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The Tree Atop the Hill

In a time when gardens were carefully crafted, and people thought highly of their care, there was a tree that stood atop a tall hill. It had been planted long ago by the droppings of a wren, and as it grew, it came to take great solace in the knowledge that it was so high, so lofty, so wide-scoped in all that it could see. In fact, this was the tree’s only solace, and so prevalent were its thoughts, that it believed everything that was beneath it in fact was beneath it in all other ways, too. For there could be nothing so great, nothing so marvelous, then standing firm above all the rest of everything.

    The tree itself grew to be a fine shape, perfectly contoured in the essence of tree-ness. So lovely, in fact, that when a man came upon it, he felt it would be the perfect tree to make a present for his wife and her garden. And so, the man sought to unburden the tree’s roots by means of a spade.

    The tree, oblivious to the man’s intentions, assumed that such digging was merely a means of respect paid to so fine a specimen of growth. Until, that was, the tree felt the breeze upon its exposed roots and felt itself descending the hill mound. Furious, the tree fought to thrash the man, but without a wind about it, it could do no such thing. Thoughts of horrid thinking filled the tree’s mind, such as: how could the man dare to move a thing as great as itself, and: what was a tree but for its ability to survey all below it.

    Once planted in the garden, however, the tree found itself surrounded by other growing things. The visiting birds came and nestled in its branches as they paid their daily homage in a way that the wind had never allowed them to do atop the hill. Too, several other trees, some gnarled, some sprightly, grew about and were, the tree discovered, easy to converse with—for they had much in common.

    In very little time at all, the tree took root again, and, instead of lofty thinking, did so with delight.

A Wind's Song

 Once upon a time a wind sung.       It sung through the branches of trees and the shafts of grasses, the ripples of rivers and the lips of hills.       It sung through a wide expanse of world.       And when its song was finally done, it sighed and died away.     For it had stirred the world; and that was quite enough for one lifetime.

The Amber Tree

Once upon a time there was a tree who stood beside a river bank and cried tears of amber. So beautiful were these tears that jewelers would come from far off lands to pluck one or two for the crowns of kings. When the jewelers would return to their lands, the kings would ask why it was that they had not gathered more of such wondrous resin. The jewelers all replied in the same way: because there had been no more to gather.             A prince of one of the far lands did not believe the words of the jeweler who spoke to his father, and desiring amber for himself, he followed the path of the jewelers and found the amber tree. But to his dismay, there was not a single tear of golden hue to be found.             ‘Tree, why have you no more tears?’ the prince asked.             ‘I have more tears to weep prince,’ said the tree. ‘I am not done with crying. For the world is a bitter place, filled with sorrow. But I saw a maiden comfort a scared child the other day. And the day before t

The Wild Garden

There was once a little girl named Esme who lived very happily with her father. Her father, however, grew very ill on a particularly cold and bitter winter’s night, and he died. Having no other relations, Esme was sent to live with an old woman whom she called Aunt Ruth. Aunt Ruth spent her days telling Esme to stand up straight, to hold her knives and forks properly, and to dust and sweep and scrub all aspects of their dark home. This would not have been so terrible, save that Aunt Ruth never said one gentle word nor offered Esme any mark of kindness. By the time Esme had lived with her aunt for an entire year, there was only one place that she could go and feel as though the joy of life had not completely run dry.      The foliage outside Aunt Ruth’s home was carefully orchestrated, a calculated affair that contained sharp spirals of small shrubs and geometrically trimmed trees. But beyond the harsh lines and stunted pruning there lay a wild garden. It was as different as could be fr

The Goblin's Face

 Once upon a time there was a goblin with a face that looked as though it had been bashed in with a shoe. One eye barely opened, and the other bugged out. The skin of his cheeks was mottled and had a tendency to be both flaky and greasy at the same time. His skull was higher on one side of his head than the other, and his large ears were equally lopsided. And on top of all this, he was missing a good half of his teeth, the half remaining being yellowed, rotted, and jagged.     But none of this mattered, because he was kind.     And that is the end of the lesson.