She wanted to be free, that was all she wanted. She wanted to stretch her feet out of the soil, she wanted to prance around in the wild, and most of all, she wanted to play with the children. They would jump over her roots, they would run their smooth fingers along her rough skin, and they would play with her soft willowy leaves. She had heard all about humans from the older trees, and had seen them away at work on the farm. All the time Willow would think about running away, but when she expressed her feelings with the other trees, they just laughed and said that it was impossible. They constantly reminded her that she was safe and protected on the farm. But Willow did not believe one word of it, so she decided that as soon as she reached sixteen root years, she would try.

And that is exactly what she did. On that day she bade everyone farewell, although the other trees protested by saying, “Don’t be silly child, stay right here!” and, “You won’t even be able to do it!”, but a little tiny oak tree leaned over and whispered, “Go to the eastern corner of the farm and you will find a big gap in the wall occupied by a big blackberry bush. She will let you past.”
“Thank you,” Willow whispered back. They were near the west corner, so it was an easy journey, for the farm was a small one.


As she approached the blackberry bush, she could hear farmers shouting in puzzled voices, “Where did the willow tree go?” she chuckled quietly to herself, and then the blackberry bush spun around to face her. “What’s so funny dear?” she asked.
“It’s just,” Willow said, chuckling a bit more, “That they are searching for me.”
“Well, why are they looking for you?”
“Because I am running away to the humans.”
“Oh, don’t go there you silly child.” Willow held an annoyance with everyone who called her ‘silly child’ and pushed her roots forward.
“Well I guess I will let you pass if you really want to.” Then she swung to the side like a gate, letting Willow past.

The young willow tree traveled for a day and a half, always asking trees if they knew how far away the town was, always answering with an ‘I don’t know’ or a ‘Don’t go there’ until she asked a very young, giggling pine tree who replied with: “Why it’s right over there,” she said, swaying towards where she meant. Willow ran forward to the edge of the forest and skidded to a stop. She saw a sight that made her turn to stone. Smoke everywhere, stumps of wood scattered in different places, and no children in sight. This was not what she had imagined. It looked horrid. Maybe the farm was not so bad after all? And she turned and walked back to the comforts of the farm, that she now realised were enough for her.


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