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.
Long ago when the world was new, a bird lit upon a branch and whistled. It was a noise that shattered stillness. One by one the creatures of the earth called back until the cacophony of sound rose in such a glorious timbre that the earth began to shake. The hills shuddered, the mountains trembled, the valleys swayed. And when it seemed as though the ground would crack in two, the movement subsided until it was no more than a gentle rumble. The creatures looked about them, their eyes darting and deep with panicked fear. But the bird knew better. She knew it was the world's first laugh.
It was the Spring that made her weep. Early Spring, just as the sprouts pushed up from heavy earth, the burden of it pressed through with equal parts inevitability and magic. Still, it was the loss of something; a barren landscape, of faded harsh lines and cold silhouettes that filled her with this mourning. How long it would be until Autumn broke! How long until the return that made her feel like she could sleep in her own skin and be at peace. For following Spring, came the mock of happiness that glories in a sudden fleeting beauty and tantalizing warmth that is nothing more than a shortened, sharpened shock. But then, just then, as the leaves would begin to slip and the colors would start to riot, one would begin to breathe. For one knew then that death was on one’s doorstep. Death, best greeted with a kiss on each cheek. For it was only when it arrived that the air grew clear as crystal and breathable as the fumes of the finest wine. The blow of Winter’s solemn breath that br