16th June

Jack and the Tree

Jack was walking by the lochside. It was a still, sunny day. He came to a tree, reflected perfectly in the loch. He thought, If I climb tae the tap o this tree I’ll be able tae wave tae masel at the tap o the ither tree in the water.

So he starts climbing. The branches are thick and well spaced so it’s not a difficult climb, but it’s a long one, because it’s a very tall tree. The tree gets narrower and narrower, till at last he’s just a foot or two from the top. But when he looks down, he’s disappointed to find that he’s too high to see the foot of the tree or its reflection in the loch. When he looks up, however, there at the tip of the tree is the tip of another tree, identical to the one he’s on, but upside down in the sky. He stretches up into the cloudless sky and his fingers feel wetness. He slaps the sky with the back of his hand and a ripple starts. He takes a penny from his pocket and throws it above his head. It plops into the water and he can see it going past the other tree – as if sinking or falling, although it’s going up the way.

‘This is weird,’ says Jack. ‘Either I’m upside doon or this tree is or the sky’s turned tae water but whitever’s gaun on it’s makkin me feel seeck. I think I’ll climb doon.’

So back he goes, and it’s slow, hot work, harder than it was going up, and all the time he’s wondering about that upside-down tree in the sky. He’s relieved when his feet are back on solid ground. And there’s the loch, as still as ever, and the tree reflected in it just as it was before.

Jack thinks, I’ll hae a wee dook in the loch tae cool doon. He strips off and is standing at the edge about to jump in when a penny comes shooting out of the water, straight into his hand.

The clear, calm loch suddenly doesn’t seem so inviting. And Jack changes his mind about going for that swim.

Reader: James Robertson
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
Guitar: Sorren Maclean
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