By Melissa L. Webb
Have you ever seen an old rope swing hanging from one lonely tree? It hangs there, swaying slightly in the breeze. Its seat covered with dead petals and leaves and you know it hasn’t been used in years. It’s a sad sight and sometimes you think they should just take it down.
They can’t. It’s there for a reason.
Along time ago, every patch of woods had a tree that stood away from the rest. It was called an Imp Wood. That tree was feared because of the strange things that happened nearby it.
Animals would die. Children would disappear. Men would quake in their boots from the sights and sounds that emanated from that area.
It wasn’t like the tree could be avoided. Imp Woods were always within sight distance from the dwellings. You could look out the window and see it, mocking you with its ominous presence.
A few men thought chopping it down would help. It didn’t and they paid the ultimate price for their mistake.
Everyone who raises an ax to an Imp Wood died horribly within a few days.
People soon realized the only way to protect their homes was to appease these malevolent entities with an offering. It needed to be something that distracted them from their mischief.
A child came up with the answer. They needed to bring laughter and delight to the tree. It needed to become a place to have fun.
Rope swings went up all around the world and Imp Woods lost their Darkness. You could still feel a presence, but the danger was gone. Whatever inhabited the trees seemed pacified by the swings.
Things quieted down and time moved on.
Cities formed and the trees were cut down to make room for the urban developments. Imp Woods became forgotten. They were nothing more than folk tales handed down through the generations. Their Darkness was no longer relevant to society.
As the cities grew, people started to realize it was a bad thing to cut down so many trees. They began to crave nature once again.
Slowly, people began planting trees. These trees were placed here and there, any where people thought they might look good. They were no longer part of a forest or grove, they were only trees standing alone.
Lonely trees seek company and nature brought back what humanity had once overcome.
Death, violence, and disappearances run rampant through our cities. We shudder and weep because of it, but we have no idea that it’s our own fault. We’ve forgotten to make our offerings.
The Imp Woods know that.
So, tell me, is your family safe in this world? Can you sleep sound at night knowing your home, work, and schools are free from any lonely trees?
If not, maybe it’s time to buy some rope.
© 2015 Melissa L. Webb