The Pocketknife and the Woodworm
THE POCKETKNIFE AND THE WOODWORM
“Oh, hello there!” said the Pocketknife. “I didn’t expect to find you so deep inside of here. Then again, I never expect to find anything, though I so often do. It’s my curiosity that guides me, you know.”
“Well, kindly take your curiosity elsewhere!” shouted the small woodworm.
“I truly mean no harm. It’s my nature that makes me whittle wood. And after all, it was the Old Wood herself who invited me to whittle here. See, I started over there where her bark is soft from the northern moss. She didn’t mind. I’ve whittled her wood a great many times before. She often laughs at me, saying that my blade is too dull to do any real whittling. But I spent time this morning down by the river and rubbed my blade over and over again on the rocks until it became quite sharp, and rather shiny too!"
“Close your blade at once! It’s catching the sunlight from that hole you’ve made. You're burning my eyes. See how they are dripping and the tears are puddling on the floors of my tunnel."
“Please, I don’t intend to hurt you," the Pocketknife said softly. "When I peeled back the Old Wood's bark I noticed all of the worm trails on her flesh but I saw no living creatures. The Wood said she didn’t mind if I whittled a bit deeper, you know I am very curious and persistent. She told me that most of the tiny creatures who once lived under her bark were now gone, or at least she hadn’t felt them moving for quite some time. She knew of only a few of them who still had a home somewhere deep inside. I can see that the creatures have made thousands of tunnels. So many that the walls of the Old Wood have grown thin and have started to collapse."
“With your help, thank you very much! Besides, they’re all still here. They’re hiding. But, never mind you that! You’ve exposed my home! You’ve let the light in and ruined my tunnels. I have no way to hide from it now.”
“You needn’t hide, little worm. Come out here, into the light, where I can see you.”
"The Old Wood is growing too soft with age and she should have never allowed you to find me. You see these rings? Each year I tunneled deeper passing one more ring until I found my sanctuary, my safe and warm home. It is one-hundred and twenty rings deep, quite an accomplishment!"
"But don’t you see? It is the light that keeps your home warm. It shines all day on the Old Wood and it’s warmth penetrates her bark and flesh. You have felt and loved the light all along, my friend."
"Oh contraire! It is the darkness that I love. The light stings and it burns. See how my skin is beginning to shrivel. Go now! Take your blade higher up the Old Wood and leave me be!"
"Dear friend, now that I’ve found you I cannot leave you here, for it would betray my nature. Yes, you must join me in the light. Come now, climb up onto my wooden handle. And don’t worry little one, it will only take a moment for your eyes to adjust and for your casing to crack and grow anew. Then, you will be fit for living in the light. Trust me, the light can only be good to you. Come now… I will take you..."