In "By the Waters of Babylon" who are the forest people that John is so afraid of?
The world that John lives in is much different from our modern civilisation; in fact, it resembles ancient tribal communities much more, where people grouped together in families, and grew from there, forming tribes. Maybe compare it to Native American tribes, like the Cherokee and Sioux. And, many Native American tribes fought with each other; they were enemies fighting for resources, territory, and over cultural differences and blood feuds.
So, in John's society, the "Forest People" are just another tribe, who emphasize...
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they are a different tribe