A Time When the Woods Were Greater

There are things which have been in the world far longer than human kind, so that once when Men were newer on the earth and the woods were greater, there had been places a Man might walk where he might feel the age of the world on his shoulders.  Forests grew in which the stillness was so great he could hear stirrings of a life no part of his own.  There were brooks from which the magic had not gone, mountains which sang with voices, and sometimes a wind touched the back of his neck and lifted the hairs with the shiver of a presence at which a Man must never turn and stare.

But the noise of men grew more and more insistent.  Their trespasses became more bold.  Death had come with them, and the knowledge of good and evil, and this was a power they had, both to be virtuous and to be blind.

Axes rang.  Men built houses, rooted up stone, felled trees, made fields where forests had stood from the foundation of the world… Men changed whatever they set hand to.  They wrought their magic on beasts, to make them dull and patient.  They brought fire and the reek of smoke to the dales.  They brought lines and order to the curve of hills.  Most of all they brought the chill of iron, to sweep away the ancient shadows.


Cherryh, C.J. (1983) The Dreaming Tree.  (pp. 1). New York, NY: Daw Books Inc.


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