In fear, the families fled from the paths into the darkest lands of their despair. When the darkness changed to gray, they returned to the world with new hope.
There is a person who has a well-known reputation, probably involving something illegal. But this person is either very clever and crafty, or really like his or her privacy, for no one knows who this person actually is. As an added twist, perhaps this person is of an age that would noramlly be wildly inappropriate (say, a child is a much-feared bandit) or maybe not the expected gender or even race.