Hey! I wrote this as a bedtime story for a friend originally. I’d like to know what you think, and in what ways I can improve it! =]
The Fate of the Birch Tree
Once upon a time in a land of magic there lay a smokey grey meadow. The dreary, monotonous colour lay like a dusty blanket made of rounded blades of grass. Dotting the ground was a rainbow of flowers, standing tall in full bloom. Above it all sighed a marbled jade sky. The breeze blew the silver leaves of a tall, wise birch tree, causing them to flicker at the branch’s fingertips. The old birch spent all day admiring the flowers that grew all around it, it was never unhappy so long as it could peer through it’s bark knot eyes over the meadow.
One day a class of hooded mages from a college far away took the long journey to the meadow. They had come to collect the special flowers to use in their spells and potions. It was a very special trip, as it was only taken once every one hundred years. The birch watched them arrive. Their robes dappled the meadow black as they moved in a flock. They approached the birch, and they all sighed in wonder at the beauty of the meadow. The birch thought they were a gentle group, and it let them admire the meadow with it. It even allowed them to pluck a few flowers out of the soft smokey grass.
The meadow’s beauty caused a dark, dream-like sensation to spread throughout the group of mages. Though they completed the task that they had come to do, the mages could not bring themselves to leave. They were trapped, perhaps cursed, captivated by the beauty of the meadow.
One of the mages, a small one with a black braid that trailed like ribbon from under his hood, approached the birch humbly. “Birch,” the mage cried, “I cannot bring myself to leave this place! But as I sat here all this time I have made a plan. I will paint this meadow and take it with me, and I will be free. All I ask is a piece of your bark to use as paper.” The birch tree couldn’t stand the thought of never seeing its beautiful meadow again, and being a kind spirit it agreed to save the mage from such a fate. The mage left the meadow, no longer bound.
The small mage was spotted leaving, painting in hand, by the eldest mage who watched him go curiously. “Say,” the eldest mage called to his fellow students, “I saw the small one leave, and in his hand was a painting on a piece of bark! Let us also paint our own so we too can be freed.”
One by one, the mages approached the tree, asking to take a piece of it to paint on. The tree, agonized by the thought of never again seeing its precious meadow, sympathetically allowed every mage to use its bark. It seemed that with every painting completed, the birch looked a little smaller than the previous. Finally, the last mage finished his painting. Puzzled, he found that his painting had absolutely no birch tree at all. As it dawned on him, remorseful tears began to stream from under the poor mage’s hood. He was unable to leave the meadow with his painting, it was too changed without the presence of the old birch. So heartbroken was the mage that he cast a spell, turning himself into a tall white birch tree. It’s silver leaves dotted the jade sky, and there it stood awaiting its fate for a hundred years….