Just as Merida had promised, in the morning all the fairies flew together to visit Jayda’s tree. Her Pine tree had a tall, straight trunk that seemed to reach right up into the sky. There were lots of big branches, each coming from the main trunk. Smaller branches and twigs covered with the sharp green needles lined each branch, and the fairies delighted in flying around and catching hold of the needles. They were careful, though, not to break them off, aware that the tree was a living being and that each green needle was an important part of it.
Soon it was time to say goodbye to Jayda and to go and take care of their own trees. Naida waved to her friend and flew off happily to find her tree. She was thinking how much fun this was, especially now there was a tree that already had its own green leaves; well, still had last year’s leaves she corrected herself. “In any case, it really looks like it’s alive. I hope my tree wakes up and looks alive soon!”
To her disappointment, Naida’s tree looked just as dead as it had the day before. Even though she hunted around all its branches she found no signs of life. Sighing, she realized she should just go to work and send positive “wake up” messages to the tree. Maybe then she would be able to find its first buds.
Before she found anything that looked even remotely like it would become a leaf, the sun was getting ready to set and Naida had to return home. As she flew back she wondered if maybe no-one else had leaves on their trees yet either, so they would just eat dinner and maybe sing some songs together. “That would be nice!” she thought.
The fairies all arrived home at almost the same time and it seemed they were all shaking their heads and saying “no leaves yet!” to each other. Then Danida came in carrying something. Merida went over to see her and nodded happily when she saw what she had brought. Jayda turned to Naida and said, “It looks like we’ll have another ‘show and tell’ tonight! I wonder what Danida has brought.”
They all quickly prepared the dinner and waited excitedly for Merida to start. “Let’s all begin our meal, and then Danida has something to show us.”
As soon as everyone had finished eating Danida brought out her item. The fairies leaned forward trying to figure out what it was. “It’s not a leaf, is it?” they asked each other.
“Go ahead, Danida,” Merida announced. “Tell everyone what you discovered about your tree.”
“Okay, well my tree doesn’t have any leaves yet,” Danida began. “But it has this!” and she held up a piece of white paper-like material. “This covers the trunk of my tree. It’s white, and so pretty, isn’t it? And it looks kind of like paper. It even peels off really easily like rolls of paper! I think it’s such a fun tree!” and Danida laughed a bit self-consciously. “Don’t you all love it?” and she passed the piece of ‘paper’ around the circle.
“So, is your tree called the White Paper tree, or what?” Sanda asked.
“Um, not exactly,” Danida responded. “Merida told me it’s a Birch tree, and because it has white bark its name is the White Birch tree. But because the bark looks like paper, it can be called the Paper Birch too. So maybe I’ll call it the White Paper Birch!”
“I like that,” said Zaida as she studied the bark. “The White Paper Birch tree.”
“Can we visit Danida’s White Paper Birch tree tomorrow?” Jayda asked, and the little trio of Nagida, Narda and Nanda all joined in with a chorus of “Yes please!”
“That’s a good idea,” Merida agreed. “Any time someone has something interesting to show from her tree we can all go and visit the next morning. Now, does anyone have anything else to share, or are you all ready for bed?”
Everyone looked around, but no one seemed to be ready to volunteer to say anything. In fact, little Narida was already yawning and a couple of the others looked quite tired.
“Bed it is, then,” Merida said. “But remember to clean up first!”
The next morning they enjoyed their visit to Danida’s tree. As they approached it was easy to see the tree with its white trunk. And when they got closer all the fairies were impressed by how the bark looked just like paper peeling off in a roll from the trunk. “Isn’t mine such a cool tree?” Danida exclaimed proudly as she showed off her tree.
Merida was smiling at how much Danida was enjoying her tree. “Alright, everyone. Thank you Danida for showing us your wonderful tree. Now it’s time to go to work.”
But before the fairies could leave, little Narida raised her hand. “Merida,” she said rather timidly, her voice shaking a little. “Merida, my tree has white on its trunk too, but it doesn’t look like this. The white is kind of powdery, and it comes off when I touch it. And there are some big black marks too. Do you, um, do you think my tree might be sick?”
Merida had turned to look at Narida, and she said gently, “No, Narida, you have a different kind of tree. The white powder is normal, and yes it will come off easily. It’s nothing to worry about. And the black marks, are they like upside down triangles, on the lower part of the trunk?”
“Yes, I think so.”
“Well, those are places where a branch used to be. The lower branches of your tree do tend to fall off leaving those black triangles behind. It’s all normal for your tree.”
“Oh, thank you Merida. I was worried for a moment, especially after seeing Danida’s tree!”
“Well, that’s a lesson for you all. Don’t compare your trees. What is normal for one may not be healthy for a different tree. Now it’s time for everyone to go and take care of their own trees. We can visit Narida’s tree another day!” Merida clapped her hands and all the fairies quickly flew off to their own trees.
The day passed quickly for Naida although once again she found no signs of life on her tree. “Not to worry,” she thought. “It’s just not ready to wake up yet. In any case, I haven’t visited all the places where the leaves should come. I need more time!” She flew home at dusk in quite a happy mood.
No one had brought anything from their tree so after dinner Merida asked if anyone wanted to say anything about their tree. Naida raised her hand a bit hesitantly. “Go ahead, Naida,” Merida encouraged her. “Well, I realized that I hadn’t visited all the places where the leaf buds will be, so maybe my tree shouldn’t wake up yet? I mean, what happens if the tree wakes up and not all the buds have been warmed up?”
“That’s a good question, Naida. I can see you’re concerned about your tree. That’s good.” Merida looked around. “Does anyone have an answer?”
“Well,” Zaida said slowly, “I guess if the buds haven’t been warmed up and the tree wakes up it would start having leaves at the warmed places and then get more leaves as we warmed up the rest. But it’s probably good not to take too long to finish the job, or you’d have half a tree with leaves and the other half still bare!”
“Oh, that sounds bad. I hope I can finish warming all my buds in time. I don’t want leaves on only half my tree!” Narida said looking quite worried.
“In my case you wouldn’t notice much,” said Jayda with a laugh. “I’ve got pine needles everywhere already!”
Everyone joined in laughing with Jayda about her Pine tree, even Merida. Then she said, “Yes, that’s right. But don’t worry everyone; your trees know how to wake up. They will make their leaves and flowers when the time is right as long as you gave the tree plenty of good energy. Now, how about a song before we go to bed? Let’s sing something that will make us all happy and ready to give good energy to our trees tomorrow!”
They sang several songs before Merida clapped her hands and said it was time to say goodnight. “That was fun, wasn’t it?” Jayda said to Naida as they headed for bed. “Yes, I was thinking yesterday maybe we could sing songs after dinner, so I’m glad we got to do that tonight.”
Copyright © Jennifer P. Tanabe, 2015