The forest starts sparsely at the bend where the first few trees lay away from the wickedness of the wind. The trees come closer together there and the girl Anna can spot signs of deer when the farm is far behind her. Satisfied at herself, Anna begins to think lightly of her new adventure and stops to sup at a small brook, (whose gentle sounds remind us of the coo of our smallest cousins). She eats a bit of cheese and bread, throwing bits of the chewy loaf to a small bird that has come to investigate, without petition.
Then she hears the cracking of a leaf. It is almost imperceptible.
Anna turns her hooded head about and scans the crowded and darkening horizon: the brook, the basket, and behind her towards the farm. The trees take on a strange glow in the fading day. She shivers though the sun is still to her back.
She hears it again, something breathes.
Anna takes up a relatively heavy stick that sits not far from her meal. She braces herself at the edge of the brook. Images of a silent fox breaking into the henhouse wash over her pale pate. She swallows hard and tries to speak with authority.
"I am no hen, you clever devil!"
And then the fox shows itself! It skips out from behind some small brush and runs deeper into the forest. She sighs heavily and lets the stick fall off her shoulder. Thinking she has had enough of supping, Anna seeks a place to retire. She hops over the brook and winds her way deeper into the forest. And as the path winds, it also grows thin, like the locks of your hair when you pull them too much.
The path grows faint and she begins to question her poor plans. But suddenly she spots smoke between the trees and begins to follow it's trail to the source, whatever it may be.