Down by the concrete river, the spirits arise from patches of datura where the spiral that became a pinwheel stretches itself again to take on the form of ghostly plant emanations pollinated by the consciousness of any wanderer who lingers long enough for the vegetal spirits to unfurl their psychoactive shapeshifting tendrils and guide the awareness toward the unity of all things through the merging of forms and the collective existence of iterative semblances.
Once there was an old witch who lost her ability to see. She could no longer use her cauldron or her mirrors to watch over the village nor could she see where anything was in her hut nor any wolf lurking in the woods nor any tasty rabbit hiding in the understory. One night a spider came down from the ceiling and landed on her nose. It woke her but she stayed still and felt it walk across her cheek. it’s string trailed behind it and tickled her skin in a way that felt loud to her. This gave her a brilliant idea.
She brewed up a pot – a magic stew – of liquid power that allowed her to spin webs from her finger tips. Those spun from the left would not be sticky in order to just gather information. Those spun from her right were sticky and intended for traps. As she felt every surface of her hut she wove webs into and under everything with her left hand until she could feel where anything was from anywhere she touched her web.
Any movement of the smallest bug or slightest wind was brought to her attention too. So she wove around her hut and webbed the forest to her awareness. Now she knew where every wolf and rabbit were unlike when she had her eyesight. She had rabbit stew whenever she pleased and wished she had lost her sight much sooner.
Then she made it to the village and wove her web into every house and pathway. And as the village folk performed their daily duties, their actions reverberated in her web and startled her with a new vision of the people she had previously despised. All of their daily movements struck the strings and produced a music unlike any she had ever heard. She had heard the music of nature and when she webbed the woods that music did not surprise her. She had even heard the music of the celestial orbs, and the delirious sounds of the moonlight. But she had never heard the humble music of the folk from the village. And she wept at the spare beauty of all that seemed so unadorned and plain.
The people, however, did not hear any of this music. They did not know why she had webbed their entire village and it angered them. They grabbed their axes and torches and marched toward her hut. But she had heard that music too. It was loud and angry and full of confusion. She knew that confusion was almost always involved whenever somebody killed someone else anyways. So she had already made a sticky perimeter from her right hand that the marching villagers got entangled in. They tried to burn through it but there were only more webs.
With a captive audience, she told them that she had gone blind and meant them no harm. She told them about her idea and why she webbed everything. Then she let them go, and asked for their mercy because the music of their humble lives soothed her and she needed to hear it to go on living. And they, in turn, stopped calling her a witch and came to her for advice since she had heard all of the reverberations of their words and actions.
Once upon a time there was a man and a woman who hoped to have a baby boy but got a girl instead. As she grew older, she didn’t seem to care enough about anything. Her parents tried to make her learn how to be a seamstress but she was too lazy to be good at it. All she wanted to do was go for long walks in the woods and over the hills. She was always running away when she was supposed to be working. And the village took the side of her parents and said the girl was useless. They gave up trying to find her in the woods and just let her roam. And when she returned they told her to eat the scraps from the garbage heap.
This made the girl even sadder for she could not resist the urge to run away from any work her parents or the village wanted her to do. Even when an old woman asked her to help carry some sacks of grain, she’d eventually drop it and run for the woods. The girl became like a ghost to them. People stopped talking to her or noticing when she was around. This hurt her feelings even more because next to wandering in the woods, she loved talking about walking in the woods and now nobody listened to her.
Then one day whilst walking in the woods, she saw a frightful army of invaders creeping toward the village. So she climbed to the top of a hill overlooking the village and screamed louder than her little body ever did. So loud it shook the needles off some trees. So loud it made the old lady drop her sack of grain. So loud her parents ran out of the hut as if the village were on fire. So loud everyone in the village looked up and saw her wildly pointing down the hill where they saw dark shadows moving amongst the trees.
Her warning gave the villagers enough time to gather their tools and weapons and fight the invaders until they killed most and captured the rest. Then it dawned on them that if the useless girl hadn’t screamed they might all be dead. They looked amongst them and she was not to be seen. They searched the woods and climbed the hill and found her with an arrow stuck through her throat. Her fragile body pinned against a tree. Her little purple tongue dangled out the side of her mouth as if it were trying to limp away to wander in the woods.
The whole village looked at her face and wept. They wept for weeks and not just for what the invaders had done but in far greater measure for how they had treated her. Those who had said the most hurtful things like “she’s just another mouth to feed” and “maybe she should never come back” felt the pain as if they had an arrow in their throats that they had shot into themselves. From then on, the villagers said, “you’ve got an arrow in your throat” if anyone talked bad about someone else without seeing that person’s bigger purpose or contribution to the entirety of their existence.
Once there was a fisherman who saw a school of fish. And each of these fish appeared to him as the same fish. They were all one fish really just separated into many kinds of the same fish. And after he caught that fish, he walked home and saw the longest vine with a thousand bulbs about to bloom and they appeared to him as one and the same bulb. And after the sun set, he ate his fish by the fire and looked up at the sky and saw all the stars as the same star split into many, but all the same, one star, really. And when he walked through the village to go fishing the next day, he saw the people as himself, as the same person divided into many. And when he talked to some of them he felt like he was talking to himself. And when they looked at him they looked at themselves as much as he did himself when he looked at them. Back on the boat he cut the fish open. Split it down the belly. But each half became a whole again and now there were two fish but they were also one.
Once a knight was out plucking flowers for his queen’s crown when he looked more deeply than usual into one. Inside the flower, the knight, much to his surprise, saw a kingdom the mirror image of his own. He could see the castle and the grounds upon which he stood.
More flabbergasting than that, he saw an ant-sized human exactly where he stood, and it moved exactly as he did. He realized it must be his miniature self looking into a minute flower. Then, the knight felt like someone else was looking at him. He could feel a strong gaze on his nape. He turned around but saw nobody.
However, when he dared to look up, he saw a giant eye filling the entire sky as it looked back down on him. The earth shook. And the castle came crumbling down. And the gardens folded back into the earth.
He looked back at the flower in his hand and saw that he had accidentally crushed it when he had seen his own enormous eye staring down at him from the firmament. He cried out and lamented what he had done.
He had plucked his kingdom for no great purpose.