This is part of a paean to the magic of the forest and the hold it has on our imaginations.  But beware the forest-haunting Lombards, who sound like something from the night side of the fairy tale.


‘A kind of spell haunts wooded slopes like these: it drives the intruder blindly uphill, knocks ten years off his age (reducing mine to nine) unlooses a host of immature and atavistic hankerings…  The Goths, emerging from their millions of conifers, would have felt quite at home here for their generations north of the Danube before moving on to Italy and Spain … There would have been no environmental complaint among the forest-haunting Lombards, as they exterminated the Gepids in the undergrowth…’


Source: Patrick Leigh Fermor, Between the Woods and the Water (London: Penguin Books, 1986), p. 179

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