The woman lived at the end of the lane. No one knew how old she was, she was simply called “The Crone”. People smiled as she walked by; they nodded, but they were a bit wary–she was odd.
Today, she needed some herbs and decided that it would be pleasant to walk out into the woods to collect them. As with many things, she became completely absorbed in her collecting. The day wore on to late afternoon and she found that it was really too dark to walk back home. The woods were peaceful and she liked the spot she found herself in, so she sat down and built a small fire. She watched the animals watching her and found herself drowsing off to sleep. It was a warm night and the fire was more than enough to keep her warm.
In the morning, she woke refreshed and full life. “I like this place”, she though to herself! “I believe I could live here quite happily.” So she sat for a moment and thought about this new idea. She made a decision. She would bring her things and live here in the woods.
What would she need? What should she bring? These were the thoughts that occupied her on her way back to her house at the end of the lane.
That evening found her back in the woods in her lovely spot between the trees. Another idea struck her…Farmer Johnson had an old barn on his property and she remembered him saying that one day he was going to have to just push it over and tear it down. Well, perhaps she could help him out. So, carefully, she walked across the fields at the edge of the wood to Farmer Johnson’s property.
Sure enough, there was the barn leaning precariously in the moonlight. Well, no one was going to miss a few of those old boards! So, as quietly as she could, she gathered up a few of the old boards that had fallen off the side of the barn, including one that was still attached!
Back to the wood with her treasured boards. The trees were so cooperative! They’d grown just the right distance apart to allow her to nail the boards neatly between to make a wall. Farmer Johnson got several more visits in the night from the Crone. And although he had a pretty good idea where the lumber was going, he was very happy that he was not having to take the time and trouble to get rid of it himself.
After several weeks, the Crone had managed a nice, comfortable cottage in the hollow of the trees. She had brought many of her things from her house at the end of the lane to help make it suit her taste and whim. She brought her herbs and oils and her stones collected from all over the country. She brought her books and odds and ends – things that attracted her attention or caught her eye. She loved color and variety and furnished her house with many strange and beautiful things.