The child barely slept. Whenever it fell asleep, strange creatures would appear under its eyelids. When it was a little older, they asked what dream kept waking it, but the child shook its head. “No, I don’t know what dream means,” it said. The child was wise. It knew that dreams were dangerous and that it was better not to admit to having them. It remembered very well how the old woman had been ordered to stand on a stone, and all the village had stood around, and they sang and roared and stamped their feet for so long that they drove all the dreams out of the woman and the woman died the next day. The child didn’t want its dreams to be driven out.
Recently though, the silence of the night had increasingly been interrupted by its screams, so some had begun to guess the truth. “Hey, you, tell us what you were dreaming about that made you scream like that,” the other kids shouted. The child knew that everything would soon come out, it was just a matter of time. It caught Father casting cold, grim stares in its direction, and it no longer clung to Father’s legs like before, like the rest of its siblings. But Father pretended he wasn’t looking. Father was also keen to keep the truth hidden, because it would bring shame on the whole family. There’s no telling how it would have ended if Mother hadn’t come up with an idea.
“I know where the Ginkgo grows. The real one, the first one to be called ‘ginkgo’. On a green hill beyond the rusty mountains. A teacher used to live there. A long time ago, my grandfather’s brother was taken there, before my grandfather and his brother had even been named. My grandfather told me his brother was alive, although he never saw him again. The brothers came from the same egg, so one would surely have known if something ha