Jack looked out the window. Awe filled his face. “It’s glowing again!” he exclaimed. Patrick rubbed the goosebumps on his arms, vigorously. He stared at the lights, shining from the woods.
“The lights are still a great mystery,” Jack said, softly.
‘Never go near it,’ the villagers would warn. ‘It cannot mean anything good,’ another would say. No-one ever dared to venture closer. The villagers were prone to exaggeration. It created an unimaginable fear of the unknown.
“Let’s go!” said Patrick. He grabbed his torch and backpack and moved towards the door. “It hasn’t shone like this in a long time. Something big must be going on!”
“We’re here. We’ve made it,” whispered Jack as they reached the middle of the woods. The buzz was tangible. Woodland creatures came from near and far.
“What’s going on?” Jack asked a young gnome.
“A visitor arrived. No-one knows who he is or where he is from.” He pointed to the lonely-looking stranger. “The elders called a meeting. The ancient tree will cast a verdict on whether he may stay, or not,” he said.
Last summer Jack and Patrick’s fate was being decided on by the ancient tree. They had found an injured animal. Many creatures thought they were guilty of causing such harm. A meeting was called. The tree confirmed their innocence. They were accepted as friends of the forest.
Radiant colours emanated from the centre of the tree’s trunk, spinning in spirals around the magnificent tree. Colour spread through its branches, reflected from its silky leafs.
“Shhhh…!” said the Queen in a calm voice. “The tree is ready to cast a verdict.”
A hushed silence filled the forest.
In quiet anticipation, everyone stared at the tree.
A leaf dropped. It was carried on a gentle breeze and landed in the silver pond. The decision was final. “He may stay!” announced the Queen.
The visitor accepted the decision with a relieved nod.
An explosion of cheering filled the forest. The woodland creatures unanimously applauded the decision. Humming and the clapping of a rhythmic beat filled the forest.
The celebrations had begun!