by Ellie An
A day in the life of an unusual tree.
The tree was the world.
Its long, crooked, enormous roots pierced the darkness of nothing. Its branches covered a half of the universe. Stars were its leaves, and colorless blood ran under its smooth, sparkling crust.
The tree was alive.
It thought, it felt, it remembered. Thousands of living things fluttered among its shining leaves. The tree knew everything about every single one of them. It loved them.
Some called themselves people, the creators of reality. The tree gave them its motherly love. Unending, undying. Indulgent. Foolish babies. They don’t even know they live on a tree!
Others called themselves gods. They guessed a lot, even the existence of the tree. The tree liked the name they gave it. Yggdrasil. Short and fierce, as a deadly spear. The gods loved spears, and the tree advised them how to make the arms even more dangerous.
Let the silly kids play with homicidal toys. Death is nothing: everyone will be reborn within the infinite stem of the tree.
Once a god named Odin ascended to the upper branches for the mead of poetry. The tree laughed. It had never had the mead before but created it for the godlike baby’s amusement.
The tree spent its endless life watching its kids’ play. They were born, lived, died, and were reborn. And the tree was happy - until The Day.
The tree always started its days throwing and catching the sun from one branch to another. This Day, though, the sun got suddenly heavy, and the branches became sleek. The sun almost fell, the tree caught it in the last moment and with an effort pushed it on its proper place. It hadn’t even time to live through its slow, profound surprise when it felt something strange in the deepest roots. What was it? Tickling? Squeezing?
The tree heard people and gods talking about it. It shared their experience but had never hurt itself. The feeling was strange. Frightening.
Fear was the second new emotion The Day brought. And the third was confusion.
Slowly the tree gathered its strength and, fighting the pain, sent impulses down, down, down the trunk, to the deepest deep of the void.
The pain was so distracting, and the effort was so challenging, that the tree almost dropped the sun leaf once or twice. Still, it went on The Day, and it went on its journey to the roots.
When the thought reached the goal, the fourth new emotion came forward.
The worm was long and gloomy gray. Its glossy with fat body was snaking between the roots. The tree shivered. It knew that the great worm lived somewhere in the void. It had never left its darkness before. And it had never dared to touch the roots.
Confused and terrified, the tree tried to free itself, to smash the biting, hideous monster. It could not. Billions of peaceful years made the world tree lazy and weak. No one could harm it. No one - before The Day.
The worm continued chewing the roots, and the pain was growing. Worthless efforts to shoo the monster were becoming more and more tiresome.
Terrified, the tree asked the gods to help. They did not reply. The tree was their world. How could anything happen to it? They did not believe, and nothing: the sun glimmer, the falling of stars, the shaking of the ground - could not convince them the world tree needed their help.
In desperation, the tree appealed to people. They did not hear.
The pain became so strong that the tree dropped the sun leaf, and darkness embraced all the world. Still, people did not understand. They screamed, and cried, and ran mad with fear, but did nothing to help.
Tired and hopeless, the tree gathered all its strength and tried to shake the worm off its roots. Suddenly, a great shadow out of the world made it freeze. Everything: the weakened branches, the heavy sun, the impudent warm - became clear as death. The end has come.
Someday, each tree meets its lumberjack.