The Heads of Others

 Once upon a time there was a little girl who couldn't sleep. So she got out of bed, pulled on her boots, and escaped into the forest. By day it was a forest of the usual kind. But by night it was, like all forests, enchanted. She had known this for some time. But she had yet to experience the enchantment for herself. 

    And the kind of enchantment she discovered was, to say the least, unusual.

    It happened, that in her particular enchanted forest, when the sun dropped so low that the night was nothing more than darkness under the thick branches, the animals gathered in circles around pools of stars that had fallen from the sky unseen during the day. And there they switched their heads.

    The badgers took on the heads of owls, the owls took on the heads of foxes, the rabbits took the heads of mice, and so on and so forth. 

    The little girl stared in wide-eyed wonder, as the animals calmly exchanged their heads and began to sip cups of tea. That was when the conversation began. A mingling. Like grown-ups at a party. Except, unlike the grown-ups, the animals all looked like they were enjoying themselves immensely.

    It must have been almost dawn when the animals, with as much calm as they had begun, exchanged back their heads and each went their way.

    The little girl crept back into bed and lay there for a long time.

    She had a lot to think about. After all it had been a very strange night. But then, maybe not so strange. Humans, she thought, could learn a lot from animals.

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