But the old tree is slow to speak, and it doesn't repeat
itself. It just stood there, like those apple trees had before.
"Are you telling me that Paulie T. is right? Is trouble heading my way?"
But I knew I wouldn't hear anything back. And on a day like that, with the sun shining, four hours till dinner, and seven more items on my List of Fun Stuff to Do, I did the only sensible thing. I decided that the old tree might not be thinking as well as it had a few years ago. Agreeing with Paulie T. was a sure sign that something was wrong. But I wanted to be respectful and not say anything insulting.
"Well, thanks for helping me out," I yelled as I started runningdown the hill, over the brook, through the orchard, and all the way home. I finished my drawings in my room, safe and out of the way, just in case a storm did blow through.
Except for a dinner that included lima beans and brussels sprouts, nothing bad happened that night or the next day. We did have a storm, with thunder and lightning, a couple of days later. It was a wild ruckus outside with leaves and branches blowing by and Lulu hiding under the bed trying to pretend she wasn't scared, just curious about those dust balls.
And that, I believed, was what all those trees were talking about. No need, I figured, to bother my head about it again.
From Ida B. Copyright © 2004 by Katherine Hannigan.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by permission of Greenwillow Books
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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