Spiny Forest. The Barbed Borderlands is a strange, dour region. Exceedingly fertile and therefore half impenetrable, its forests tend to bring forth minimalist types of tree and shrubs, all branch, no flowers. To this austere place the tiny One-Eyed Itinerant Babbler has come to try and induce said stern trees to let their hair down and be merry; nay, even frivolous! So far his efforts have met with a small degree of success: two of the severe woody thingummybobs have sprouted flowers.

The little birdies are charmed by the youngster. In their collective bird-brained memory lingers the image of a long, long gone Italian geezer who used to talk to their kin on regular basis and once persuaded a wolf to go vegetarian for a while. (The experiment didn’t last owing to the crappy attitude of the local humans who, as usual, mistook grace and goodwill for weakness.)

Us, too, is charmed by the wee chatterbox and us hopes that he’ll soooooon come amongst we the masses and convince everybody that life might be like a chicken coop ladder, short and full of shit, but that a) that’s no reason to pout and b) beauty and love still matter. Now more than ever.