The Willow Tree

by Hannah Giladi, age 11
The Willow Tree

“Long ago, there was a tree. A weeping willow tree. And it was just a pretty normal tree. Its leaves turned red, yellow, and brown in the fall; all the leaves fell off and the tree became bare in winter; the leaves bloomed back in springtime; and the tree shone the most bright in summer.”

Part 1:  The Seven Witches

 

Long ago, there was a tree. A weeping willow tree. And it was just a pretty normal tree. Its leaves turned red, yellow, and brown in the fall; all the leaves fell off and the tree became bare in winter; the leaves bloomed back in springtime; and the tree shone the most bright in summer.

But one day, a troop of witches went walking through the woods, all old, and cackling their witchy laughs loudly. They spotted the tree.

“Well, lookie here,” said a witch.

“Looks like a mighty good one, if you ask me,” said another.

“We should do something to it,” said a witch mischievously.

“Maybe put a curse.” A witch rubbed her hands diabolically together.

“Who’s ever heard of a talking tree?” a small, frail witch blurted out.

“I haven’t,” said a rather plump witch.

All the seven witches, sisters in fact, looked at each other and each grinned a horrific smile.

The leader, it seemed, said, “Sisters! Cast the blabber spell!”

Each witch chanted, “Willow! Willow! Turn it into Willow!”

The leader said in a deep voice, “Let this talking tree, amaze and terrify everyone who sees it!”

The witches cheered in agreement and walked on, cackling again.

 

Part 2:  Willow, the Talking Tree Grew

 

“Hi everybody!” I said as a group of tourists were walking towards me. “I’m Willow, and…”

“Aaahhh!” the tourists screamed and ran.

I sighed. Everyone always did that. But I was used to it.  I’m 100 years old, but really I’m seven. I’m seven because I was cursed by witches to talk, but the witches didn’t know that the spell had “living forever” side effects. I don’t know. I woke up one morning and thought to myself, “A brand new day to look sharp.” Then I realized that I said that out loud, and you can imagine my shock. But I’ve had 97 years of experience, so I’m ok now.

Some kids were talking and chatting, and their voices grew louder as they were walking towards me. “Hey, kids!” I shouted.

“Who said that?” asked a heavy boy with a jersey and short hair.

“Me!” I said cheerily. I was glad that none of them had run away. Yet. “I’m Willow,” I continued. “And I’m…”

“It’s that tree!” interrupted a geeky looking boy with glasses. “I’ve read in myths that talking trees can grab you and strangle you till you die!”

“Ah!” said the jersey boy. “Run for your lives!”

The two boys ran, but there was a girl, and she stayed put in her place on the soft grass.  Her name was Lily.

A talking tree? Not likely. But if it is, I don’t believe in those stupid myths. It seems like a nice tree to me. I bet everyone runs away from that tree, and I bet that makes the tree really sad. I should talk to her. Or him?

“Um…hello?” I said nervously.

“Hi!” said the tree. “I don’t know if you heard me before because of those boys, but my name is Willow.”

“Willow?” I repeated. “Cool name.”

“Thank you!” said Willow.

I saw Willow’s branches turn a bit pink. “I’m guessing you’re blushing right now,” I said with a smile.

“Maybe,” said Willow, and her branches turned bright red. After a moment, though, Willow’s branches returned to normal.

“What’s your name?” Willow asked.

“I’m Lily,” I said, “and I have two older brothers. You probably saw them running away.”

“Yeah,” said Willow a little sadly.

“I’m seven,” I said.

“Me too!” interrupted Willow excitedly. “Except I’m really 100,” she said kind of sternly. “What do you mean?” I asked curiously.

 

Part 3:  Willow

 

“I mean,” I said, “Well, long story.”

“Please, can I hear it? I have lots of time,” said Lily hopefully.

“Fine,” I said.

Lily smiled brightly and sat down on the grass, as if she was already expecting a story.

“Long ago, I was a tree. I wasn’t a talking tree. Just a regular tree.”  Lily was listening intently, I could tell that. “I lived a very boring life. I couldn’t talk, and all my thoughts were shared with me, myself, and I,” I continued. “But when I was seven, some witches came along and turned me into a talking tree. One of the words in the spell that they cast was ‘Willow,’ so I guess that they named me that when they cast the spell.”

Lily nodded curiously and frowned. “Why would they name you that?” asked Lily.

“I don’t know,” said Willow thoughtfully. “But anyway, I was thinking something and realized that I had said it out loud! I was so shocked.”

“You must have been,” said Lily kindly.

“Yes,” I said. “But, I thought talking would be awesome! It wasn’t. Every time I talked, whether it was a group of tourists or some kids, they would all run away. And it’s been like that for 97 years.”

Lily looked at Willow sadly but said, “Why 97 years? Why that long?”

“Well, I guess the side effect of the spell was to live forever, but the witches probably didn’t know that.”

“No they probably didn’t,” added Lily.

“Yeah,” I said, “and to this day, when I shout out ‘Hi!’, everyone starts screaming and running away. I bet the witches wanted to make me feel sad.”

“Yeah,” said Lily sadly.

But my face brightened. “I have you, though!” I said cheerily. “You didn’t run away. You were smart and courageous. I don’t think think you believed that boy with the glasses, right?”

“Of course not!” said Lily with a happy smile. “I don’t believe in that kind of stuff anyway.”

“Good. Me neither,” I said.

 

Part 4: Lily

 

As I sat on the soft green grass, looking at the tree, I felt a rush of happiness. I was really glad I could cheer up a tree, and furthermore make a friend. This tree here was a complete miracle, straight out of The Wizard of Oz. I was still really shocked that I was sitting here, talking to a talking tree! I needed to get to know her more.

“What do you like to do?” I asked.
“Well,” said Willow, “nothing really. Standing, maybe?”

Right then and there, I felt so bad for Willow. She was right. That was a stupid question to ask because she really does nothing. Oy! What a life!

“I’d do anything to trade places with you,” I said sadly, but with a smile on my face.

Willow blushed extra extra bright red. “Aw,” said Willow, “I wish.”

Willow and I traded sad looks.

“I have an idea!” I shouted.

“Geez, what’s the hubbub?” said Willow annoyingly.

“I’m gonna get you a new hobby!” I said excitedly.

“A new hobby?” asked Willow, confused. “I don’t have any.”

“I’ll make you a new hobby!” I said happily. I jumped up from my seat and skipped on the grass. “Let’s see…” I said. “Hmmm…what’s there to do in the woods? Oh! You can pick flowers? Try it!”

“Okaaayyy,” said Willow hesitantly.

“There’s a patch of flowers right there.” I pointed to a nearby patch within her reach.

WIllow’s branches started to stretch out to the flowers. I watched in awe. Willow’s vines then grabbed about four flowers and pulled back. Willow smiled. “For you, madame,” she said, holding out the flowers to me.

“Thanks!” I said, taking the flowers and grasping them tightly in my hand.

“I like that hobby!” said Willow. “Let’s do it!”

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