Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Grimm Tale

Long ago, deep within a great and enchanted forest, there lived an ancient witch named Hazel. This is a story about a woodcutter who happened into Witch Hazel's forest. Though he never met the old hag, the woodcutter was nonetheless influenced by her conjury.

One day, setting out at an early hour and intent on enjoying a day of quiet toil, a woodcutter wandered into an enchanted forest, whereupon he immediately crossed paths with a giant. The giant, on an errand to gather goats for breakfast, shouted a hearty greeting to the woodcutter, “Good morning stick chopper!” But since the giant is not part of this story, the woodcutter ignored him and tramped on in silence.

Try to pay attention, won’t you?

At length, the woodcutter came to a stream. There, at the edge of the stream, he met a fringe tree and had a brief conversation with the tree as he rested in its shade. In the course of their exchange, the woodsman told the fringe tree of his plan to harvest wood in the still serenity of the forest. The fringe tree offered this warning:

"You’ll have no luck here, woodcutter—not one of these trees is of any use. The spruce is green with envy at the way the Austrian is pining for the fir. The fir, as you may have heard, has gone into hiding since he learned PETA is on another one of their anti-fur crusades. He’s not very bright.

"Of course, everyone knows that the maple is a sap, and the hickory is just nuts! The walnut isn’t the worst of the bunch, but she’s a bit squirrelly

"The dogwood has a nasty disposition, though his bark is worse than his bite. Then too, he has some reason to be upset because the larch is forever needling him.

"That sassafras has some mouth on her! Between her and the crabapple’s sniping, the willow can’t stop weeping.

"It’s plain to see that the bald cypress is past his prime, and the pawpaw is far too old for serious consideration—and cranky, too. He is annoyed by his grandchildren and their refusal to simply call him Grandpa.

"No one can understand a thing the Norway spruce is saying because of that ridiculous accent, though the English oak is just as bad, as far as I’m concerned.

"The cottonwood is a productive fellow but nothing can be weaved from his crop. And speaking of useless crops—everyone knows that a buckeye is nothing more than a worthless nut.

"The slippery elm is a shady character who has made the quaking aspen as nervous as a cat! The yellowwood would like to put a stop to it but he hasn’t the courage.

"The smoke tree has finally ruined his health, and the sycamore hasn’t been well in years."

“What about the tupelo?” the woodcutter asked, as he stood and picked up his ax.

The fringe tree was about to speak, but before she uttered a sound a loud whack resonated throughout the forest. The fringe tree fell silent and the woodcutter continued his journey, once again enjoying the tranquil quiet of the woods.

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