Benjamin Acosta '23
Once upon a time there was a wintered land. A sleeping land. Serene. To a wanderer the land might have seemed dead, desolate, without the bears that liven the wood with terror. To the one acclimated to merry peoples, vibrant towns, the lives of the local minks and millipedes were utterly unaccountable.
There once was a springald called Springy from Springvale, and he would come to trek those yonder lands. He was called such on account of his tendency to spring high into the air when startled in addition to the springy nature of his locks. For both of those things he was teased, and his family felt terribly embarrassed, so one year during their spring cleaning they said to him, “We are spring cleaning you out! Come back when you are springy in the right kind of way.” So with a heavy heart he embarked on a voyage in a sturdy spring wagon.
All he had with him was a box of springerle cookies and a Springfield rifle. “I’ll become springy, all right,” he said, and aggressively munched at a cookie. He sat sulking and munching in his spring wagon while the horse dragged him aimlessly over the hills until he ran out of springerle cookies, and then he just sat in his hunger. While he was thus engaged a sudden springing silhouette caught the corner of his eye, and, as he was known to do, he himself sprang from his seat, startled. There it was, bounding high in the air, a majestic springbok. But without his box of springerle cookies all he could think was, food! and he pulled out his Springfield rifle. Bang! Bang! Blood sprayed across the sky but the springbok was nowhere to be found.
Springy began to despair. His stomach was annoying him more and more and his body was feeling weaker and weaker, and what’s more, this land had winter weather in what should have been the springtime. He curled up in his spring wagon and dreamt of delicious spring rolls and grilled springbok flesh. Then he heard echoing in his dream: “Springy in the right kind of way…”
If he had thought the location un-spring-like the night before, when Springy awoke, he especially noticed it now. A land wintered, sleeping, serene, in the spring. His first thought was his hungry stomach, but then he remembered the echoing words of his dream, and asked himself, perhaps springy means spreading spring around the world, instead of spring rolls. But his stomach grumbled and Springy hyahed his horse onward. Throughout the whole day the quiet stillness of the wood pressed down on him, and he missed the lively Springvale.
Eventually he came upon a hot spring, and decided to take a bath. While he bathed he pondered how to catch a springbok, but noticing that a mild croaking heightened the silence, he pursued its source. Alas! plump spring peeper frogs gathered in a spot on the ground. He found some spring onions and a hidden patch of spring beauty, with which he seasoned his raw spring peepers. It was quite chewy, but had to do for now. After eating spring peepers for several days straight, Springy wondered how much longer this would have to last.
In the night, he dreamt again, “Springy in the right kind of way…” but this time a dog appeared, and helped him save the day, though the details were blurry. The next day a springer spaniel came barking out of nowhere. “Hey cute doggo! Wanna tag along?” Springy said.
“Woof!” was the springer spaniel’s reply, and it started running ahead. Springy remembered his dream. “Hyah, hyah!” and the spring wagon lurched forward.
After following the dog for some time, Springy spotted a springbok. “Good dog!” he exclaimed, thrilled, when he noticed that the springbok had a limp, and could not spring quite so high. Is it the same? he wondered, loading his Springfield. The dog seemed to be cutting off the springbok, and the shot was clear. Bang! The springbok went down. Springy went over to say “Good doggo” to the dog and, mouth watering, start carving the meat, but upon approaching the carcass, he saw that the dog was tearing at the springbok’s ribs. Suddenly the creature’s heart was in the springer spaniel’s mouth, being offered to him. Springy took it and suddenly knew what to do. This was the right kind of springiness he had been waiting for.
“Let’s go springtime this wood!” He gave the springbok meat a longing look, but recalled how he wanted to return home, and, with a heavy heart, parted with it. The springer spaniel led him to the heart of the wood. There was a tree with a hollow; in the hollow was a heart; this heart was not one of spring, but was subtle, discolored, quiet. Springy ripped out this heart, and shoved in the springbok’s. “Time to waken, you lonesome wood!”
All in a moment the trees blossomed forth, the minks and millipedes made themselves visible, and the air was filled with the sounds of spring. The tree at the heart of the wood bent a branch and garlanded him with a flowery crown.
“I reckon I can return now, eh doggo?” said Springy, and he smiled and embarked in his spring wagon.
At home his family saw the spring garland and welcomed him with open arms. “That’s our Springy!” they said and lived happily ever after.
But not for long. The bears were not done sleeping, for the spring of that wintered land comes later than that of Springvale. The springbok knew her timekeeping, but she had been interrupted, and the restless bears arose. “Is it spring already?” they yawned. But then they saw the springbok’s corpse, and were furious. The springer spaniel left a distinct smell, and they followed it all the way back to Springvale, where they mauled the citizens to death in their outrage. Then Springy’s family regretted ever spring cleaning him in the first place.