Molly and the faun walked several miles before coming to a forest she never knew existed. “How long has this been here?” She asked the faun, staring in awe at the great trees standing higher than any giant.
“As long as I’ve been alive; which has been a long time.” He said pointedly, stepping beyond the stark tree-line stretching for miles. If the outside of the forest seemed intimidating and cold the inside proved warm, spacious and bright. Molly deemed it a entirely new world, new even from her many dreams of fantasy. Colorful birds sang symphonies and flapped to-and-frow while flowers uprooted themselves and followed the pair as they walked along a neglected trail, waving their petals in dance as their tiny voices greeted and beckoned. Molly felt overjoyed at the sight and would have abandoned the pursuit of treasure all together in favor of staying in the forest a bit longer, but the faun scolded and pushed her on. Through to the other side they left the flowers at the forest’s edge, waving goodbye before coming to a great mountain a stone’s throw later, as tall and wide as a proud mountain should be.
But the grandness of the sight was distracted from by gnarly stems and thorns, blanketing the mountain in a dark, unfriendly coat. Only a small glimmer of red caught Molly’s eye, though she knew not how her eyesight carried so far up. At the very top of the mountain, amidst thorns mind you not forget so easily, gleamed a single rose, seemingly made of crystal.
“This is your treasure and your test.” The faun said quietly. “Climb the mountain to reach the rose and all your wishes come true.”
“But the thorns…” Molly started before an idea struck her. “Have you tried to climb this hill? This is where you got the thorn in your foot, is it not?”
“Certainly,” the faun answered plainly. “I have a great many wishes and would love to see them all fulfilled. But alas, I could not reach the top. Quite simply I am too big. But you are small enough to crawl through the stems and roots. But be warned do mind your footing. To fall off the mountain is to fall on a casket of thorns.”
Molly wished she could return to the forest to the singing birds and colorful flowers who moved when a breeze rolled by. In comparison, a lifeless piece of glass wasn’t much of a prize. But Molly knew better than to think she could turn back now. Walking to the foot of the mountain the faun brightly encouraged her onwards and upwards. Sighing, she grabbed a grey stem and hoisted herself up.
Slowly and carefully she wove herself over and between the great thicket. What felt like hours the faun assured were only minutes, occasionally sending her words of encouragement. “Surely he only wants this rose for himself,” Molly thought. “What if he’s only using me? When I have the rose he’ll steal it and leave me here alone.”
“Quickly,” the faun yelled, seeing her pause. “I won’t be able to reach you if you hurt yourself. Your bones will be toothpicks for vultures.”
The thought of being anything to a vulture was quite scary. Forcing her way up the mountain faster Molly neared the top and the rose was finally within grasp. Reaching out she brushed the nearest leaf with her fingers and she felt the ground shift beneath her. The thorns and stems came alive and rolled and bucked all over the mountain, seemingly fighting off the detected thief.
Desperately Molly grasped for the rose, but the stems gave a great heavy and she flew through the air. Head over feet she caught sight of one particularly nasty looking thorn heading her way and thought of her poor grandmother having to go without eggs because her granddaughter was scraps for vultures.
Molly opened her eyes. She found herself back by the dirt road with a half eaten plum in her hands. Realizing what happened she jumped to her feet and grabbed her basket of eggs. Running off down the road she scolded herself for wasting a perfectly good egg for such a dream. Fauns weren’t even real.