The Taking Tree

Once, there was a tree and a boy. Most trees are rather indifferent to the ways of humans, but this one was different. She felt a connection to the boy and fostered a friendship. His youth was spent, as it often is, in play. But as expected, the boy soon began to want more.

The tree gave of her seeds, so the boy could make his way in the world of man. Winters and Summers went by and the man wanted a house in which to be married. The tree’s branches fell to that desire and the man entered the world of woman. She did not want to give up her limbs, for though trees feel pain differently than humans, they feel it much longer. Their wounds never truly healing, scarring over to ache with the seasons’ turns.

So it was almost a relief when the man visited her again, bereft of family and asked for a way to leave behind their memory and the memory of the plague year. That is how the tree was torn in two, her trunk a boat, her roots suckling at the earth as she awaited his return.

Eventually, by his reckoning, he did return. Time is, of course, different for trees, and her wait did not feel overly long. Always helpful, she offered him her stump, and he rested. However, she’d not been idle during his travels. Energy flowing from land and water, stored for years, surged from the stump into the elderly man. For a brief time, he felt rejuvenated, young again, before his mind became lost.

Casting her old body aside, the tree – finally in the form of man – set off from her hill to journey the land. She eventually reached a path and, looking around, decided that yes, this was a good place. This was a place that children would play. This was a place where she might find another. Reaching her body’s arms to the sky and digging her body’s toes into the dirt, she took root. Time slowed as she sipped at the water and basked in the sun.


And the blood oak awaited her next victim.