A small light across the room catches my attention. It shines from what appears to be a hole in the ground. It becomes brighter as it rises up towards me and soon fills the room.
With numbing fear, I look around me. Where can I hide? I’m definitely inside the hollow trunk of the tree, which appears to be a strange and intriguing room.
The light now blinds me. I hold my fore-arm horizontally in front of my eyes to prevent the light from burning through my closed eyelids.
I hear a loud clicking sound and the light’s intensity gradually fades.
Slowly, I open my eyes.
There’s a peculiar tree-man standing in front of me.
“Hello!” he says, rapidly, in a high-pitched voice.
I try to step back, but I’m against the wall.
“There’s no need to be afraid,” he says, stoically. “My name is Filbert. Follow me!”

I follow him obediently, not because I want to. I follow him because I’d rather follow the light than stand alone in the dark when he’s gone.
The light he carries is switched to its brightest again. He leads me down a shaft of steep steps made of hardened ground. My hands press against the walls on either side of the shaft. I twist my torso and turn my feet to the right. I try to place most of each foot on the small surface of each descending step. I can’t afford to topple down the shaft. I’ve no idea how far I’ll fall. I may twist my ankle or break my leg… or – even worse – my neck. I may even fall on Filbert! That alone would be humiliating, should he survive.
The steps lead on and on down into the heart of the earth, and I continue to descend at a measured pace. I’m quite relieved when the steps eventually come to an abrupt end.
Filbert waits impatiently for me at the bottom.

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