g n i u c s Re the Tree
n the sunny side of the hill a tree stood alone, surrounded by stumps. An Oak.
On the morning when our story begins, the Oak trembled with fear. The tenants of its huge and leafy crown shivered. Frou-Frou the squirrel jumped anxiously from branch to branch. Cathy the caterpillar gnawed at a leaf nervously. Ants ran chaotically up and down, while Sandy the sparrow packed the twigs of his nest hastily as he prepared to leave his home tree. Only Hooty the owl slumbered away happily in his warm cavity.
Even blue-eyed and big-eared Harold the hare was aware that something was amiss. - What's happening? What's all the hurry? -asked Harold from the deep shade of the Oak in which he had been dozing lazily. - D-d-anny the d-d-ove just told us J-a-aws the saw was on his way here! He wants to cut down our t-t-tree! -Willy the woodpecker stammered. - That really isn't fair! No one ever asks us anything. No one ever thinks of working things out with us! They just come, cut down the tree and haul it away! Last autumn it took them just minutes to cut down the birch with my home - Sandy protested as he pointed to one of the numerous stumps around the big tree. Oak trembled, as if a cold gust of wind had blown through his branches.The memory of the saw mercilessly digging its teeth into the tender bark of the birch froze the sap in every vein. -Don' be afraid, said Harold, gently stroking Oak's light bark. We'll all run off before Jaws arrives. A piece of cake! - he added. -No... No point trying, sighed Oak. I'm done for. I've lived here for a long time and I remember so much. The hill was once covered with a thick forest. Oh, what a life that was! Look at it now... I'm the only one left.Yes, it looks like the time has come for me to become a stump. 6
-What about us? Where will we live? What about the acorns I've been stashing away all autumn? - Frau-Frau rattled away, gradually overwhelmed with panic. -Well, I'm also concerned about all of you, but I really don't know how we can save ourselves from that Jaws vermin -said Oak. -Come on folks! No time to lose! -Harold urged on the others. The saw could be here any minute. We've got to get out of here now! -If I run off with Harold, I don't even know where he'll take me, or even how far I can go, what with my weight and my clumsiness. If I stay on the hill the saw will be along in a minute and I'm a goner. That's certain -Oak thought for himself. Pictures of his life flashed before him in rapid succession. He stopped for a moment, gathered all his strength, gave a huge heave and ripped his enormous roots out of the ground. Tripping over the stumps, a panicstricken Oak sped down the slope after Harold.
- Slow down, ~Iow down! I'll falloff! Cathy the caterpillar wailed as she held on to a leaf for her life. - All right, but I don't dare stop, or Jaws could catch up - said Oak, panting.
Oak's tenants ducked for their lives as their belongings flew thick and fast around them. Sandy spread his wings in an effort to keep his balance on his shaking perch. Frau-Frau shivered with fear as she peeked out of her front door.