Mr Old Tree by Annie Frame.
Once upon a time there was a small island and it was called Happy Island. On this lovely island everyone was happy and contented. In the middle of this merry place stood a very old oak tree, his name was whispered each and every day by the young inhabitants and the name that left them was ‘Mr Old Tree.’ The wooden giant was a familiar sight to all who lived there and his mighty roots crept deep in the soil with an invisible gift.
One dark, cold night a thick fog greedily draped itself over the island, covering it from head to toe. Nobody slept well, if at all, especially two little girls who were called Elsie and Jane. In the morning nobody seemed as happy, Elsie’s mum was moaning about the weather and lack of money, her dad was grumpy and complaining about going to work. Elsie left the house for school and met Jane half way there.
The two little girls chatted about the horrible night and as the day continued they noticed that everyone was miserable about one thing or another. Elsie turned to her friend and asked, “How come we are not affected by this misery?” The two little girls sat together and compared their dreary night. It turned out that both had stayed awake and looked out of their bedroom windows.
Nothing could be seen as the horrid fog engulfed the island. That is, nothing, except for Mr Old Tree who stood tall and proud with light shining from his trunk, and leaves twinkling like silver dollars. He shone brightly all night long. Elsie and Jane were delighted and knew Mr Old Tree would help them, but only if they asked and believed in him.
Later that day the two friends set off to visit Mr Old Tree. It was sunny, yet the wind kept nipping them. Once they approached the grand old giant, the wind settled to a gentle breeze, while the sun shone. As the little girls looked up at the mighty old tree, a gentle face began to appear in the wooden trunk. Then a voice whispered, “Hello girls, I’m glad that you’ve come to see me.”
Just then a tiny figure with huge pointed ears appeared, “Hi there! My names Jaki and I’m a woodland elf.” Then he turned away and bellowed loudly, “You can come out now!” Right in front of Elsie and Jane’s eyes, paraded a number of little magic folk, two more elves, three pixies and five fairies.
There was no fear at all, in fact Elsie and Jane felt the happiest they had felt all day! Mr Old Tree gently scooped them up, nursed them tenderly in his long branches and told them stories. He explained how grown ups didn’t believe in magical things and often seemed to enjoy being miserable and to some it was easier than being happy.
“But that is silly!” exclaimed Elsie then pleaded, “Please make my mum and dad happy again Mr Old Tree.” The wise old tree replied, “Now that is easy.” And his old wooden mask creaked with his smile as the elves, pixies and Fairy’s sang “Easy Peasy!” Mr Old Tree explained that the island had always been Happy Island because every morning and every night he sent love to every one and every thing on the island.
“Love makes the world go round!” trilled the fairies. “Your thoughts have wings and will fly wherever you send them.” said Mr Old Tree. He gave Elsie and Jane a bunch of blossom from his well covered branches and gently placed them back onto the grass. Both little girls hugged him and knew the visit would change their whole lives. They knew that their days would be full of rainbows and they would make sure others would share in those rainbows.
Annie Frame copyright 2005.