did?” another asked.

“There were a lot of us,” the man who had been a woodcutter said. “We had sharp tools and fire at our command. That they left suggests they were afraid of us, and rightly so.”

“So what do you have to fear?”

“There were a lot of us, but there are a lot of trees in the world,” the man said. “I had it in my mind that maybe they just went for reinforcements.”

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One Response to “Make Like A Tree”

  1. Attn: Saruman- you know you done did it when the forest gets up and kicks your ass.

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