The Writers Voice
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M. James Lloyd
There was once
a forest in which a young squirrel lived. He moved
from place to place and dug holes to store his
rich supply of walnuts. One such place was under a
large oak tree. He dug urgently, knowing that
winter was fast
arriving. While the squirrel dug, the Oak Tree
watched complacently. For him, there were no times
of urgency, only
the slow and progressive change of the seasons.
Soon, the squirrel was finished with his work, and
Winter passed, and then spring and summer, but the
squirrel didn’t return. Then another winter, and
the squirrel didn’t return. The Oak Tree laughed to
himself every time he thought of the little rodent
digging in the dirt (there isn’t much else for a
tree to do). As spring came, he noticed that there
small tree growing where the squirrel had been, but
such a small tree was no concern of his. There
were thousands of saplings like this.
And so five whole years passed with the little
Walnut Tree growing under the Oak Tree. The Oak
had begun to grow worried that maybe this one was
not going away.
“Walnut Tree,” he demanded one day in the low roar
that trees often use when they speak to one
another, “why do you grow under me?”
“What do you mean?” Walnut Tree replied innocently.
“You know that no other Walnuts grow here, so why
“Well, I was planted here, my friend, I had no
choice,” Walnut Tree replied timidly.
“Nonsense! You are a liar, Walnut Tree. You have
encroached on my land,” Oak Tree shouted in
anger at the startled little tree.
“I’m sorry, my friend, there is nothing that I can
With that Oak Tree decided that he had had enough.
And as winter approached he decided that next
spring he would ruin the little tree. All winter he
developed the plan. He would stretch out his
and create such a massive canopy that Walnut Tree
couldn’t possibly get any sunlight. He laughed to
himself as he turned it over in his mind endlessly.
Spring came early that year, and Oak Tree quickly
put his plan into action. He stretched out as far
as he could, grew the biggest leaves, and desperately
sought to block out the sun for the poor little
Walnut Tree, but it didn’t have any effect, Oak
waited impatiently for him to die, but he only grew
stronger. Furious, Oak Tree demanded an
“I’m sorry, but I don’t want to die, my friend,”
the Walnut Tree explained timidly.
Soon, it was winter again. Oak Tree glared at the
little walnut tree with a scorn like none he had
known before. “How
can I kill him?” he asked himself. A thousand ideas
passed over his mind, only to be discarded on some
Oak Tree was thoroughly despondent. Then, suddenly,
in a rare moment of brilliance, the solution dawned
He would drop a branch and crush the Walnut Tree.
He was delirious with excitement as the next spring
Again the spring arrived early, and Oak Tree
immediately put his plan into action. He picked a
that hung directly over his foe, and let it fall.
Things looked hopeful until suddenly the wind
and blew it off course. The errant branch fell
harmlessly to the ground a few feet from Walnut
Oak Tree’s frustration knew no limits. He was now
sure that some evil spirit protected Walnut Tree.
“Is it true,” he inquired of the undaunted little
tree, “that some evil spirit is protecting you from
“What do you mean, my friend? No evil spirit
protects me,” Walnut Tree replied.
“You scoundrel! You liar! Why!?! AAAHHHHHHH!!!”
Oak Tree thought all the rest of the summer and
fall, while Walnut Tree grew taller and stronger.
it was winter, and Oak Tree had developed an
infallible scheme. All through the dark months he
perfect silence, meditating. At last spring came,
and soon he was ready to finish Walnut Tree.
Oak Tree began stretching his roots. He tapped into
the roots of other trees and stole their minerals.
The forest was in an uproar, no one was allowed to
tap the roots of another tree, but there was no
reasoning with Oak Tree. He was bent on destroying
that little tree, by any means necessary. He
wrapped his roots around Walnut Tree’s and began to
choke the life out of him. In a few days the little
tree’s leaves wilted and fell; he was dying. There
was no way for him to fight with a tree the size of
Oak Tree, and it was soon over.
But, it wasn’t
enough for Oak Tree. The other trees pleaded with
to stop, to be reasonable, but he would hear none
of it. He tapped into other trees and soon they
would die. There was no way to stop him, and the
stronger he grew the more he wanted. By the
middle of the summer, all the trees around him were
dead or dying, but he kept expanding. He basked
in his newfound glory. He mocked the other trees as
they fell, for he was the greatest there had ever
been, and he had done it so easily. By the end of
the summer the forest was dead, and he was in
control of everything.
Again, the winter brought its snow. Oak Tree didn’t
really notice just how alone he was, besides, he
was too tall now to see anything but himself and
the sky. He simply marveled at his own excellence
laughed at his old companions.
It wasn’t long before spring arrived again, which
is usually the favorite time of the year for a
Tree only regretted that there was no one to see
his glorious new leaves. He began to think of his
neighbors, and even the annoying little Walnut
Tree. They weren’t so bad, he decided. In fact, he
of missed them. But, they were all gone.
As summer began Oak Tree began to experience
something that he had never felt before, thirst. He
couldn’t stretch his roots any farther. The soil
was hard from the lack of water. He had consumed
everything. His leaves began to wilt. More time
passed, and his leaves were gone. Oak Tree refused
to believe what was happening, but soon he too
would meet the end that he had brought to so many.
Barren desert and rotting logs were all that
remained of the once great forest.
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