Once there was a boy and a girl who went into the woods but only the boy returned. The villagers went looking for the girl but only found her clothes drenched in blood. And when they demanded that the boy tell them what had happened, he could not speak a word.
Some of the villagers blamed the boy for killing the girl and demanded that he give up his life in return.
Other villagers blamed the boy’s parents for not raising him correctly and demanded that the parents pay the ultimate price for the endless sorrow of the girl’s parents.
And others blamed the girl for going into the woods with the boy and said she got what she deserved.
And some even blamed her parents for not teaching her better and thought they also deserved to go in the woods and never come back with their self-inflicted sadness.
One villager said that they all were to blame for this tragedy because they should’ve prevented the boy and girl from going into the woods in the first place. But the rest of the villagers blamed him for blaming them for something that did not involve them or their children as they saw it.
And that night, suspicions grew so wildly that some villagers set fire to the homes of those they blamed. And they in turn torched the homes of whoever they blamed. Eventually the entire village was on fire.
In the morning, the villagers were ready to kill each other when the missing girl stepped out of the woods.
And they blamed her for destroying their village and so they knew they had to sacrifice her. They decided it was best to sacrifice the boy as well for not talking, even though the boy pleaded that he did not talk for the very reason that he had seen them do this before.
And after they burned them at the stake, the villagers rebuilt their homes together and lived in brief harmony until the next outburst of blame and it’s only solution.
Once there was a knight who found a labyrinth. As soon as he entered it, though, he exited it in an instant. He wondered what he could have missed because he had been told that this labyrinth was impossible to escape.
He turned around and went back in through the exit and turned corner after corner to find the entrance that he could not so easily find. Some corridors looked long but then felt short. And as soon as the walls seemed to be unfolding toward the entrance that had become the exit, they folded back in on him and made him feel like he was trapped in the smallest of cages.
In one cul-de-sac, he saw a child playing and unconcerned with being in the labyrinth at all. In another dead end, he saw an old knight who was skin and bones and was, like the child, unconcerned about the situation he found himself in. He wondered what cruel hand could have made such a trap.
Sometimes the ground felt soft and the walls seemed to wobble, but then he’d turn on his heels and the ground turned hard and the walls impregnable. He tried to follow a breeze but it would change direction. And the shadows were no help since they changed to fit his view. When he tried to mark a wall or the floor, they appeared where he was sure he had never been before.
The knight wished he had never thought of coming here. He should’ve listened when they told him it was impossible to leave. But exactly that notion of impossibility made it impossible for him to resist. So there he was, where he had always been. But he hadn’t thought enough about it, until he did, and went in through the exit to find the entrance only to get lost in time’s design instead.
Once there was a hermit who had watery windows in her home. Whatever she looked at through those windows had ripples flowing around it that told her everything she thought she needed to know. The watery windows magnified anything small or far that she wished to see.
One day, the hermit wondered if it was only she who saw the ripples in her watery windows, feared that it might be a curse forbidding her from leaving her home, and so she invited some people over. But when she opened her door to let them in, there were no people at all, but a raging sea, instead, with treacherous currents and ominous waves.
Her home was a ship and her sea legs wobbled at the realization that she had been out to sea so long that she was seeing ripples around everything.
Back in her warm cabin, she pulled the shades over the windows. She made a pot of tea. And formed a cave with a blanket for her cat to purr in. Soon her mind came to a rest. And she became the calm in the eye of her storm.