A Tree's Life Story-Part One

Fiction By Erin // 7/7/2009

The air was warm and placid that March morning. I sat on the old live oak tree, swinging my legs whimsically and thinking about what a dull beginning to a story this is. Anyhow, this may go quickly-- but I can guarantee you that this will be more exciting in a few sentences.

Suddenly, I heard a voice. It was hardly above a whisper, but it was deep, majestic. I looked wildly around while the tree branches rustled almost eagerly. "Who--who is it?" I asked, still frantically swinging my head about.

"'Tis I, Elaine," said the voice. It was wild, like all of the animal's voices but together into one.

"Who?" I demanded in a slightly higher voice than usual, beginning to push myself off of the low branch.

"You know me, Elaine. You know me better than anyone does. And I know you."

Now rather disturbed, I ran to the other side of the yard, then stare back at my tree. "I--I'll c-c-call the police!" I yelled in a shrill sort of voice. The voice laughed musically.

"My dear, you were just sitting on me."

I felt my eyes widen to the size of golf balls. "Excuse me," I squeaked.

"Yes, I am your tree. My name is Calais, and I am nine hundred and twenty six years of age. I must tell you of my life, for it is nearing an end. You will be the only one who knows, Elaine. I trust you with my story," the voice said. 

The shock wasn't done setting in yet. "Y-you look h-h-healthy. T-this....Uh.....Erm....," I stuttered stupidly. Cautiously, I stepped towards the tree--Calais, I should say-- and gingerly sat down on his lowest branch once more.

"This can't be right," I said decidedly, closing my eyes as if to shut it all away. "Trees don't talk."

"Elaine," said the mighty, deep voice with a chuckle. "I am right here. I am dying, and I am no ordinary tree. I was planted from a golden seed so many years ago, by another girl--a farmer's girl........"

I couldn't help but be intrigued. I waited for a moment's silence, waiting for what was next. I noticed for the first time that Calais's leaves rustled when he spoke. Don't be stupid, Elaine, I told myself sternly. You're just overheating. 

But the tree continued on.

"Her name was Adikoku. Her father had bought the strangest seeds in the market, and decided that they had spoiled, or so she told me. Adikoku said her father described the man that he had bought my seed from as a 'shady looking character who looked as if he had gone a week's worth of moons without sleep. He had bags like the donkey carried under his eyes, and he was wrinkled and hunched over, looking near the end of his life.'. He gave the seeds to Adikoku's brother, Hallmar, to throw away. Ah, I remember the story so well.... "  

I could have sworn I saw the tree branches lift and fall in a sigh before he continued. 

"Adikoku saw my golden seeds in Hallmar's hand, and instantly knew that these were more valuable than her father and brother imagined. Hallmar 'twas a lazy boy, and did not see it fit to do chores. Adikoku was clever, and realized this. As her brother strode out to throw away the seeds, she offered to throw them out for him, telling him he had more important things to do that such idle, girlish jobs. He agreed to let her throw away the seeds, and ran off to the house. 
Adikoku marched off with the seeds, and planted me way out far in the back. Right here in this spot, which was a hundred acre pasture so long, long ago.

I waited tensely for the next part of his story. I believed him now. If it wasn't the tree who spoke, the murder or stalker or whoever was a bizzarely believable actor. 

"Adikoku planted me far out in the pasture, hidden out of her father's sight. She knew very well that he had no problems with beating girls and women if they did not obey." There was a tone of bitterness in his gravelly, wild voice now.

"W-why? Women probably had more sense than he ever did anyway!" I burst out angrily, flailing my hands in the air with frustration.

"Humans realize that now, little child, but nine hundred and twenty six years ago, things were ever so different,"  said Calais. He smiled (or, at least I think he did. It sounded like it, and his branches moved up a bit.)

"But Adikoku's father was not an unintelligent man. He took notice of how every day, she came out to the pasture. Why, he did not know, but she had been tending to me. I was a rapidly growing treeling back then. She often brought me scraps from the table, or buckets of water to help me remain in good health. Adikoku was a great friend. She told me stories, stories of before I was planted.
Kholou, Adikoku's father, caught Adikoku one evening gathering scraps from the table. She claimed that she was throwing them out, and Kholou accepted this story for several days, until he saw Adikoku sneaking out to the pasture, carrying a bucket of scraps and a bucket of water. Adikoku saw him and was swift to get to me, and she told me that she might not come back the next day.
Adikoku didn't come back the next day. Or the next day. Or the next day. Or even the day after that. I grew very concerned for her safety, for she had told me about the beatings her mother had gotten before she died, and even the beatings that Adikoku herself had gotten for disobeying her father's orders." There was a definite sadness to his voice now.

I found my heart beating, also worrying for poor Adikoku. "W-was she alright?" I asked in a timid whisper.

"No." Calais's voice broke. Tears pricked in the corners of my eyes. "I--I spent weeks waiting. Then I realized that......That Adikoku wasn't coming back."  Tears streamed freely down my cheeks now.

"What did her father do?" I asked sadly.

"I don't think it was Kholou who killed her, although I am sure that his punishment did take a toll on her health," said Calais sadly. "Though it was many months later, when I had lost all of my leaves, I heard the farmers next door talking about a plague that had swept through the town, and had killed a farmer's daughter. I was sad for a long time. When spring came, my leaves didn't grow back as brightly as they usually did. They wilted away sooner than the rest, though the rain was plentiful. I was a dying tree." 

"But you lived! What happened?" I burst, wiping the tears off of my face.

"The same month I heard about the plague, the farmer next door noticed me. He decided that I 'twas a fine tree, despite my wilting leaves, and thought that it 'twas unfit for me to wither away as such. He sent his wife out with a bucket of water each day it wasn't raining to improve my health. I cannot deny that that did help, but it was despair that was killing me. I didn't dare speak to the farmer's wife, in fear that she may also soon die. But I did study her. She wasn't especially pretty, as Adikoku was, but she was kind faced when she looked at me and stroked my branches. Her hands were roughened from all of her washings. I grew affectionate for her, almost as much as I was for Adikoku. We went on in silence for three years, and as my greif lessened, I decided that she wasn't going to die so awfully suddenly as poor young Adikoku.
"Hello, Farmer's Wife. I am Calais, your tree. May I ask what your name is?" I must say she was quite surprised, for she leapt away from me, yelling, splashed the water on my roots, and dropped the heavy metal bucket on her toes.
"There is no need to fear me," I told her. 'You should know that. You have been kind to me for three good years.'
'M-my tree? It cannot be!' she cried.
"But it is, Farmer's Wife. Do you mind telling me what your name is?'
She looked around behind me warily, to see if there was a stranger. When there wasn't one, she said: 'My name is Jeunka.'  Almost overcome with joy, I lifted my branches high into the sky with happiness. Jeunka laughed, and from then on we were very good friends."  

 

Comments

Oh this is so good...will you

Oh this is so good...will you be putting more of it up?

SO...I was just wondering, when you asked to become a monthly writer, did you write somthing entirley new to send to Ben or did you just lick some of your favorite things to send to him. Oh and how exactly did you word it? Just wondering, 'cause I'm thinking about asking. :D Do you think that would be a good idea?

Ariel | Sun, 07/12/2009

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"To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be that have tried it." -- Herman Melville

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If the tree's over 900 years old, is the story set in the Eastern Hemisphere or in a fantasy world?

Julie | Mon, 07/13/2009

Formerly Kestrel

OFG: Yes, I do hope to be

OFG: Yes, I do hope to be posting more soon :-) You should definitely request to be a monthly writer!!! I forget just how I worded it, but I told Ben why I wanted to be a Monthly, and sent in some of my favorite fictional pieces, but you also will want to send in an essay, because Ben asked me to do one. Good luck! And sorry I took so long to reply.

Kestrel: It's set in a fantasy world of sorts. I don't want to be inaccurate.

Erin | Mon, 07/13/2009

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

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