REPUBLIC OF TURKEY MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND TOURISM

LONELY TREE - Nazire KUTSAL

LONELY TREE

Emre's house was neighboring to a big, lonely and neglected garden where he was playing ball. Each time he was trying different kick, thinking "may be in future I'll become a great footballer" and once he shot the ball so hardly that the rising ball hit swiftly to the branches of a tree afar and made all leaves fall. Emre ran towards the tree and took his ball back without considering the leaf-fall. While he was dribbling the ball to another direction he suddenly had a feeling that someone just behind him was exclaiming "You, the little naughty boy!" So he looked around but could see no one over there, he was completely alone in the garden. As there was nothing to be scolded for, he continued playing with his ball surmising that the voice he heard was unreal.

The following day he was flying kite in the same garden. Unfortunately, the tail of his kite was stuck to the branches of that big tree. Though he tried hard, he could not be able to set the long and beautiful tail of kite free. There was nothing to do but climbing to the tree, so he climbed and pulled backed the tail so harshly that all of the fresh and green branches of the tree were broken. He was about to step down when the same voice "You, the little naughty boy" echoed in his ears. It was such a close and ear-splitting voice that he would almost fall down.

"Who was shouting to drill my ear-drums?" exclaimed Emre. The same voice replied, "It is me". There was nobody around. Was it someone joking? "Get out of your hideaway and do tell me why you are scolding me?" shouted Emre. "How can't you see me cause I am not hiding. I am the tree you climbed up!" answered the voice.

Emre got thoroughly angry and asked," You can't cheat me, have you ever heard that the trees talk?" He heard a desperate sigh saying, "Do believe me that talking is me. It is me, the tree. If you listen carefully you will see that the voice belongs to me. The trees do talk as well."

Emre was utterly bewildered. When he paid careful attention to the tree, he realized that the tree was telling the truth.

"I believed in you" said Emre and added, " This is quite amazing but at the same time very nice too." The tree kept talking " I scolded you for you had pulled all my leaves apart and broken my branches. I understand you, the little naughty boy; you broke my branches in order to prevent the tail of your kite from deformation. You can remake a kite from colorful papers, but I have to work without taking account the time of day, month or year to let my branches lengthen and my leaves green again. I don't mind working, but the broken branches never grow as beautiful as they used to be. That is why I am upset and I scolded you unwillingly".

Emre looked at the broken branches and fading leaves in the palm of his hand. Realizing how wrong he was, he continued, "It is really bad, I could not see how harmful I was. Well, do you talk to the others the way you talk to me?" "Yes sure, but most people pretend not to have heard. We would have died out long ago if we didn't have friend who showed us affection knowing that we, the trees were the reason of health and happiness. If so, I would not have a chance of living here for so long" said the tree.

"How old are you?" asked Emre.

"I am exactly at the age of two hundreds" answered the tree.

"Wow! What a long life it is. How nice! Please tell me your life story," asked him.

"Will you not get bored if it takes long?"

"Of course not", replied Emre, "I will really be pleased to listen to you". The tree was very affected by his interest and said, "Then come and sit close to me and lean against my body, look at my leaves with your beautiful eyes so that I will alleviate all your tiredness, and increase your pleasure while you are listening to me".

Emre sat on the ground leaning against the body of the tree. Then, he had the feeling the tree had just mentioned. And the tree began to tell his life story:

"It was so long that I was as young as you are. On a spring day, some people carefully planted me and many other saplings in this garden where you are playing ball. They did not only water us frequently, but also plowed the soil of us. We slept in comfort under a puffed soil just like your sleeping under a puffy quilt. We were grown up by the sunlight and cheered by the spring winds. We blossomed pink, yellow and white flowers. When we were young we used to need continuous care like a little child. In autumn, when the weather got colder and the sky got cloudier, we used to understand that it was the time to hibernate for us. The winds were whispering in our ears "Come on, fall asleep quickly! It will snow soon and that is the only way for you to be protected from freezing under snow". So we used to fall asleep quickly until the next spring when we would be wakening a bit grown up. N time we became grown-up and beautiful trees adorning this great garden entirely. We all used to have names as well; pine, plane, oak, chestnut, Judas, juniper, etc. I know that it is a bit strange, but in fact it is not so different from your names of Emre, Sinan, Fatos, Ayse… All birds used to twitter on our branches. Do you know that no matter how various kinds of music are developed, the twittering of birds is the only music that maximizes the joy of life? I should mention not only the trees in this garden, but also the vegetation covering larger surfaces, shouldn't I? It was just then squirrels, rabbits, deer, cunning foxes and badgers used to wander around, make their nests and bring up lovely young in a green environment. We used to stretch out our branches towards the sky to bring the clouds closer and let it rain. Then there used to be plenty of waters and foods, and a sweet-smelling used to cover all around. People used to settle in the vicinity of us, and use our lumbers for the construction of chairs, tables and bedsteads for themselves and for their children. We used to live in such a complete harmony that I can not find a word to describe. Then, years passed and peoples' lives and type of living were changed through the passing years. Those beautiful houses where the doves used to sing were destroyed; the rain refused to fall as it used to do; the animals ran away; birds lessened; there was no one caring us or plowing the soil around. The tough soil turned into hard quilts and all my friends died out. Apartment houses were constructed adjacent to us. People used to raise their heads up and look at us, but now the roles are changed and we are looking at people living in these rising apartment houses. Then, we used to provide them flowers, fruits and greens. But for now, people easily throw garbage, plastic bags, broken toys, papers and rags over us. We are suffering from being broken and pulled up. As long as people are merciless, bushes and thorny plants like the ill-mannered children are circling around us. I address all and ask them to look for us because we love them and we are quite vital for them. I live longing for those days and those friends of mine. But I can say that it is not quite easy".

Emre stood up; he was in a deep confusion. He fondled the thick body of the tree and said "Don't be upset, I will talk to my friends about you and you will have lots of friends". And he made his way home running.

The following day Emre told everything about the tree to his friends. And all his friends decided not only to be the friends of this lonely tree, but also to help it. They went to the garden along with their digging tools; they plowed the soil and watered the tree. They also dug pits around the tree where they later on planted saplings and flowers in. The great tree couldn't believe his eyes; he was surrounded by little pine trees, oaks and Judas trees, and the flowers in various colors beautified this environment. The tree was so pleased from the efforts of Emre and his friends that his leaves became brighter as if they had never been before. "You made me a great favor, but you should know that you made this favor for yourselves instead," said the tree.

While Emre and his friends were a bit weary but very happy on their way home, the tree was calling happily behind "You, the smart naughty boy, you, the sweet naughty boy…"…

Nazire KUTSAL