Once upon a time, there was village on top of a hill. It was small village, a friendly village, and it was surrounded by trees as thick and tall as palace towers. Every other month, food and water would be brought to the village from faraway lands and the village would fill with lively chatter and children’s laughter. And yet, no matter how happy the villagers were, they did not leave the top of the hill, because at the very bottom of that selfsame hill lay the forest – and the forest grew thick and strong like weed underneath the sun. The forest was safe only to the merchants who traveled with the lights of their lanterns to guide their way. At night, if the moon sat high on the sky like a perfectly round pearl, you could see the moving shadows of the forest as it circled the hill. Some villagers said that the forest was haunted by evil spirits who would grab you by your ankles and drag you into the heart of the earth unless you screamed loud enough; others said that the brushwood was so thick that you fell straight through, no evil spirits needed!
The village sat on a hill, surrounded by forest as far as the eye could see, and nobody walked off the hill.
As for those who did?
Those we do not speak of…
(illustration done by me)