There was once an enchanted town. A witch had cast a sleeping spell over it because something about it maddened her. All the townspeople were asleep so nobody could ask them what it was, and the witch refused to discuss the matter. Unbeknownst to the witch, however, as the townspeople slept they all dreamed the same dream. They dreamed a dream of the town. They dreamed that the life of the town was carrying on as usual. The grownups dreamed that they were going to work and calling home their children. The children dreamed that they were going to school and running in the wind. The wind dreamed it was shuddering the trees, and the trees dreamed they were growing out their leaves. The leaves dreamed they spent all summer longing to escape, until finally they did.
Not far away there was this town where all the people laughed all the time. The people laughed as they worked and they laughed as they rested and they laughed as they fought. And there was this other town, too, a town where all the people wept all the time. They wept as they worked and they wept as they rested and they wept as they played.
Now a baby boy was born to the laughing town, a weeping boy. He slipped out of his laughing mother and when his laughing father kissed him, he wept. The laughing people were startled by the weeping boy. They laughed to show their astonishment. The weeping boy’s mother laughed a bit and took her boy to her breast.
At the same time a baby girl was born to the weeping town, a laughing girl. She slipped out of her weeping mother and when the weeping doctor smacked her, she laughed. The weeping people were concerned by the laughing girl. They wept to show their consternation. The laughing girl’s weeping mother took her girl to her breast.
The weeping boy grew and grew until one day he was driven out of the laughing town and down the road by children throwing rocks at him, and laughing. The laughing girl grew and grew until one day she was chased up the road by children who pinched her skin and wept. The weeping boy from the laughing town made his way down the slippery road, and the laughing girl from the weeping town made her way up the slippery road. Until they met.
Surely the weeping boy had had enough of laughing people. Surely he should have kept going and if he had, he’d have made his way to the weeping town and there he’d have met a lovely weeping girl, perhaps the pretty one with the curly hair, the one who pinched so well. Surely the laughing girl had had enough of weeping people. Surely she should have kept going and if she had, she’d have made her way to the laughing town and there she’d have met a lovely laughing boy, perhaps the handsome one with the sturdy shoulders, the one who liked to throw rocks.
But they were both very tired, and their feet ached. So they sat down together in the ditch and, head to head to shoulder, they fell asleep. And when the full moon woke them up, they built a hut by the side of the road. They made very good mates.
Yet sometimes on the darkest nights the weeping boy dreamed he told the laughing girl to go and make her way a little further up the road, where she’d discover the laughing town and all the other people of her kind. And sometimes on the brightest nights the laughing girl dreamed that she told the weeping boy to go and make his way a little further down the road, where he would find the weeping town and all the other people just like him. But they were too afraid of losing each other and so neither of them ever did.
In the first town, meanwhile, the one under the witch’s spell, everyone is dreaming still.