25 December, 2009
Fathers and Mothers everywhere cautioned their children not to go into the forest at night, not to trust the words of the wind and not to stare too long at the moon. But as happens often with all parental advice, this advice was only sometimes obeyed, usually ignored and on occasion, challenged.
The two children in our story who challenged this advice and headed into the forest are Freda and her boyfriend Gabriel. And one night in Mid-September after they had ran away from home, intent on starting a life together, completely unprepared... hand in hand, they entered The Forest.
As the night grew on, it became colder and colder. The sounds of the wind, seemed to whisper
messages like "I'm going to kill you, rip out your heart and consume it, while it is still beating ..". They shuddered together as they tiptoed down the path, quietly as they could. It was so dark they could not help but look up at the Moon, and notice, oh, how beautiful it was.
They tried to look away but found they could not and that's when it happened...
Hello children, the snake hissed, come into my den. It's safe and warm in here. Cold and hungry, they followed him... It was quite foolish of you to come unprepared into the forest, unknowing of her ways...
The snake stared at them with his bright yellow eyes,, but no matter, he said. Eat now and rest. Tomorrow you may go on your way.
And so Freda and Gabriel ate and ate. The snake was more than generous and when they were
finished, they were so tired that they fell asleep.
They awoke early the next day, happy that they were still alive and ran out of the Snakes hole as fast as they could.
Pretty soon, they were walking on the path and since it was light out they were feeling much
more confident. I don't know why we were so afraid, said Gabriel, and they laughed as the
forest animals scurried out of their way.
Pretty soon, they encountered a hunter in the woods. They told him what had happened the night before and he told them that they should have killed the snake.
I have lived out here a long time and the only way you can win this game is if you take control right from the start. The forest is your enemy.
The children thanked the hunter, said they'd be sure to remember his advice and went on their way.
And they walked and walked and walked and soon enough it was dark again and since they were
without a home and food and safety, they became very scared once again.
The snake showed up once again, please, let me help you, he said.
But the children remembered the hunter's advice and killed the snake instead, ate him for dinner and hid underneath a log until it was day again.
They awoke the next day, even surer of themselves and continued on their way.
From time to time they would laugh at their parents, who feared the forest and told them to stay away. There was no mystery here, no great powerful monster.
Freda and Gabriel laughed and laughed and walked and walked and once more it was dark again.
The Snake appeared, offering to help them out. They were scared at first, seeing the snake alive once again, but quickly killed and ate him once more, sleeping under a log once more and waking with the Sun once again.
And the next day they laughed even more, and were even more confident. They were getting the hang of this.
But something worries me, said Freda, what if the stories are true and the Earth will
revolt and the REAL monsters come out?
Gabriel thought for a minute, then had an idea. We will make weapons. Then when night falls, we will be ready. And so they made their weapons, and so they were ready.
When the Snake came and offered help, they killed him and then, hearing the noises of the forest at night, they became afraid...
The rustling sounded like it could have been a great beast, thrashing about, breathing, moving swiftly. Freda and Gabriel ran out into the darkness, looking, searching with keen eyes.
Dashing out into the night, they both spied into the darkness until at last they both saw a pair of bright, angry eyes and they lunged.
Gabriel gave a cry, for Freda had stabbed him. He bled, she cried and soon, he died.
She held him in his arms, angry at the forest...
But the next day she buried him and trudged on... I will conquer you, forest, be quite sure of that, she promised.
And that night, instead of killing the snake right away, she asked, what do i have to do to kill you. The Snake said that he was part of the forest. She bit his head off with her mouth.
And burned the forest down.
I have conquered you at last, she said as she watched it all turn into ashes. She smiled, looking back.
And saw the Snake, outside a burned out husk of a tree.
Why will you not stop haunting me, she yelled, and came over and grabbed him by the neck.
Please, he said, I am the last Snake, I can help you out, but if you kill me, noone will ever help you and the forest will die.
Why should I care? I hate the forest, she said.
But if the forest dies, you die, the Snake told her.
She looked around and set the Snake down.
Come, the Snake said, let me show you to the other side of the forest. The one that is not as dead and lifeless as you think it is.
And this Snake showed her and she realized she was not alone. And she was not afraid.
She thanked the Snake.
Very well, he said, but don't play with me any more. The next time you do, I am going to bite you. And it's going to sting.