Once it happened that a king out hunting was trapped by a clutch tree and wrapped in its branches. People of all stripes and degree came from miles around to stand and stare at the captured king.
‘The tree’s got ‘im, that’s for sure.’
‘No way to escape the clutch tree, they say.’
A local wizard stepped forth to stand near, but not too near, the king. He said, ‘There be one sliver of hope. If a volunteer were to travel far and pass by the seven serpents on the seven hills to where the red leaf dwells, the red leaf would grant a wish to free the king. Who will go?’
All looked one at the other and around, not saying a word. Seven serpents sang danger in all heads save one.
‘I’ll go,’ said a tiny maid. She seemed far too small for her boots.
After the laughter and snorting had died down, Elspathia, for that was the tiny maid’s name, asked the wizard to point her in the proper direction, and off she marched.
Go ahead and imagine the trials, tribulations, swamps, rocky heights, lizards, thorny mazes, floods, tornadoes, and most especially the serpents. Clothes in tatters, boots punctured by serpent teeth, skin pockled with stings, Elspathia crawled to rest the palm of her hand on the trunk of the red leaf’s tree. The red leaf shuddered in sympathy.
‘Child, what will you?’ said the leaf.
‘Our king is captured by a clutch tree. I would have him released,’ gasped Elspathia.
‘Done,’ said the leaf.
And done it was, and not only that, Elspathia was flown through the sky to return in triumph and live the rest of her days eating all the cake she wanted.