Issue 11, Volume 18
Unimelb professor Ian Malkin stirred awake this morning on a bed of soft loam, displacing several squirrels that had been napping on his chest.
Smoothing down his lace-up linen shirt, he began casting around for his shoes, which he was sure he’d been wearing when he entered the forest grove the evening before.
“I was invited by the noble Stag King to observe the Ritual of the Wood,” Malkin (63) explained, a little distractedly. “Every spring, they gather to give thanks to the Tree Spirits for the blooming of the flowers, and the harmony of all living creatures.”
Occurring near the beginning of October each year, it is rare for human eyes to observe the ancient coming-together of all the forests’ inhabitants. Animals of all stripes assemble from the very deepest areas of the forest. On that one night, no animal may harm another, and the air is said to vibrate with the deep magic of the forest.
Caught up in the festivities, Malkin joined the assembled woodland creatures in dancing, and taking turns drinking from the ceremonial ewer. The ewer contained a heady potion of mead and mushrooms, mixed by the gentle paws of hedgehogs and rabbits. Having imbibed the sacred elixir, his moustache stood on end, before he entered the trance that signified absolute spiritual union with Mother Earth.
Sometime during the evening’s festivities, a honey badger had assisted Malkin in removing his kicks (red Yeezys, we were told), so that he might feel the sacred grass of the clearing vibrate with the songs and chants of the forest folk.
After pushing aside flowers sparkling with golden dew, and the tails of a napping wolf pack, Malkin scratched his head as he scanned the ground around him. “Abrrru cabrruuuuu,” he grunted to his deer friend, who was introduced to De Minimis as Clarence. “That’s racist,” replied Clarence. “You don’t know it was the otters.”
A moment later, Malkin caught a glance of the position of the sun. “Great Scott, it’s almost 9am!” he exclaimed, in his agreeable Canadian accent. “No time for shoes now, I’m sure my students won’t even notice.”
He raced from the clearing, bidding his furry brethren a fond goodbye.
Winston Baker is an intrepid second-year reporter, providing us with more factual stories than the average Sky News bulletin.