Ramon inherited a big parcel of land from a distant but wealthy uncle who died of old age. In the middle of it stood a big house. It was surrounded by lush flower and vegetable gardens. Compared to their previous accommodation, the inheritance was a paradise. It was the perfect place to live except that the bigger part of the land was wooded.
When Ramon asked around what was in the woods, nobody knew. So, he just left it be. Who knows what kind of monsters were lurking in there.
For years, Ramon and his family lived not knowing what was in the woods. There were a few times when he was tempted to take a hike and find out more about his uncle’s land, now his, but always, caution took better of him and he decided against exploring the land.
Then drought came upon the town. Plants withered and animals died. The well where Ramon gets potable water was nearly dried up and if it didn’t rain for the next few weeks, it would dry up altogether. One day, a friend came to Ramon’s house and invited him to join them. They were going to the next town to find some water. Ramon looked at his wife and now almost grown up children and made a decision. He was going to find water. That night, while Ramon was packing his things, his oldest son, fourteen-year old Lito came to the room and asked.
“What if you don’t find any water, Father?”
“But what if you don’t?”
Annoyed, Ramon answered..
“Then, we’re going to die..”
Lito got scared. He didn’t want any of them to die. The following morning, he watched as his father and the other men from the town left to find some water. They had with them a cart pulled by a horse. The cart was loaded with several water containers of various sizes and shapes. When the group disappeared from his sight, Lito climbed up the roof of the house. From there, he could see his father and his companions. But not only that, he also saw the crown of some trees, green and lush, past the dried trees and plants at the wooded part of their land.
He came down and told his mother about what he saw. But his mother was too terrified to let Lito go to the woods. Nobody knew what was in there and her son might have just imagined the green crowns of the trees. Fortunately, Ramon and the other men came back after a couple of days. The water he brought home got them through the drought.
But the next year didn’t get any better or the year next to that. Every summer, the wells dried up and Ramon and the other men in town had to leave to find some water for their family. When Lito was old enough and strong enough to go, he did. Between them, they got more water.
Several years had passed. Ramon got too old to find water during the summer. It was Lito who joined the men now. But one day, they came back empty handed. There was no water to be found in the nearby towns.
We’re all going to die, thought Lito. Then, he remembered the green crowns of trees he saw from the roof ten years ago. Lito looked at his father sleeping on the bed. He knew Ramon would not approve, but his approval wouldn’t mean anything anymore if they all die.
Lito gathered the other men. Each carried a weapon and a container of water. One by one, with Lito leading them, each man went deeper into the wooded area. Gradually, the woods changed, from dried plants to green bushes and trees. The temperature also went cooler. The men went deeper and deeper until they came upon a paradise of tall trees. Running between the trees is a silver ribbon of cold spring adorned with moss covered rocks on each side.
It was indeed a paradise and Lito couldn’t believe they didn’t know about it all these years just because they were too scared to find out.
The men filled their containers with water and filed out of the woods with smiles on their faces and hope in their hearts that they are going to survive the summer and the summers yet to come.
(Original story by the blog author. Any similarities with other stories, fiction or otherwise, are purely incidental.)