Ask the Tree

Ask the Tree

A Story by YouoweYoupay
"

"But first," my great grandfather said, "a tree has to grow before the figs grow!"

"







"What do you want to be when you grow up, Latifa?" he asked her.

 

"I want to be the first woman to count all the stars in the sky. What about you, father?"

 

"I am already a grown up.", he chuckled.

 

"But you're smaller than my mother."

 

The man almost laughed again at his daughter's comment,

But instead, the feeling of smallness became larger than his emotions, wider than the night sky. The world was now more intimidating.

 

"Give me your hand. Stand up."

 

He showed Latifa the oldest tree in the field. And the girl thought it looked like a very old woman.

 

"That is because it actually is an old woman!" he said,

 

"How did you know?" 

 

"Well, a long time ago, my great grandmother wanted to bake my grandmother a fig pie. Figs were sold very far from her home. Instead, she asked my great grandfather to throw some seeds in the field and gather the figs that grow on the tree."

 

"But first," my great grandfather said, "a tree has to grow before the figs grow!"


"My great grandmother was quiet at first. Then she said,"

 

"We will wait for the tree, but don't be very hopeful. It's better this way."

 

"My great grandmother knew that her husband was not a farmer, so in her heart, she tried as best as she can to forget about the tree.

 

But every morning, when my great grandmother woke up to heat the water and make the dawn prayer, a tiny little bell rang inside her heart, and she would remember the fig seeds.

 

However, one day, a powerful storm destroyed my grandparents' home and they had to move away to search for a new one.

 

After many years that passed, my great grandfather returned to the same ground of the storm wreck. He wanted to sell the land for more money, and there he found a beautiful large fig tree holding fruit that was nearly ripe for harvest.

 

When he returned to my great grandmother, she cried when she saw the basket of figs in his hands and then she smiled. When my grandmother asked her why she smiled after crying, my great grandmother refused to answer her until had grown into old age and was about to die.

 

Then she said to my grandmother and mother,"


"I wanted to make you a fig pie, and this desire made me wake up in the morning feeling energetic and hopeful. I was able to take care of you and your brothers with more patience because I knew that someday, the tree will grow. I cried when your grandfather came to me with the figs in his arms because I had been separated from my old friend, that same tree, for many years. I smiled because the tree had not forgotten its reason for growing. And every year, it bore fruit for someone to gather. And that someone was me!"

 

"Before my great grandmother died, she told her family that she wished to be buried near the fig tree. And now, the spirit of the tree and the spirit of your grandmother had become closer friends. And sometimes, friends begin to look like one another, even in shape."

 

"Does it still bear fruit?" Latifa asked, "Or is it dead now?"

 

"The tree is as alive as you and me! Next summer, when the fruit is ripe, you and I will come here again. And I'll ask your mother to bake us a fig cake."


Latifa looked up at the shadowing leaves and her big, brown eyes shimmered in the filtered sunlight.

 

"Thank you great, great grandmother."

 

"She says you're welcome." her father said,

 

"No, she didn't! You just made that up."

 

"I did not. Go ahead and ask the tree."


© 2018 YouoweYoupay



Author's Note

YouoweYoupay
*Image: The Fig Tree, by: Graham Braddock

My Review

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Featured Review

Beautiful. Simply beautiful. I admit I got a little teary eyed reading this. Old family stories are the best kind of folklore because they're just so close to home. Very personal and revealing. Thanks for sharing this tale of trees and wishes. Awesome job!

Posted 8 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

YouoweYoupay

8 Months Ago

I'm happy to know you enjoyed reading this piece. And that you got a little emotional at the end. :).. read more
StarNinja

8 Months Ago

They should be coming out soon. I'm trying to have a better work ethic about these things, otherwise.. read more



Reviews

its been awhile but i enjoy reading your work thank you for sharing.

Posted 4 Months Ago


Very touching write here, I really enjoyed this.

Posted 5 Months Ago


A wonderful story shared my friend. I love nature and I'm 1/2 Ojibwa. The forest is a blessing and place to remember. You wrote a classic tale. Need to be read by more people. Thank you my friend for sharing the outstanding story.
Coyote

Posted 7 Months Ago


absolutely beautiful.....absolutely moving. It holds the reader for the entirety of the story without a dull moment. Well done!

Posted 8 Months Ago


YouoweYoupay

7 Months Ago

Wow! What an uplifting review. Glad you enjoyed it. :) Thank you really.

~Rain.
I always ask the tree. They are all good companions. I love this.

Posted 8 Months Ago


YouoweYoupay

7 Months Ago

Trees are indeed very good companions. Calm and wise and gentle. Thank you so much for reading.
read more
Beautiful. Simply beautiful. I admit I got a little teary eyed reading this. Old family stories are the best kind of folklore because they're just so close to home. Very personal and revealing. Thanks for sharing this tale of trees and wishes. Awesome job!

Posted 8 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

YouoweYoupay

8 Months Ago

I'm happy to know you enjoyed reading this piece. And that you got a little emotional at the end. :).. read more
StarNinja

8 Months Ago

They should be coming out soon. I'm trying to have a better work ethic about these things, otherwise.. read more
You're recording the conversation you hear in your head when you visualize the scene. And in that scene you can hear the voices, you know who the people are, and why they're there and what motivates them to speak and act.

But only you know that. Only you can hear emotion in the voice of the narrator, because it'e YOUR voice, and you already know the story. Only you know if the girl speaking is seven or fourteen. Only you know the ambiance , and all the things that make the story live.

Shouldn't the reader know this, too, if they are to get any emotional content? Remember,your reader will turn pages only if you make them WANT to. They have to be MADE to care.

You say the man showed the girl the oldest tree. That's a summation. In life, the sequence might go more like:
- - - - -
Harun smiled as he studied his daughter. The child would soon be a woman, And that thought reminded him of something she should know.

"Come with me, Latifa," he said, as he stood and headed for the far end of the field. "I want to show you something. Just be careful where you step, unless you want smelly feet."

She laughed, as she hurried to catch up, saying, "I'm always careful. Where are we going?"

"I want to show you a tree."

"A...tree? Why are you taking me—"

"I'm taking you to see a fig tree," he said, interrupting her. In fact, that one." He pointed, as he added, "It's the oldest one around here."
- - - - -
Look at the differences:

• We're not with the storyteller, we're with the actors in that field ands living, in real-time, from within the moment the protagonist calls "now."
• Because the father is the protagonist, and we're in his viewpoint, we know what he thinks important, and what he observes ad reacts to. We know others only through his observation, opinion, and reaction. It can't seem real if someone is onstage talking about how others feel.
• No one is explaining,anything. Instead they're living. They're noticing and reacting, as we do in life. In short, behaving as human beings, not plot devices.
• We're living the story, moment-by-moment, not hearing an overview from someone neither in the story nor on the scene. And because we are, the reader gets the feeling that time is passing, something that can't happen while reading an overview.
• Notice, too, that for every action taken, we know what motivated the character to act. A memory triggers the father to stand, and the thought, incidentally, told us her level of maturity and something of what we can expect from her so far as reaction to situations.

His standing motivates her to stand and hurry after, and the words she speaks.

Her words motivate him to reply. The words on being careful identify the field as one where animals graze, without having to explain it to the reader, and her response develops her character a bit.

That motivates him to mention the tree, and in turn, her to ask for clarification, And each of those actions ticks the clock.

Great writing? No, Nor is it your story, setting, or characters. it's a quick demonstration of a more realistic approach that gets you off stage and makes the story more real to the reader. An article that explains the technique I used is here:
http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/scene.php

It's well worth the time spent to chew on it till it makes sense. And if it does, you may want to pick up the book it was condensed from. It's solid gold. For a bit of an overview of the issues you need to look into, you might want to dig around in the articles in my writing blog.

Sorry my news isn't better. But nothing I said related to your talent or potential as a writer. It has to do with the learned part of the profession, something you can learn as easily as the nonfiction writing skills we're given in our school days.

So hang in there, and keep on writing.

Jay Greenstein
https://jaygreenstein.wordpress.com/category/the-craft-of-writing/



Posted 8 Months Ago



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Added on February 9, 2018
Last Updated on February 9, 2018
Tags: book, story, love, family, hope, tree, seed, yinyang, balance, life, children, grandmother, fig, fruit, writing

Author

YouoweYoupay
YouoweYoupay

Amman, ..., Jordan



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