The Wild Wood

 There was once a witch who hated everybody. And she meant it. Mostly it had to do with trees. She loved them, but was convinced that the world and everyone in it hated them. People would go about cutting off their branches as it suited them, chopping them down when they got in the way, and even uprooting and tossing them should the trees stand in the way of house-oriented progress. What people, seemingly in mass, failed to notice was the abundant life that was not merely a tree itself, but all the other creatures and critters that made it their home. It did not make sense to her that no seemed to consider the fact that the tree was there first. They only considered the fact that it was inconvenient, and they had an axe.

    And so she developed a curse.

    It was a complicated curse, and began with herbs and chants spread about the roots of her beloved forest. It grew up the trunks of the trees. It settled in the largest branches and spread to the small ones. It surged up through the leaves and out into cones and seeds. And it fell onto the ground.

    Up came saplings filled with her curse. They were durable, hardy all the way through. They grew and they grew and they grew until they became a wild wood. No one could get out and no one could get in. Save for the witch and the birds.

    One day the witch flew out of the wild wood to tend nearby stock for a farmer she didn't hate as much as others. A flicker of movement caught her eye. She saw a man with a sack on his back staring into the wood. His eyes spoke of awe and wonder as he gazed into the murky light. A smile played on his face when he finally turned away. Then he sat down, opened a blank book, and wrote down words.

    The words came out onto the page like a fountain, the witch could see, but she paid it no mind. She went about her business.

    A few weeks later, she picked up a newspaper off the farmer's porch; the words 'The Wild Wood' had caught her eye.

    It was an ode, and the witch had no doubt who had written it; it was directed toward her very own trees. She decided then and there that if the man came back, she would let him come and go from the wild wood.

    He came back. And he brought several friends. They, too, looked at the wood in awe. They brought more friends, and those friends brought even more.

    The witch was astonished. There were so many looking on her wild wood with wonder and awe. She knew, deep in her gut, that these people even loved the very trees themselves. And so, she couldn't hate them. Thus was the curse ended. But then, it never was a curse, not really. And it was never hate either, not really. It was just a woman who loved trees and wanted them to grow.

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