The next morning the sun was already starting to shine as the fairies prepared themselves for the day. Narida was very excited, fluttering around everywhere and getting in the other fairies’ way. “Calm down, Narida!” Merida said sternly. “We’re going to see your tree, and we need you to focus and lead the way. Is everyone ready?”
With a chorus of assent the group took off following Narida. As she had said, her tree was further away than the others, although it still didn’t take long to reach it. “Look, my Aspen tree!” Narida said proudly as it came into view.
The fairies flew up to the tree which was standing by itself on a little mound. It had many of the flat leaves like the one Narida had brought. As they gathered around to admire it, a little breeze picked up and all the leaves started trembling. “Listen, can you hear my tree talking!” Narida called out in excitement.
“Goodness, it does sound like its whispering!” Naida was excited too as the leaves continued fluttering the breeze.
“Yes, I hear it!” Jayda and Zaida said together, and the other fairies nodded in agreement. Even Nagida and her friends were laughing and agreeing that Narida’s tree was “talking”!
Merida was smiling. “Now, Narida, what is your tree called again?”
“It’s an Aspen tree, Merida,” Narida replied puzzled. “I told everyone that already.”
“Yes, but what kind of Aspen?”
“Oh right, it’s the Quaking Aspen! Because the leaves quake and shake, and that makes the rustling noise that sounds like it’s talking. Oh what a perfect tree for me! I’m always shaking and quaking too!”
Everyone laughed so loudly that Narida became anxious that the Big Ones would hear them. “Oh no, don’t laugh too much, I’m shaking more than the leaves on my tree!” she said.
Then it was time for everyone to disperse and take care of their trees. “Thank you, Narida, for showing us you Quaking Aspen,” the other fairies said as they flew away.
Naida spent the day with her tree, trying to encourage it to grow buds before everyone visited tomorrow. But she wasn’t really expecting much to happen. She had resigned herself to showing the others her sleeping tree.
That evening, after they had all thanked Narida again for showing them her “talking tree,” Merida suggested they sing some songs. They spent a happy time singing and laughing together, and Naida was able to relax and almost forget that they would all come to her tree tomorrow.
When she awoke the next morning, though, she remembered and gave a big sigh. “What’s wrong, Naida?” Jayda asked. “You’re not worried about us visiting your tree are you?”
Naida nodded glumly. “I wish it had woken up like all the other trees.”
Jayda gave her a hug. “Don’t worry. It will probably wake up when all of us arrive – hard to sleep with all the noise we make!”
When they all reached Naida’s tree, however, it was still asleep. She flew over to it and faced the others. “See, my tree is still sleeping. I’ve been encouraging it to wake up every day, but there’s not even a bud yet.” She looked up at its branches. “But it’s got lots of branches so I’m sure it can have lots of leaves and flowers when it does wake up!”
“What’s your tree called, Naida?” Merida asked.
“Oh yes, it’s a Catalpa tree.”
“A cat-what tree?” Narida asked looking puzzled.
“A catapult tree?” Narda questioned. And Nagida laughed.
“Cat-alpa” replied Naida. “I’d never heard of it either!”
“Why does it have black on these branches?” Nanda asked.
“Hmm, looks dead, doesn’t it,” Nagida responded before Naida had a chance.
“Well, some of its branches might have died,” Zaida said. “My Oak tree has some branches that don’t have any leaves. Doesn’t your Maple tree?”
“Not like this!” Nagida responded loudly. “No, this tree looks dead!”
“No, no, it’s not dead,” Naida defended her tree. “I can feel its energy, it just isn’t ready to wake up yet.”
“I think Naida killed it!” Nagida said, and Narda and Nanda nodded. “Yes, Naida, you must have done something wrong and killed your tree!”
The other fairies looked worried and turned to Merida. “Is Naida’s tree dead?”
Merida looked at the group. “Now, don’t assume this tree is dead. Have any of you seen a Catalpa tree? Do you know what it looks like before it wakes up?”
Naida was starting to cry. “You shouldn’t have come. My tree isn’t ready. Why don’t you all just go away and leave me with my tree!”
“With her dead tree!” Nagida said in a whisper that was loud enough for everyone to hear. Her friends chuckled and got ready to leave.
“Yes, everyone, go to your trees. You all have work to do.” Merida told them.
When they had all gone she looked at Naida. “I’m sorry about that. Don’t worry, your tree will be fine. Stay and take care of it now.”
And Naida was left alone with her tree. “Not dead, not dead!” she said determinedly. But she felt a nagging doubt in the pit of her stomach, and she had little energy to share with her tree for the rest of the day.
Copyright © Jennifer P. Tanabe, 2015