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Of Children, Trees, and Giants
There once was a village where all were happy, where wild flowers bloomed all year long, and birds sang sweet songs. In the middle of this village, stood a tree as old as time itself. And under its large, protective branches, lived the Children of the Forest. Days were golden, nights untroubled, trees grew green, and joy passed from one child to another like a gift.
Then one fall day, a tiny dark figure perched on the horizon, creeping in from the edge of the forest. A new presence, a child with a cold gaze in a proud face: an erect, thin figure, observing the rest of them silently out of the corner of her eyes. The Children of the Forest welcomed her under the tree, their initial fear calmed by the smallness of their visitor. Yet the tree above their heads quietly wept red and gold leaves that fell wet and heavy on their heads, like tears: a premonition of colder days to come.
The Children of the Forest told the new child about the tree: innocent angels suspecting and doubting nothing. They told her that the tree helped them grow and learn about the Sun, the Moon, and all the world in between. They showed her how they kept each other safe by weaving a canopy out of tree’s magic branches and tendrils of grass. They told her that the beautifully woven branches were held together by tiny knots and green tendrils of Truth. Because truthfulness and trust were its magic. Everyday they weaved their own life stories and truest feelings into the canopy for each other to observe and understand. And every day the canopy became their universe, from which they drew their knowledge about each other and their world: a world they took on trust.
There was never a question of lying between them. And as they weaved new stories and new feelings each day, their magic canopy slowly changed in tiny but important ways, based on the things they confided in each other. It’s patterns became more complex, like truth always is. They told the stranger that that’s how they protect their universe and how they’d grow to become giants like the tree one day, and then onward into the world to create their own charmed village and teach kinship to others.
They told her everything they knew because those who are honest don’t hide their deeds. She smiled: all concern, all hugs, all kindness. She said she hoped they’d see her as their friend too, in time. But in her heart she saw them only as rivals and enemies.
At night, alone, she stood sullen, and fixed her eyes on the tightly woven branches filled with the magic of all the possibilities that exist between people who trust and have faith in each other. Oh, how she wanted it all, how she groaned for control, and influence, over all beings. That canopy of faith and trust growing over their heads was the obstacle between her and power. So she brewed and cursed and schemed: a dark, terrible scheme. And she set to work.
Day by day, she inched her way into the children’s lives. Oh, she was all honey and made many friends: laughing a bit too long and hard at every joke, always agreeing with everyone, always 100% sure that golden leaves are the best - only to agree moments later with someone else, that golden leaves are not the right choice. Yet she lead an existence of great loneliness, always in fear of losing control, and stirring things up to not let go. The tendrils of truth that were meant to build faith and trust stretched and twisted into reported gossip and lies. Oh again, all honey and hugs. She became the peacemaker in the midst of a flurry of leaves and twigs coming undone by her own doing. But all she truly wanted was to toy with the children’s minds and avoid the crossfire herself. And day by day, the children’s world became more dangerous. The tendrils of truth started to unravel and twist around. The Children of the Forest started having issues of all sorts with each other, over all sort of things. The new child looked on with delight as the conflict dragged on and inflamed their souls. She, herself, was always skillfully out of the line of fire, as she ensured their protests were always directed at someone else. Slowly the tightly woven branches, once filled with the magic of all possibilities that exist between people who trust, were gone. Everything withered into a single, repetitive scenario of daily, bickering drama. For a while, the world lost kinship and tenderness, and the Children of the Forest, who once dreamed of becoming giants, stopped growing.
The lies surrounded everything like air: the Children of the Forest breathed them in, and hissed them out against each other. They had stopped seeing their own truth and telling their own stories and allowed the lies to tell them what to do.
But one day, a Child of the Forest in the midst of despair felt a need to go and hug the tree in the storm, the first gesture of kindness in a long time.
"Do you think you can put back broken branches? Are you sickening for something?" the new child hissed, her feeling strong enough to finally unmask her cruelty. But trees are solid, even in a storm, and a tree never refuses a hug. The tree offered a couple of intact branches full of new leaves and tendrils and the Child of the Forest started to write her truth: weaving the pattern of a new story.
"Nobody will listen!" the new child hissed ominously. Her minion threw stones at the new branches: "Nobody likes it!"
But the Child of the Forest kept weaving and her purpose hardened. Her story was made of pain and despair, like all stories of great liberation. She called it by its true name, "Two-Face" telling the truth to the best of her abilities. Her courage to speak the truth became as contagious as the fear of opposing the lies. More Children of the Forest came to offer their own tender tendrils of truth to the new pattern. It was a first outbreak of strength, a great liberation, a sudden unbinding, like an earthquake. The truth was still timid and new, the story still unfinished: their aim was high and their spirits finally free. They looked with indifferent disdain at the sneers of ice at their feet, pleased to avoid them, choosing to bask in a sun of their own, free as the birds on the tree. That small group of Children of the Forest felt they finally had become masters over their own good qualities, masters over themselves. Finally grown, finally giants.