The fox-who-was-a-boy fled the wilderness into the wood, where forgetting has no place, into the wood that remembers every facet of the world, where all of history and knowledge flourish, where every tree tells a story made of words solid unspoken, as textured as bark. The boy-fox sought sanctuary in the thick, wrinkled skin of the forest, in its many branches of possibility, in its leaves that touch the wind and the sun’s golden gaze, in the rings of its ever-growing interior.
Deep in the forest, the boy-fox climbed up into a tree he found to his liking, a tree to represent all trees, a tall banyan that was itself a forest of trees, thick with roots and trunks and branches and leaves reaching up forever into the night sky, as if to touch the very moon and stars, where memory and knowledge dream.
In the arms of the tree, the boy-fox curled up to slumber, hugging his foxtail for warmth. The boy-fox dreamt himself a gray fox, chased by hounds and nobles on horseback. The hounds he alluded by scampering up a tree, not towering but squat, big around, and foreboding, not a banyan or any other sort of tree he’d ever seen before in any forest. Its roots struck into the earth and rock like the giant hands of old witches. Its branches spread like long, crooked gallows, and from them hung gray leaves like damp rags from men whose necks had long ago snapped. The strange tree stood reminiscent of a swamp, though the earth all around was dry as dust.