The Tale of the Woodcutter's Wife

Years after the once upon a time, the woodcutter’s wife drove home at night through the rain and swerved to miss a squirrel that was doing a credible cat impression (had she known it was a squirrel, she would not have swerved). She hit a tree and died.

The park bench never knew what one of its acorns had accomplished. It might even be that it would not have cared—it is easier to be a park bench than a tree, after all. The woodcutter became quite good at his job, eventually climbing up the corporate ladder (while never once thinking it was wood) owning the company, cutting many trees and massacring many forests; refusing to put saplings where trees had been.

When people asked why, he told them it was for his wife and for all who’d died because of trees. Yet every other Friday afternoon he’d go down to a park, sit on a bench, and just think. He never wept, nor would have even if he’d known part of that long ago tree was the bench. His secrets remained his own, along with his sins and sorrows and laughter.

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