desktop to mobile switch button
desktop to mobile switch button
• Show or Hide Illustration •

The Mallow Path

by George McGinn


In a far away land there was a vast mystical woodland. The trees were tall and twisted with few leaves except at the heart of the woodland where they were green and abundant with fruit, nuts and berries all year round. The woodland protected itself behind a giant wall of brambles which intertwined with the trees. Only the animals could navigate through the dense thicket.

A little village lay on the edge of the woodland. The folk who lived there could not enter the wood because of the brambles, but they could smell the fruit whose sweet irrestistible aroma drifted on the winds and drove them to risk their lives to find a way in. Some had tried to hack their way through the brambles only to be entangled and shredded to death by the sharp thorns. However, the villagers knew of a rare and unexplained phenomenon they called the Mallow Path. The path was composed of thousands of little flowers of the same species which bloomed together unveiling a secret route through the woodland and to the otherwise untouchable fruits.

The path was not though without significant dangers. Milky mauve in colour, the Mallow Path would never flower in the same place twice. Those brave enough to walk it had to be quick on their feet or risk being lost in the darkness forever for the path could wither away at any time and be replaced by the twisted trees and jagged brambles which would close in once more. Most never returned, but a small number made it back with their arms full of the forbidden fruits. Sadly, these home-comers were all reduced to speaking gibberish and moved around in the strangest of ways. Some galloped on all fours and dug holes where they crouched whilst others hopped around and perched on windowsills looking bemused. It seemed this odd behaviour was a forfeit the villagers thought worth paying just to sink their teeth into the soft juicy fruits brought back by these poor souls.

A guard was posted in the bell tower at all times ready to alert the villagers of the appearance of the Mallow Path. One day, the bell tolled. Everyone flocked to the edge of the woodland and waved off a hopeful contender whose name was Adam. Wasting no time, he sprinted down the soft path of petals into the darkness of the wood.

Very soon, his path was blocked by a wild boar. "If you wish to pass" said the boar "you must give me your hat". Fearful of the creature's huge tusks, Adam gave his hat to the boar who trotted off. Scratching his ears, the young man continued his sprint.

Soon he met an aggressive crow flying around in his hair. "If you wish to pass" said the bird "you must give me your shirt". Mindful the path could disappear at any moment, he did not hesitate to hand over his shirt to the crow who flew off into the trees. With a twitch of his nose, Adam resumed his course.

Further along, Adam's journey was interrupted by a grizzly brown bear. "If you wish to pass" growled the bear "you must give me your shoes". Adam reluctantly handed them over, but felt a lightness of being as his feet trod nimbly between the fallen thorn of the brambles.

In the distance, he could see the end of the Mallow Path leading to the fruit whose aroma was now completely overpowering. However, a giant frog jumped out in front of him. "If you wish to pass" croaked the frog "you must give me your trousers". Adam handed over his last piece of clothing to the frog who hopped off before plopping into a near by pond. Adam then lept up on to a tree with amazing agility and picked as many fruits as his little arms would carry. The fruits seemed unusually large and heavy.

Sitting on a branch, Adam paused and surveyed the lush greenery of the woodland. He felt his ears rotate at the slightest sound and his nose twitch to a myriad of woodland scents carried on a breeze. He noticed all the creatures of the wood including the boar, the crow, the bear and the frog were staring at him. He peered into their eyes which seemed strangely human and then looked down at the pond below. Staring back at himself, he saw his reflection which was not that of a young man, but of a squirrel. It dawned on him that the animals were once the villagers who had entered the wood before him. The villagers had not disappeared, but had become part of the wildlife just as he now was.


~The End ~


The Forgotten Woodlands
vignette pillarbox
vignette meadow maid
vignette christmas clock
vignette tree sprite gramophone
vignette butler
vignette butler face on pink
vignette moon king
vignette swiss clock girl falling
vignette sun
vignette girl face
winter tree
vignette glitter moon
butler on turquoise
vignette buttercuppia landscape portrait
vignette chair g plan
butter twenties face
vignette mallow path natural
vignette moon
vignette belle fleur tractor
queen knoll
acorn tree
vignette meadow maid
vignette fish
vignette swiss clock
vignette door bell
vignette christmas tree
vignette water witch
vignette swiss clockman face
goat and pig
vignette door bell
vignette compass
vignette air balloon
vignette sun moon
vignette glitter moon
butler on turquoise
vignette buttercup face