by Neil Gaiman
Touch the wooden gate in the wall you never saw before.
Say "please" before you open the latch,
walk down the path.
A red metal imp hangs from the
green-painted front door,
as a knocker,
do not touch it; it will bite your fingers.
Walk through the house. Take nothing. Eat nothing.
However, if any creature tells you that it hungers,
feed it. If it tells you that it is dirty,
If it cries to you that it hurts,
if you can, ease its pain.
From the back garden you will be able to see the wild wood.
The deep well you walk past leads to Winter's realm;
there is another land at the bottom of it.
If you turn around here,
you can walk back, safely;
you will lose no face. I will think no less of you.
Once through the garden you will be in the wood.
The trees are old. Eyes peer from the undergrowth.
Beneath a twisted oak sits an old woman.
She may ask for something;
give it to her.
She will point the way to the castle.
Inside it are three princesses.
Do not trust the youngest. Walk on.
In the clearing beyond the castle the
twelve months sit about a fire, warming their feet, exchanging tales.
They may do favors for you, if you are polite.
You may pick strawberries in December's frost.
Trust the wolves, but do not tell them
where you are going.
The river can be crossed by the ferry.
The ferryman will take you.
(The answer to his question is. . . .)
If an eagle gives you a feather, keep it safe.
Remember: that giants sleep too soundly; that
witches are often betrayed by their appetites;
dragons have one soft spot, somewhere, always;
hearts can be well-hidden,
and you betray them with your tongue. .....
Remember your name.
Do not lose hope - what you seek will be found.
Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have
helped to help you in their turn.
Trust your heart, and trust your story.
- JoinedFebruary 10, 2012