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Word Count: 969
Heart Of The Wood The mole reached his porch by late afternoon The door was neatly built into the hollow of an old tree with double steps fitted into the thick roots upon which new fallen leaves lay in all shades of green He swept them away with his foot and turned the key The entrance hall was round and wide rising twenty feet to a second hollow Warm sunlight shone through this window dusky rays of soft gold For a moment he saw her there gliding in downy wings of purest white He sighed and turned to a wide stairwell spiraling into the earth Down he stepped down and round lighting lamps with a taper as he went Flame by flame the underground mansion slowly emerged from the darkness a work no mole before had ever dreamed of let alone built First a vast open space miles of emptiness all around neither wall nor root breaking the breathtaking expanse the sky underground Then the peaks of stone mountains gray and black rock catching gold lamplight Then the roof of a strange and beautiful wood then the wood itself hundreds of trees sculpted out of earth down to the last detail of individual leaves Then a lake spanned by a bridge into which an underground river sang Then a score of tunnels each scarcely begun but wonderfully planned aimed at all points of the compass Above four of the archways words of destination were cut Canyon Mountain Vale Ocean Down and round he went lighting lamps He paused often gazing sighing reminiscing He touched the taper to a stone lamp at the foot of the bridge and started across Halfway a soft splash drew him to the rail Peering over he saw streaks of silver gliding just beneath the
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