• There was once a girl. She had a red ball in which she always loved to play with. One day, she was playing near the woods and the ball rolled into the trees of its own accord. It rolled and rolled and rolled. So she ran into the dense forest to catch it. But she too got lost.

    She wandered for a long time and found neither the ball nor her way back. She had become lost and she began to lose hope of going ever home. She was beginning to feel lonely until she heard noise coming from above her head. It sounded like laughter in the form of rustling leaves. “Nonsense,” she said and was about to move on, but then she saw it.
    A boy. A boy garbed in leaves for clothes, mud on his face, and the green of life for hair. He smiled at her and she-beyond common sense and strangely not afraid-smiled back. She spent time with the boy and they were happy.
    More time passed and she had forgotten everything: her ball, her home, her loneliness.
    One day, one week, one month, one year. Soon many years and they grew older.

    And in growing older they fell in love, and the trees withered. And as the trees withered the boy became sad, for they were his home, his family. He realized that they were dying because he had used all his love on the girl and had forgotten of the trees. But the boy of the forest refused to leave the girl, her company…her love.
    And the girl saw him sad for the dying trees and could not stand to see them and the boy of the forest wither way in front of her eyes.

    So she decided to leave. She had long ago found her way out of the forest and back home but had refused to leave for the boy and his love needed her. But she could see now that his love needed the trees and she could not bear to see her beloved so sad, so she had to leave.
    And he knew.
    So on the day that she was to go, he gave her a box and said to her, “You cannot open this box until you leave the forest. And you must promise to never return.”
    So she left him then, running….crying.

    She reached the exact spot where she had wandered into the forest those many years ago. She looked back and already could see the trees returning their color, their beauty. Wiping her tears she opened the box.
    Inside, exactly the way it was so many years ago, was a red ball.