Draft #6: The Imp, the Girl, and the Memory Tree

Refined from draft#5. Have retitled it “The imp, the girl,and the Memory Tree” to match the sequence of the story. Also tidied up a few words, moved up a line or two.

“Once upon a memory,” the village elders would always begin, as they started told their stories under the old tree. It was their tradition, for as long as the elders could remember, to tell stories at that tree.

By day, the villagers worked hard, farming and tilling the land. By night, they would gather under the old tree to listen to stories being told by the elders.

Sometimes there were new stories, and sometimes there were ones the villagers have heard before those told before. The villagers would smile at how the mouse-deer tricked the crocodile; how the rat outwitted the snake; how the frog escaped from the well. The villagers would laugh if it was a funny story. Sometimes they would cry if the story was a sad one.

One night, an imp chanced upon the villagers and their evening stories. Imps being imps, it had an evil heart. It saw how the villagers were enjoying themselves and it decided to play a trick on them.

Over the next few evenings, the imp secretly visited each of the villagers’ homes. The imp gave each of them a magic stone each. and the The villagers would be amazed to see beautiful images and lights from a simple stone, staring at it for hours.

Evening after evening, the imp tempted the villagers away from their nightly stories under the tree.

Through the imp’s magic, the stones showed different things each time they looked at it. The villagers were spellbound by the stones, so much so that they were too tired to do anything else. Some days, they were too tired to even go to the fields to tend their crops.

Night after night, one by one, the villagers stayed away from the gathering under the tree and preferred to just admire their stones.

Finally no one bothered to gather at the old tree.

When this that happened, the imp danced around the old tree and chanted gleefully, “Fools! Now there is no one left to share their stories”.

The imp thought it was all alone, but near the old tree was a young girl. She overheard the imp and realised it was the imp that used its magic to make all the villagers stay away.

She found her courage and confronted the imp.

“I know what you are trying to do!”

The imp turned around and when it saw that it was only a young child, it laughed.

“So what if you do? You cannot do anything. You are a child, weak and powerless.”

The imp creeped crept menacingly towards the girl. The little girl knew she could not fight the imp, nor run fast enough. She could only do what she did best — she started to recite the stories that she had heard so many evenings before under the tree.

She started reciting stories told of how the mouse-deer tricked the crocodile; how the rat outwitted the snake; how the frog escaped from the well. She told funny stories and some sad ones.

The young girl was frightened of the imp, but she refused to give in to her fear, and drew strength from the tree instead.

As she recited the stories Her voice carried into the night. One by one, the villagers came out of their homes, drawn by the familar sounds. The villagers rubbed their eyes. Something in the words woke them.

The imp’s spell was broken!

When the imp realised what had happened, it turned and ran off into the night. It was never seen again in that part of the land.

And so, “Once upon a memory,” the village elders would continue to say, as they shared their stories under the old tree once more. They now called then named their tree, the Memory Tree, for it was where they remembered…

I decided to leave the ending as it was. To make the kids think/ discuss about what it was the villagers remembered.

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