by Hardscrabble Farmer
The Burning Platform
Once upon a time there was a farmer. He lived in a modest house at the edge of a great, dark wood with a wide field in front and a clear running stream at the bottom of the land. He had a young wife who bore him many healthy children and together they worked the land and tended their field. Life was good for them, with warm sunny days and bountiful harvests. There was always the sound of laughter and of puppies barking and cows lowing in the field. The orchard that they planted grew strong and the barn was filled with sweet hay to feed their livestock.
One day the farmer and his wife sat together and looked out upon their field with pride.