The crone

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Deep in the forest lives an old crone. She lives amongst the trees that reach high into the sky. Their roots reaching deep into the ground. She lives in the space between the sky and the earth where all is well.

She made her home many years ago from things she gathered from the forest – stone, wood and mud. It is a beautiful home that has served her well. She is very fat and her fingers gnarled and old. Nobody knows how old she is but she has always been there.

She has lived there as long as anyone can remember and is known by all as a very wise woman. She spends her days walking through the forest and visiting the trees and the animals that share her home. She gathers all she needs to eat from the forest. Enjoying the dandelions and their cheerful yellow flowers, and all the other greens that nourish her.

One day, she was walking by the river and saw a big ribbon gum. She saw signs that there were witchetty in the tree, with their small white eggs on the bark and sawdust spilling out onto the ground. In another place, she saw holes with doors made of sap marking the place the witchetty had made their home, digging in deep and then up the tree.

She knew the witchetty would give her strength so she decided to dig them out. She knew that digging them out wouldn’t hurt the tree, instead it would help it. Those witchetty get greedy sometimes and kill the tree. First, she got a sharp stone and made the hole bigger and higher. Then, she took a hook that she used for many things and pushed it up into the hole, hooking the witchetty and pulling it out gently. Then, she cooked it over hot coals and was full.

On this day some people who had heard of the wise old crone decided to come and find her to gain some wisdom. As they reached deeper into the forest they heard things they hadn’t heard before. The plants started whispering their secrets to them about the things they could do. They told them about the ways they could help them. The animals welcomed them and were happy to share the forest with them.

They didn’t find the old crone that day but left the forest with the wise wisdom of the plants. They always remembered their time in the forest. They remembered to listen very carefully to the plants, and kept that wisdom for all their days.

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