Once upon a long time ago, that was so long ago that no one can remember, everyone in the world lived where they lived and never gave a thought, that there might be anywhere else to live, or even anyone living there. This is how it was a long time ago, so long ago that no one remembers
No one ever thought of leaving where they lived. What was the point of leaving where you lived? You lived where you lived. It was your home and that was that.
No one ever thought of going to other places. No one knew for sure that there were other places and what was the point of leaving to go somewhere that might not even be there? How could you be sure that there was anyone or anywhere else out there?
One day, in a small village on the top of a mountain that was so high that the people who lived in the village thought they were living in the sky, a small boy woke from a strange dream.
He had dreamt of other places.
He told his parents about the dream
« It’s just a silly dream, » said his mum
« It’s just a silly dream,’ » said his dad
And with that, they both hopped off to do their daily doings.
Yes, they hopped off, because in the small boy’s village, everyone hopped everywhere on one leg. It was a tradition as old as time itself and the start of time was a long time ago and so no one, except the people who remembered what life had been like before time began could actually remember why everyone hopped everywhere on one leg.
The small boy went to see the oldest man in the village – a crinkly, worn-out old husk of an old man with a long white beard and long straggly hair – exactly like you’d expect crinkly bearded old men to look like.
The boy ventured into the old man’s hut.
« I’ve had a dream, » he announced the boy « I’ve dreamt that there are other places and I want to go and see them. »
The crinkly bearded old man drew a long breath, longer that his long beard that grew so long he could wrap it several times over his shoulders and still have enough left to walk (or hop) on.
« So, you’ve had a dream of other places » croaked the old man.
« Yes Oh Beardy One » – for that was the name which the people of the village used to call the beardy old man, who, was in fact their wizard. »
« I too have had dreams » announced the Beardy One. « I have had dreams of other places where people walk on two or three or four or even five legs. I have had dreams of places that are not unlike our village, but where people are different. »
The boy was lost for words. He almost fell over. He almost stood on two legs.
« Oh Beardy One » he said « Are there places in the world where people use more than one leg? »
« Oh yes my boy » announced the Beardy One.
The boy paused for thought, daring to ask tat question that should never be asked and had, never been asked.
« Please oh Beardy One. Tell me, why do we only walk on one leg? »