Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Trees (12/05/05)
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Faith, an oak tree complains, “I’ve lived in this town for one hundred and
sixty-eight years and I’ve never been a part of Christmas.”
“Oh,” Charity, a redbud tree asks, “Why? Why would you want anything to do with Christmas?”
“Why?” the oak asks then goes on to explain, “Because all of my life I’ve seen the
beauty of the season and I want to be a part of it. Just once, I want to be beautiful
The redbud lifts her branches, “you are beautiful all the time.”
“No, no, I am not!” Faith argues.
“You are too!”
“But I’m not special.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m like all the old trees, big and plain.”
Charity has a thought, “you want to be decorated,” she asks.
“Yes,” Faith eagerly agrees, “I want to look like you when you are lit up.”
“But you are too tall,” Charity tells the oak tree, “for the workers to hang lights
“I know you’re right,” Faith sadly replies.
“I know I’m right,” Charity snaps, “You’ll see; Christmas will soon come and
“I know,” Faith concedes. She watches the sun disappear behind snow clouds.
Her thought, “There’ll be snow for Christmas for sure.”
Then Faith hears a lady exclaim, “Look! Look at the mistletoe!”
Faith looks down and sees a pretty woman pointing up at her.
The old tree has not realized through the summer and autumn the birds cleaned their bills by rubbing them against the branches of her tree. They had cleaned off sticky berry seeds. The seeds then sent out roots that penetrated into the tree. The
parasitic plant takes nutrients from the oak tree. It is mistletoe. It hangs in large
clusters from Faith’s limbs.
“This is the most beautiful tree in town,” a man admires Faith.
“Someone call the paper,” a second man demands, “we need a picture of this tree
in our newspaper.” And it is.
“The town’s citizens read about the old oak tree’s mistletoe. They come to see.
Some walk. Some drive their cars. The people stop and look. “It’s beautiful,”
“I never knew I was decorated,” the oak tree says to the redbud.
“I didn’t know that mistletoe made a tree so valuable.” Charity is impressed.
“The newspaper said that mistletoe has magical tradition; that it is the “soul” of
an oak tree,” a young girl tells her friends.
An old man tells a crowd, “mistel” is the Anglo-Saxon word for “dung,” and
“tan” is the word for “twig.” Mistletoe means “dung-on-the-twig.”
“Sounds beautiful,” the oak tree waves her limbs. The mistletoe gently flows
through the cold air.
“Faith, you are famous,” said Charity. The redbud tree is happy for her friend.
“And I’m happy,” Faith assures Charity. She feels wet snowflakes softly cover her and her soul. Happiness warms her heart.
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