When people began leaving The Forest Hymn, the animals walked out of the woods and put on their clothes. They read books, learned to talk, used tools they found in the crumbling workshops. Animal folk moved into the old houses and beat the dust from the drapes, repaired the fences and they made themselves a comfortable new lot in life. When the people had all but vanished, the animal folk became the new people. Rather, the animals began to be what they think people are like.
These days, the animal folk are the most plentiful of the forest dwellers; they're a pleasant crowd and most of them are content to lead simple lives. It's rare for animal folk to travel to terribly far from the village they've always lived in. They've rebuilt old villages and moved in their cousins and sisters and they've elected mayors and they teach the young ones how to read, which fork to use for salad and how to properly wear a napkin on the tops of heads. You could describe the animal folks as pretending to be people, but they do fine job of it.
Not all animal folks are content to play house and raise vegetables before it gets too cold. These forest dwellers have a knack for getting into trouble; they excel at the finder arts of burglary and confidence games, skullduggery and mischief. Even the most well-meaning animal folk are prone to throwing their inhibitions into wind to get what they want.
They often bicker over the smallest details in an arrangement, even if they are an agreement with one another.
Most make terrible artisans and have little eye for craft. It is not uncommon to see village markets full of poorly made furniture, candles, and toys.
Animal folk are fond of business and commerce; they decide the price of things not by how well it's made or how rare it may be, but how well the seller haggles with the buyer.
Very few animal folk care to investigate the strange, preferring to avoid picnicking in the woods and instead settling down with friends and family. They raise a weary eye to travelers.
Animal folk of the bird variety do not fly, and no one is sure why.
Compared to people, animal folks age very swiftly. An animal folk of fifty is nearly the same as a person anywhere between sixty-five and one hundred years old.
Younger animal folk tend to have short, simple names like Fern, Petal, Bip, Velvet, Match, Oli, Bean, Flower, Zip, Kel, Sara, Jo, Liz, Leaf, Ruth, Red, Ada, Nib. Older animal folk who've led storied lives often go by a title rather than their name: Colonel Bear, Ms. Grackle, Constable Hen, or Sir Goat. These titles don't often match the animal folk's life.