STORYTIME: THE REEDS & THE OAK TREE

STORYTIME: THE REEDS & THE OAK TREE

Kristin Lisenby Kristin Lisenby
3 minute read

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According to the Celtic tree Calendar, reeds rule the wild from October 28th - November 23rd. In honor of this magical plant, gather around for a story about the Reeds and the Oak Tree...

Once upon a waning moon, in the days following the year's final harvest, a storm blew in from the North. The sky darkened, and animals took to their dens, newly crafted and filled with food. The wind howled, and the forest danced, copper leaves waving from their oaken canopies. Within minutes, a soft mist gave way to an angry downpour. The lake rose to the top, and the reeds talked – ancestral whisperings, conversations from beyond the veil. 

The storm swirled around the forest. The Fae Folk sowed the first of their kind, nature spirits who made their homes in the in-between. Come nightfall, at the boundary where earth and water met, fairies collected stalks to whittle into musical instruments and witches' brooms. If a worthy traveler asked for a place to rest, fairies ushered them into the plant's hollow center for safekeeping. When the storm arrived, things looked dire for the forest and its creatures, but the reeds weren't worried. From their marshy threshold, they whistled a melody about flexibility over force.

The towering oaks marched to a different tune. As trees, they were guardians of the forest and refused to bow to nature's whims, whether whirlwinds or sleet. Spells of resistance were etched into their bark, so while the animals hid, the lake swelled, and the plants screamed, the oak trees remained straight and tall. They inhaled, stretched their roots as far as possible, and locked limbs with the elder oaks and the saplings. 

The oak trees held fast for many hours while the gales intensified, and chaos swept through the forest. The forest maintained it's protective circle even as the smaller plants whipped and thrashed against one another. Rooted to the forest floor, a sturdy foundation, the trees believed themselves invincible. But then the lake overflowed. The earth softened into a muddy soup, and the mighty oaks swayed and stumbled. Just as the storm passed and the skies cleared, the tallest tree toppled over.

The unrooted oak was shocked. Instead of being reduced to a pile of splinters, the tree lay cradled within a bed of reeds. And unlike the injured oak, the delicate stalks were unscathed by the storm. The tree was perplexed; was the mysterious strength an illusion? Was it fairy magick? How had they weathered the storm better than the tallest tree in the forest?

Like always, the reeds whistled their response – a song about choices and a magical tree rooted in stubbornness. They sang as the great oak closed its eyes for the last time. They hummed as the forest mourned, and the fairies planted the tree's memory in a lullaby. They sang a song about an overlooked secret for survival: bowing to the elements of nature instead of fighting against them.

 

This retelling was inspired by Aesop's Fable, The Oak & the Reeds.

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