The following tale was told to me one dark, Halloween night, deep in the warehouse of I-MED Pharma and is written here in almost the exact words in which I heard it. The storyteller claimed to have found the legend among some old papers, buried deep among the shipping boxes.
In the heart of a spacious bay along the Lacrimal River, at the point of its broadest expansion, there lies a small market town or rural port, which by some is called Waterworks, but is more generally known by the name of Tear Town. Not far from this village, deep in a secluded glen, there is one of the most exceptional places in the whole world, where a perfect arrangement of the three natural layers of water, oil, and mucin, exist as a film. The film glides through this little hollow with a calming regularity and there are rarely any interruptions that break in on its uniform tranquility.
From the hydrating nature of the place, and the peculiar tearing characteristic of its inhabitants, this cloistered hollow has long been known by the name of WEEPING VALLEY.
Naturally in a sheltered position, a drowsy, dark influence seems to hang over this land and to permeate through the very atmosphere. Some say that the place was bewitched by MGD during the early days of the settlement, and the entrancement has lasted throughout the years. Others, that the mite Demodex, a creature of the land but problematic when overabundant, inflamed everything it touched before being discovered and properly managed back to natural numbers by the Master ECP. Certainly, the place still lives under the sway of some bizarre power that holds a kind of control over the good people, causing them to shy away from light, feel fatigued and heavy-eyed, and experience constant tearing. They are given to try all kinds of astonishing cures and behaviours to help cope with the nightmare under which they are living.
But the dominant spirit that haunts this region, the commander-in-chief of all the powers that plague the valley, is a ghostly apparition, a looming and indefinite figure, without form or shape. It is said by some to be the ghost of an OSD trooper, a soldier who fought in countless battles in the Hydration War, and he can be seen by the country folk rushing through the hollow in the gloom of the night and even throughout the day. His haunts in this valley are chronic, but his main quest is the peculiar need to disrupt the perfect film that lies in their land.
Such is the presence of this legendary spectre, which has been told through many a wild story, that he is known far and wide by the name of the Dry Eye of Weeping Valley.
At one point in this valley’s history, there lived an individual by the name of I-DEFENCE,®, an innovative, stable, and effective being, who moved to Weeping Valley from I-MED Pharma, an establishment which sends forth many frontier pioneers to fulfill their society’s noble mission.
Being of I-MED Pharma stock, I-DEFENCE® was unique, with inherent viscous properties, and though long and lanky in build and appearance, was a superior protector, delivering moisture and hydration justly, and was well-tolerated by all the inhabitants in the valley. As he depended upon their good nature for his livelihood and home, he had various ways of making himself both useful and agreeable, assisting in relieving some of the good peoples’ various peculiarities, such as soothing their irritation and soreness, seemingly a direct result of the valley’s witching air.
I-DEFENCE® had a particular fondness for the three-layered film that flowed throughout the valley, prolonging his contact time with this tranquil brook, feeling an irresistible draw and need to act as a barrier against any possible moisture loss. He wanted, above all else, to drive away the evil spectre that chronically disrupted its perfect tranquility.
While I-DEFENCE® knew he could not take on this spectral goblin in open warfare, as Dry Eye was a shadowy devil with many factors to feed his power, therefore, the clever I-DEFENCE® played to his strengths. He planned his protection quietly, consistently guarding the three-layered film every night, to prevent Dry Eye from reaching this natural wonder.
But the shadowy Dry Eye, who had been heard several times of late patrolling the valley, testing I-DEFENCE®’s determination, would not leave this hydrated hollow without one last stand.
One dark night, when even the stars were hidden, I-DEFENCE® had never felt so lonely and dismal in his solitary watch, and all the stories of the valley’s original bewitchment now came to his mind. As he ran through his knowledge of the supernatural, in the distance, he thought he saw something large, hanging in the air, a sort of abnormality or Dysfunction, blocking the inlets that led into his beloved three-layer brook. He paused but, after looking more closely, realized it was only the dense gathering of fog. Suddenly he heard frantic clicking – he began to shake and tremble as he remembered the frightful, many-legged Demodex: but it was only the sound of the wild wind knocking together the tall reeds that surrounded the valley. Even as he breathed a sigh of relief, new perils lay before him.
In the dark shadow of the reeds, on the very edge of the brook, I-DEFENCE® saw something huge, distorted, and towering. Still and shapeless, this gigantic monster, darker than the gloomy night, stood in persistent silence, an unshakable obstacle both mysterious and appalling. I-DEFENCE® was horror-struck, and his terror turned to desperation as he realized he must protect the film at all costs. Spreading his arms wide, he formed a barrier, and he thought, “if I stand my ground, the film will be saved.” Just then he saw the evil spectre ready himself, and like a whirlwind, hurled his dark mass towards the film, encountering I-DEFENCE® with a tremendous crash.
The next morning, the inhabitants awoke and wondered about the fate of brave I-DEFENCE®. They looked through his home but there was no sign. A search-party was formed, and after investigation, they came upon his traces. At the edge of the brook, in a peaceful state, sat I-DEFENCE®, and behind him the three-layered brook was untouched, perfectly uniform in calm tranquility. What’s more, the strange oddities that plagued the inhabitants had vanished, overnight.
While the mysterious event caused much speculation, the certain conclusion is that I-DEFENCE® defeated Dry Eye that night, and whatever bewitchment held the hollow entranced also disappeared. However, the old country gossips, the best judges in these supernatural matters, maintain that Dry Eye will always look for a way back to the hollow, and so I-DEFENCE® can still be seen, sitting by the film every night-time, protecting the peaceful solitude of Weeping Valley.
After first hearing the preceding tale, I had my doubts as to its authenticity, as the story seemed a little extravagant. What, too, was the moral, what did it attempt to prove? The storyteller, who seemed to have grasped the point better than I, observed that the story was intended most logically to prove – “That through consistent management with high-quality products, under the supervision of an eye care professional or dry eye clinic, discomforting dry eye symptoms can be overcome.”
Halloween is the perfect time for a dry eye-focused retelling of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, but despite the fantastical elements of the story, dry eye disease poses a real concern for ocular health and comfort.