ON THE EDGE of a city there was a tree and a street lamp. The lamp was lit each night by the night watchman. One night, upon lighting the lamp, a young man with a rucksack approached the watchman.
“HO,” said the watchman, “where are you going, boy?”
“Into the woods. For good. Or at least until something better comes up.”
The watchman was dressed in a driving cap, maize corduroy blazer, and checkered pants. He laughed through his wide smile and crooked teeth. Then he stopped laughing.
“Why? There’s nothing but beggars and thieves and bears in the forest…there is nothing beyond. Everything you need’s inside.”
“Even so,” replied the young man, “the town has nothing that I want.”
On the watchman’s face there played a shadowdance of the lamplight’s small flame. He looked like a face that appears in the shape of knotty wood.
“We don’t have beggars or thieves or bears here. What’s to want, boy?” the elder asked.
“There have been those that have begged away my youth; there have been thieves of my imagination; this town has bears that would rend my arms and legs. What’s to want? That is exactly what I’m going to find out.”