Draft #3 – “The boy, the imp and the Memory Tree”

Here’s a reworking of the story from draft #2. Discussed with Saigon Tai-tai that maybe we cut away the fluff and see what we can come up with. I copied her Draft #2 to a document, removed the dialogues etc and then I pared down to an outline, which was essentially:

  • Story takes place in a village
  • Gathered around to listen to stories
  • Imp came along and made the villagers stay away
  • Someone saw through the ploy
  • Turned the tables and saved the village

And this was what I came up with, Draft #3, with a boy as central character (sort of), and imp, and the tree:

A long time ago, there was a village. The village was known for an old tree that resided in the center of the village.

In the village there lived a boy. He was different from the rest of his friends, for his legs were weak from young. He could not run as fast or play as hard as his friends could. He hardly had any friends. The only time he was happy was in the evenings.

Every evening without fail, the villagers would gather under the tree to listen to stories being told. From the young to the old, they shared simple tales of what happened in the day. Sometimes they shared elaborate stories of things that happened in the past. They told of stories of lives past and present.

But one year, an imp chanced upon the village and spied upon the villagers and their evening routine. It saw how the villagers were laughing and enjoying themselves and decided to play a trick.

Each evening, the imp would visit one of the villager’s homes. It tried to tempt the villagers from going to the evening gatherings under the tree.

Each family was surprised when the imp visited them. The imp quickly explained, “Why spend time in outside when you have laboured all day? Let me show you something better.”
And the imp produced a polished stone. The imp bade them to look into the stone and the villagers were amazed to see beautiful images and lights from a simple stone.

Evening after evening, the imp secretly visited each family and showed them a magic stone. And day after day, the villagers stayed away from the gathering under the tree and preferred to just admire the stone. Through the imp’s magic, each stone showed different things each time they looked and by the time they were finished looking, they were too tired to do anything. Some days, they were too tired to even go to the fields.

This continued until one evening, there was no one who bothered to gather at the old tree.
The imp danced around the tree and chanted gleefully, “Now there is no one left to share their stories”.

The imp thought it was all alone, but it was overheard by the little crippled boy who was hiding near the tree. He overheard the imp and realised it was the imp that used its magic to make all the villagers stay away.

Right, this is where I need to find some ideas of how to have the boy defeat the imp. The boy will use his intellect of course. The magic stones are obvious analogy about a sedentray lifestyle. So how is he able to trick the imp? I realised I’ve used the angle of Draft #1 as the ending. Ok, can this story outline work?



  1. May 6, 2006 at 12:07 am

    Oh, right after I posted the above, this came to me:
    * Imp used stones to trick villagers from gathering. Boy needs imp to remove its spell but not sure how. After the imp left, the boy heard another voice. It was the voice of the tree! The tree spoke to the boy “I have listened to many stories. In my roots, my bark, my trunk, my branches, they contain the memories of the village through the stories the villagers share. I am a Memory Tree”. So the tree helped the boy trick the imp.

    * Boy challenges the imp to a guessing game. If imp can guess the answer to the riddle, then boy will admit defeat and leave the village. If each time the imp cannot answer the riddle by morning, it will have to remove a stone and free the family from the spell

    * [we need some riddles here]

    * The boy was helped by the Memory Tree. It was able to give the boy the riddles to ask from it’s vast store of stories from generations. So riddle after riddle, the imp couldn’t answer. It was mad and continued to keep trying until finally morning came.

    * Imp defeated, boy saves the day. Villagers realised they owe the boy. They all lived happily ever after.

  2. saigontaitai said,

    May 6, 2006 at 12:35 am

    yes, this is an interesting take..Basically, i think the narrative of the village, boy and imp should form a framework within which are many other stories. Thus, the boy, being physically challenged is mentally stronger. He pulls himself to the tree and thus heard the imp’s devious plans. The boy talks to tree and plucks leaf after leaf of stories. This is where the stories can then be inserted (and this will be a good way for this blog to hold more than just the story of the Memory Tree). They would be folksy or otherwise. The imps greed makes him attempt to keep the stories… (however, not sure how and why – we haven’t yet explained why the imp would love these stories?? unless he knew the true value of a tale). The boy overcomes the imp by the vast amount of tales within the tree. And so we can plant a new story each day in this Memory Tree… i think its fertile soil for more than just one story? ; -)

  3. May 6, 2006 at 12:43 am

    Similar style to “Arabian Tales” right? That’s the angle of your Draft #2. I’ve been thinking about that approach, and seems to me we might be better off just writing one story first, then other individual stories. And once we have enough, then we come back to the “framework” story. What do you think?

    If you’re agreeable to approach for Draft #3, let’s let’s try to complete it, and then work on others.

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