The Story of Two
Once upon a time there was a little dryad and a great brown thing that that couldn’t decide what it wanted to be. Now the little dryad was always running around the forest far away from the tree that was her home. And the Brown Undecided often sat on a hill far away from the forest crying, because nobody loved him.
“Don’t leave us,” said the trees of the forest, but the dryad was too busy playing to listen to anyone.
“Stop crying,” said the birds of the sky to the Brown Undecided.
But he liked his tears. “Don’t tell me what to feel,” he said.
So one day the dryad danced out of the forest just as the Brown Undecided fell asleep after a long night of crying. Now dryads, when they go too far from their trees, grow weak and pale. They can even die. The little dryad didn’t know this. She didn’t know why she felt so awful. The world was open and beautiful. The sky was so big. But as she spent her last strength cusping a hill, she started to cry.
“I’m tired,” she said as she collapsed on a brown lump that seemed like it might be a soft place to sit.
“Oomph,” said the Brown Undecided. “You’re kind of heavy for a wood fairy.”
“I’m not heavy!” the dryad said. “I don’t get fat!”
“Well, I am not a place to sit,” said the Brown Undecided. “If you would get up I could cry like I do every other day.”
“I’m the one crying,” said the dryad. “And I thought you were nice.”
“I am nice!”
“No, you’re just a stupid lump.”
“Now I’m never taking you back to your forest,” said the Brown Undecided.
“Fine!” said the dryad. “See if I care. I’m just going to die right here.” Then she gave her best pout with the last energy she had.
The Brown Undecided looked at her, fuming.
Elsewhere there were dragons falling and fighting, elsewhere there were warriors sleeping, a princess singing the world into being, a prince practicing music alone in a meadow.
The Brown Undecided stood suddenly on his tiny feet. It had been a while since he’d moved, so he was kind of wobbly.
“Where’s the damn tree?” he said.
The dryad, who really was fading, lifted one thin hand and pointed. She couldn’t even fight any more.
“You’re not really that heavy,” said the Brown Undecided as he picked her up and took his first wobbly steps.
“I sat on you because I liked you,” the little dryad whispered.
Which is as close to romance as dryads and Brown Undecideds ever get.
I mean, after arguing like that, they had to get married so they could continue to drive each other crazy for the rest of their lives.
Meanwhile, they crossed a stream. The dryad fell in a little bit and threatened to sue. The Brown Undecided said it was the last time he’d play knight in shining armor if this was the kind of appreciation he was going to get.
But the trees in the forest shifted and danced, though no wind blew. A sound of singing came toward them.
The wet dryad climbed onto the Brown Undecided’s back.
“This is my home,” she said. “Do you want to stay here while you figure out who you are?”
“Will you always climb on me?” The Brown Undecided asked. “Or will I actually get a little peace?”
“I’ll never climb on you again,” said the dryad, crossing her fingers behind her back (and not getting off).
And so they lived ever after, arguing and nit-picking into eternity.