Deep in the eastern woods there lived an old woman in a small cottage. No one remembered her name, but they would go visit her from the local village if they had aches, pains or fevers. She grew flowers and medicinal herbs around her garden. One day Cecily’s mother sent her to the old woman. “Your younger brother has a fever, go to the old woman’s cottage and get some herbs.”
The young girl put on her bright blue apron and wrapped a shawl around her shoulders. The sun didn’t shine well in the eastern woods and it got cold there even on bright summer days. “Follow the path to her cottage and tell the old woman that it’s for your younger brother.” Cecily nodded. She grabbed a berry basket and headed out the door. The sun was already overhead by the time that she reached the eastern woods by following the well worn road that ran through the village. Nobody else came this far unless they were going to visit the old woman and the road was only a footpath by the time that she reached the edge of the woods.
Cecily was hungry so she sat on a large boulder at the edge of the woods and pulled out a slice of bread and some goat cheese that her mother had packed for her. “Why does the old woman live so far from the village?” Cecily remembered asking her mother earlier that day.
“She likes to be alone and there are certain plants she uses that only grow in the forest.” Cecily’s mother had answered before laying a hand on Phillip’s forehead. “He’s still hot. Hurry now.”
Cecily slid off the rock and landed with both feet on the path. She paused at the edge of the woods. She liked being alone in the forest by her home, but these trees were different, darker, taller and wilder. She began to walk into the woods.