There’s a witch whose job it is to end the world. She carries in her pocket a red string knotted four times. Each knot contains a wicked, powerful wind. The last one she unleashes will be strong enough to end everything.
Countless times grieving gods have come to her, begging her to untie a knot. “Look,” they say, one after another, “at my people, all massacred at the hands of their enemies. How can the world go on after that? Untie one knot and wipe the earth clean.”
She never does. She has the same number of knots in her string she had when the world began. There are times when she wonders if humanity is setting out to see just how terrible we would have to be to get her to let one wind whip around the world.
At those times, you will find her on a spring day, watching a fat and happy baby take its first steps in the soft grass or feeding the ducks or naming the shapes she sees in the clouds. At those times, she asks herself, “Would you never want even this again?” But she’s never had enough of laughing children or soft kittens or wide blue skies.
It’s hard to have hope in this old world. It’s hard to know the things we are capable of and not despair.
But the witch who will end the world still has her string knotted four times.
The end is not near.