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The Elephant In My Oak Tree
I didn’t know where it came from. I didn’t know how it got there. I didn’t know why it was there. But there it was.
There was an elephant in my Oak tree.
It was a wet, windy, angry Saturday. The thunder rumbled and the lightning flashed. I sat glumly by the window, looking at the Oak tree in the middle of my yard. It was my Oak tree. My magical, fantastical, take-me-to-another-world Oak tree. No one else was allowed in it, especially not yucky, smelly boys, and especially not my silly sister. Not that she’d want to anyway. She’s too busy painting her nails and talking to her boyfriend on the telephone.
A huge flash of lightning lit up the Oak tree and for a split second, I thought I saw something in the branches. It’s just the wind in the leaves, I thought to myself. I wasn’t scared. I was never scared, ever. The lightning flashed again, and I saw the thing again. I was big, very big, and had a strange long thing coming from it. It looked, well, like an elephant. Of course it’s not an elephant, I said to myself. They don’t live in Oak trees, especially not my Oak tree. But every flash afterwards, I could still see the shape in the tree.
While Mum and Dad weren’t looking, I put on my pink gumboots and my orange raincoat. I wasn’t going to let whatever-it-was take over my tree. I stepped outside and squelch-squelch-squelched through the puddles and out to my tree.
When I spoke, I tried to sound grown-up and not seven years old. I used some big words that I had heard my parents using. “Excuse me, but would the object in this tree please make its way down so important matters can be discussed.” With that, the branches of the tree shook violently.
Out of the tree a voice boomed, “Well, excuse me, but I am not an object and refuse to be called one. I am Edward, an elephant. Elephants are not objects as far as I know, hmm? Now, to whom am I speaking and do you happen to be a human?”
So it was an elephant – but what in the world was it doing in my Oak tree?
“My name is Annie Thomas, and yes, I am a human and I need to ask you something: What are you doing in my Oak tree? No one is allowed in my tree except me.”
Edward sounded sad. “Well, it’s a rather complicated story, I’m afraid. Ever since I was a little baby, I’ve been fascinated by the stories my family told. They had many stories about humans, and I’ve always wanted to meet one. So off I went, and here I am. This tree is very comfortable; the only problem is that I can’t seem to be able to get down.”
“I don’t like other people in my tree, but because you’re a bit stuck, I’ll let you stay for a bit. Anyway,” I added. “You’re nice. Want some ice cream?”
And so began my long friendship with Edward. I told him all about humans and he told me all about Africa. Winter turned to spring and spring turned to summer. Edward started to miss his family and his life in Africa, but still couldn’t get out of the tree.
Then at school one day I heard a funny joke.
“How did the elephant get down from the tree?”
“He sat on a leaf and waited for autumn.”
That joke made me think. Edward was stuck and needed to get down, so why couldn’t he sit on a leaf? It was almost autumn. When I got home, I told Edward my plan.
“What is there to lose?” he said, so there he sat, on the most comfy leaf he could find. Soon the leaves turned yellow, then orange, and started to fall.
Then one day, on March the 21st, Edward’s leaf fell. I was sitting with him in the tree when I heard him gasp.
“What’s wrong, Edward? Are you okay?” I asked, surprised.
“Why, yes, I’m okay, but I think I’m falling!” and with that, Edward and the leaf gently floated down and landed on the ground. Edward let out a little cheer and checked himself for bruises. “Well, thankyou for lending me your tree, but I suppose I’ll be off now,” he said.
“But I don’t want you to go, Edward!” I said, and I started crying.
“I don’t want to leave you, but I must go home and see my family. I will write to you, how about that?”
I said that that would be lovely, and we said our good-byes.
“I love you, Edward!” I called after him as he walked down the road.
“I love you, too, Annie Thomas!” he called back and disappeared over the hill.
And that was when I had an elephant in my Oak tree.
“Dear Annie Thomas,
“Thankyou for letting me stay in your tree. I liked staying with you.
“I will come back again soon.