Deep in the forest she dreams of rain.
She hears the children coming.
They laugh while walking down the winding trail.
She shakes her head, and her long hair stirs the wind.
They hear her.
They feel her breath.
That breath is air.
The air is life.
She smiles and shakes her head again.
Black walnuts fall before their feet.
“We need your help,“ she says. “My tree needs chocolate to survive. We must get it before it starts to rain.”
“Who are you? “ they ask.
“I am Dryad, this tree’s soul mate. If he dies, so shall I.”
“Well, you’re fine then! We have some chocolate bars right here!”
“It is not your kind of chocolate that will save us. It is something you must help me make.”
“It is made from my hair. Cut each strand in three places gently. Be careful not to break it.”
“But it’s so long and beautiful. Won’t you miss it?”
“The tree and I are a part of each other. Our lives are intertwined. From a small acorn, to a young sprout, to a mighty oak – every tree has a dryad that lives inside it. While he sleeps, she keeps guard and watches over him. They are best friends.”
The children sadly cut her dark locks, as she sighs.
“Now chop them into small pieces and crush them. That is mulch.”
The children prune and chop very carefully making dark rich mulch to feed the tree.
“Mulch is like chocolate for trees.”
The children place the mulch at the base of the tree in a circle, being careful not to cover the roots.
“We are ready for rain and are eternally grateful. Thank you!”
The wind begins to whisper in their ears.
Jewel-like raindrops fall one by one, soon becoming a gentle spring shower.
The tree reaches his branches out to Dryad.
She throws her arms around him.
They hug happily, as they drink in the rainfall.
Revived, the tree springs back to life!
Green leaves appear on the branches.
Flower buds blossom.
Dryad’s hair starts to swirl like ribbons and grows back, long and beautiful just as before.
Joy fills the children’s hearts.
“You saved us and we’ll never forget it,” says Dryad. “Come back if there is anything you need. We will give you air, food and shelter for the rest of your lives.”
Dryad © 2010 Yelena Burnett. All Rights Reserved.