When the Road Met the Hill (423 Words)
The field ran so far, but the road would never meet the green hill that shadowed its north horizon. But roads have a particular longing to be all places at once. This one road wanted very much to meet the hill. But no one else wanted to go, because the hill’s summit was home to a goblin.
There was the day when one stranger came along, and a shabby fellow he was, too. He must have come from very far. The road felt him walking along and figured he was as likely a person as any to climb the hill.
When the stranger stopped at a fork in the road, the road spoke to him.
“I can bring you to a good place where you can find work and warmth,” the road said.
“Will you now?” said the man. “Which way should I go?”
“I’ll tell you,” said the road. “But first you must climb the hill and take me with you.”
“How can I do that?” said the man.
“Get me in the heels of your shoes,” said the road, “and step smartly. I’ll be with you.”
The man didn’t know about the goblin, but he knew that there was something very odd going on. To cheer himself on the way because he was just a little afraid, he took out his whistle and played a song. And as he played he skipped, getting the road’s dust firmly in his shoe heels.
He’d gone halfway up the hill before he realized he wasn’t dancing alone. There was the goblin, the strangest creature he had ever seen, shuffling with him. The man was scared out of his wits but the goblin tried to soothe him.
“Here now, keep playing,” said the goblin. “Why have you stopped?”
“It was the road’s idea,” the man said, still scared and babbling. “I never would have come up, but the road wanted to see the top of the hill.”
“Well,” said the goblin. “If the road brings people who can make clever sounds like you, she is welcome. Come to my house and bring her with you.”
The man followed to the goblin’s house where he was fed and rested. The goblin loved his music so much and was so sad when it came time for the man to go, that the invitation was turned to an appointment, and the man played his whistle for the goblin as often as the strange creature wished.
And that is how the road met the hill.