The Catalpa Tree Fairy – Part 1

Tree Fairy A by Yuichi Tanabe
Tree Fairy by Yuichi Tanabe

Naida woke up very excited. It was the day all the new fairies were to be assigned their trees! They had been preparing for this day all winter. Finally the snow had almost completely melted and the sun was rising higher in the sky and warming the earth, preparing it to support growth and new life.

Naida looked for her friend, Jayda. They had been studying all their responsibilities during the cold, dark winter months. Now they were happy in their anticipation of putting all they had learned into practice.

Merida, their leader, arrived at last and all the young fairies quickly gathered around her. “Now, you all remember your responsibilities, I hope. Your first task is to gently encourage your tree to wake up. Don’t push, just let it know that winter is almost over and it is time to awaken.”

The tree fairies all nodded, looking seriously at Merida. They knew this was a vital role that they played in their trees’ cycle of life. A tree that awoke too early was in danger of freezing to death. A tree that slept too long would miss the warmth of spring and not be able to complete its growing cycle before the frosts came back in the late fall. Of course, the fairies were not yet able to decide it was time to wake the trees. That responsibility lay with the elders. But they were the ones that were to carry out the order – how exciting!

Merida continued, “I will take you individually to your assigned tree. Everyone be patient, and wait for your turn. Focus your energy and prepare to be attuned to your tree’s life spirit. Once you’re attuned to your tree, you are connected for the rest of your lives. When your tree’s life is over, your life is over too. So this is a serious day.”

The young fairies looked at each other, the finality of this moment dawning on them. The little trio who were always together – Nagida, Narda and Nanda – began whispering to each other. “What’s the matter?” Merida asked, firmly but kindly, for she was a wise leader and understood that some new fairies found this day very challenging.

Nanda looked up and hesitatingly asked, “Did our trees have fairies last year? I mean, are they new trees so they weren’t around last year to wake up?”

Nagida joined in, “But we thought you told us we are getting big trees, so they must have been woken up last year. What happened to those fairies?”

Merida smiled. “That’s a good question. Does anyone know the answer?”

All the fairies looked around at each other. They thought this question must have been answered sometime in their studies, but they couldn’t remember. Suddenly Naida recalled the day when a special fairy had come to speak to them at their group meeting. “Is it because these trees are ready to have fairies now, but before they were too wild?”

“Well done, Naida! That’s very close,” Merida smiled at her student. “That’s certainly one way that older trees get new fairies. But this is a different situation.”

Then Jayda remembered something. “It’s the Big Ones that are ready. The Big Ones that live with the trees. They are ready for us to help with their trees. Is that it?”

“Good, Jayda, that’s correct. The Big Ones have progressed to a level where we can go and help them. Last year they weren’t ready, they were too wild if you like. They tried to take care of their trees, though, so now they are ready to receive our help. But be careful, the Big Ones don’t understand about fairies yet, and we don’t know how they will behave if they find out we’re there. Don’t be afraid, just stay out of sight when they come around.”

All the fairies were fluttering around now in excitement, mixed with a certain amount of fear at the mention of the Big Ones. “Big Ones can’t fly, can they? So we’re safe if we go high up in our trees?” Zaida suggested.

“That’s right,” Merida agreed. They can’t fly. But some of them will try to climb your tree, especially if it has strong branches. The young Big Ones enjoy climbing, but even they can’t go to the top!”

“So there are a group of Big Ones that live beside the trees that our group of fairies will take care of?” Danida asked. “I thought tree fairies got assigned to trees that are far away from where the Big Ones live.”

“Yes, Danida, usually the Big Ones are far away. Often a whole group of trees, that’s called a forest, grow well together with the animals that live there and we are able to go and help them. In those cases the fairies usually don’t meet any Big Ones.”

“So, we’re a special group? Maybe I’d like to be in a group that goes to a forest. I’m not sure I want to be around the Big Ones,” little Narida was shaking a bit as she said this.

Merida looked at her kindly. “Oh Narida, you’re trembling! Don’t worry dear, I know you’ll love your tree! And don’t be afraid. You will always come home here to sleep every night, and any time if you feel frightened you can come here. And I’ll be around to help you.”

Merida stood up and addressed her little students. “Fairies, you are a special group. You are chosen to take care of these trees. The spirits of the trees are waiting for you. Don’t disappoint them!”

The ten little fairies stood up and made a line. “We’re ready, Merida!” they chorused. “Bring us to our trees!”

The fairies were taken one by one to their trees. First to go was Jayda, who turned to look bravely at the others as she prepared to follow Merida. “Good luck!” called Naida to her friend as she flew off.

Merida quickly returned for the next fairy, and Zaida stepped forward. “I’m ready.”

The others followed in quick succession, Danida, then the trio of Nagida, Narda and Nanda who tried to go as a group but Merida scolded them and told them they would see each other soon enough. Then it was Talida, and then Sanda, leaving only Naida and little Narida.

“Go next, Narida,” said Naida, “you’ll be fine.”

“And you’ll be fine waiting, won’t you?” Narida replied.

“Yes, my turn will come very soon. And we’ll all be together again tonight, to share about our trees!”

Still, Naida was trembling almost as much as Narida by the time Merida came back for her. “You’re the last aren’t you?” Merida asked her when she came back. “Come on then.”

They flew quickly across a stream up a hill to where Naida could see a small building. Everything was still bare, dark and cold looking, as if expecting the winter snow to return at any moment. Most of the trees that were near the building looked quite dead, but Naida knew they were only sleeping. Or at least she hoped so!

“Now remember the way. You should come back when it starts to get dark. There’s no need to stay overnight.” Merida was explaining the plan to her. “This is your tree, Naida. Come and hold its trunk here.”

Naida looked at the tree and shivered. It seemed so big, and so dead looking.

“Come on, don’t be afraid. I’m going to attune you to your tree.” Merida put her hands over Naida’s and began the process. Naida felt a rush of energy coming through her, not just her hands but her whole being. It was different from the feeling of the small plants that they had touched during their training. This was a strong, deep and powerful energy. Naida felt the energy of the tree touching her own spirit, and binding them together.

“This is now your tree, Naida. It is a Catalpa tree. Stay with it now and begin the awakening process.” And Merida flew away, leaving Naida still holding onto the trunk of her tree.

Naida slowly took her hands from the trunk and looked up at her tree. It was rather a strange shape. The branches weren’t very straight; especially the smaller ones where she hoped the buds would soon form. But there were plenty of branches and she soon began to enjoy herself flying around and landing on different spots. The top of the tree was quite high and she could see across the building to where the stream was, and her home.

Wondering how her friends were doing, Naida looked across to the other trees, but they were too far away to see any signs of life. “Right, all our trees are still sleeping, there’s nothing to see yet. I should tell my tree it’s time to start waking up!”

Remembering the lessons they had been given, Naida returned to a central place on the trunk of her tree and placed her hands on the bark again. Breathing deeply she began to communicate with the tree, sharing her energy and letting the tree know it was safe to awaken and start to grow again. After a while she let go. Now it was time to fly to the top and begin the process of warming the twigs and branches and energizing the pre-buds that would become leaves and flowers.

Naida was only able to work on a small portion of the branches before she noticed that the light was changing. The sun was getting lower in the sky and she knew it was time to stop. She went back to her place on the trunk to say goodbye to her tree. “I’ll be back
tomorrow,” she whispered. “I hope you can start to wake up!”

Copyright © Jennifer P. Tanabe, 2015

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