The Endearing Forest

The Endearing Forest, as illustrated by Verena Kyratzes, from the Oneiropolis Compendium

Once upon a time, somewhere near the city of Blahfurt, there was a forest. It was not a magical forest – well, no more magical than most forests. (All forests have some magic in them.) And like most forests, it was bursting with life; its branches were home to the Purple-Breasted Sympathetic Parrot, the Leafy Slingsnake, the Invisible Frog Squelcher, the Confused Hole Dweller, and many other wonderful animals. One species was entirely endemic: the Endearing Donkey-Squirrel (formerly mistakenly categorized as a subspecies of the Endearing Pig-Squirrel). Scientists often came to the forest all the way from Oneiropolis to study these creatures, but usually they ended up spending most of their time petting the squirrels and feeding them dried hamburgers, for which they displayed a fondness that has yet to be adequately explained.

Unfortunately, however, the city of Blahfurt lay within the realm of Urizen, and one day the officials of said realm decided that the Endearing Forest (the origin of its name is a long-standing debate) was simply too untidy and needed to be cleaned up. They did not make this decision out of malice; to them, in their offices in the city, the forest was an abstract concept. And even if a clarinet of doubt sometimes disturbed the perfect advertising jingles of their minds, they knew all the right comforting lies. Surely there were other forests, after all. Surely a few trees and animals didn’t matter much in the bigger picture. Surely this was entirely rational, no matter what those scientists said. What did scientists know of practical thinking and results, anyway?

These small-minded officials never considered why the decision to cut down the forest had been made in the first place. Who had whispered in their ears that the forest was entirely too messy, that it would all look so much better if it was properly uncluttered? None other than the greedy Baron Alberndt von Kurzbäumen, owner of the biggest sawmill in Blahfurt! And what a coincidence that it was to his firm that the task of modernizing the forest went!

And so the work began. Trees were cut down, animals were chased away, crooked paths were made straight. It was all very neat. But then the animals came back and the trees grew into weird shapes and the rain made the straight paths crooked again. It was unacceptable!

To deal with this situation, a meeting was convened in a great tower of steel and glass, where the Baron von Kurzbäumen very reasonably suggested that the best solution was to pay his firm to clean the forest up again. So they did that, but it grew wild again; and they tried it again, and again, and again, but it always ignored their wishes. Finally it was decided that a more permanent solution was necessary, and coincidentally the Baron had recently acquired a company that specialized in the production of concrete. So now there is a parking lot where the Endearing Forest used to be.

But that is not the end of the story, for Nature is more powerful than many think. Every time the forest grew back, some of the trees were a little different; and some of these different trees were harder to cut down, and so survived to have offspring, until all the trees of the forest were their descendants. And since the trees that were the hardest to cut down were the ones that grew on vertical surfaces instead of the traditional horizontal ones, a new forest had grown by the time the old one was destroyed: a vertical forest. The snakes and the parrots and the squirrels adjusted, but the Baron’s lumberjacks did not; and so Nature won in the end, as she always will.

You do know that’s total bollocks, don’t you? The Baron’s men are just waiting for better saws to be invented, and then the forest is done for. The only thing that can stop saws is people.

This entry in the Oneiropolis Compendium was made possible by Evan Balster.

  • Monkeys