|By: Kurt Fondriest
I Wrote this Story Over 30 Years ago for Children with Fibromyalgia.
In a forest of magic and wisdom and of rainbows and fairies, lived a little tree who was smaller, by far, than any other. He knew that his branches were supposed to be strong and always reaching upwards because his mother and father would tell him so.” Little tree,” they would say,” stretch your branches up to the sun so the birds may come play music on your limbs.” With all his might, he would try to reach for the sky, but he could not hold his branches high for very long. Little tree would lean sadly against his mother while he watched all the branches of the other trees in which birds of all colors and sizes were nesting and singing praises to the magic of the forest.
His own little branches could barely hold his leaves, and they ached with pain. Across the valley of blue and sunlit flowers lived a wise old forest elf. Little tree’s mother called upon him to see why her son was having such a hard time with his childhood roots. It was a cloudy day in the forest when he came to see little tree and the silver reflection on the leaves from the recent rain mirrored his image and his magical bag of potions. The elf was the wisest soul in the forest; Surely, he could heal little tree. Wise old elf embraced little tree. ” Ouch,” cried little tree. Father tree started to scold his son.” Quit being such a little sapling. Let the old one touch you, he will heal you.” little tree started to cry.
Wise old elf said, “why do you start a rainstorm on me, little tree?” Little tree turned his leaves so he could better see the magic one. “I hurt from my roots to tip of my crown,” he said. “My branches feel all twisted and knotted. My trunk feels as if 1000 woodpeckers were doing their noise making dance on me”. As his tears continue to fall, he said,” I feel more like a weeping willow than a royal oak. My branches cannot hold the beautiful song makers of the Valley nor the colorful rainbow of butterflies that take flight.” With this, little tree dropped his branches to where they took the shape of heavy, wet rope. Wise old elf stepped back from under little tree. He stood there with all his magical devices, rubbing his fingers through his snowy white beard. The clouds were parting, and the sunlight started to dance down from the sky,
warming the Valley. The blessings of the wood fairies could be heard as they gathered on the shoulder of the wise elf. One magically whispered in wise old elf’s ear.” What is wrong with little tree? Hurry and fix him so we may color his leaves with earth tones for the coming fall.” Wise old elf held his powerful arms up to the heaven and asked the creator of the forest for guidance. You see, wise old elf had magic that could do many things of wonder, but he could not heal little tree. To him, this young tree looked just like any other small tree in the forest. He came from strong roots, and from a family of shading grace. Wise old elf had seen the entire forest grow from the beginning of time. He remembered the first rain onto this once barren field, which was now linked together by intertwining branches of love.
Little tree leaned his heavy burden branches around his mother’s.” I’m so scared because of how I feel. It hurts, mommy, and no birds will sing their songs in my branches because I cannot hold my arms to the sky. Why do I have this pain and hurt? It is not fair that no other tree my age feels this way. All I hear is the echo of tree teasing from others. Sometimes I wish a lumberjack would come along and…”
Just then, a radiant light danced down from a mighty Golden spiral in the sky, lighting up the face of wise old elf. A low, humming noise was whistling through the Valley until it came upon the ear of the old elf.” Little tree,” spoke wise old elf. Little tree turned his leaves once again so he could see the old elf. All was silent in the Valley. Even the wind had become voiceless. The birds of the forest bowed their heads in silence. The animals crept up to little tree, filled with love for their brave, little branched friend. The fairies surrounding little tree, holding golden balls of light that were reflections of the sun’s warmth.
Wise old elf walked under little tree and raised his head, looking upward into his branches. He lifted his hand to touch one of the small, drooping branches.” Do you know why you feel pain in all your branches?”
“No,” whispered little tree, as his leaves were gently stroked by his mother’s branches. The wise elf summoned for all the forest to listen by singing an ancient forest song. Golden light in the air I breathe, touching all my branches from you to me, we all are branches of the one loving tree, bless the forest with understanding the pain of our little tree.
“Little tree,” spoke wise old elf, the name of your pain is Fibromyalgia.”
The word was winded throughout the entire forest.
“Fibromyalgia is a painful bark condition. It can make your roots so painful that you’ll want to cry, and it is okay to cry. You must understand that maybe your branches cannot hold the birds to make the music, but they can hold the caterpillars until they are born into butterflies. Maybe you will not be able to reach all your branches to the sky to touch the sun, but the Earth needs shade at times and lower branches like yours are the perfect ones. Yes, you will feel pain for no forest is perfect. However, you must remember you are a royal oak, and you will always be a tree of strength and truth.”
With this, the entire forest of trees interlocked branches to form one. The old elf lowered his head turned to walk towards the hills of home. A swarm of lighted fairies lit his path as the sun was lowering its face into the sky. Fall came to the forest and then winter. Months passed while wise old elf spent his days doing deeds of good throughout the forest. It was on the first day of May when a purple passionflower fairy landed on the old elf shoulder.” ah,” said Wise old elf,” you bring me news of my friend, little tree.” The old elf snuggled the fairy in his vest pocket and spoke that he must journey to see for himself.
The fields were of mustard yellow, and the scent of dandelion blanketed the spring top crescents. The winding road seemed steep for our elderly friend. As he came to the clearing, clouds of rolling, white peaks cast shadows to the earth below. At the top of the hill stood little tree, who was not so little as before. The old wood elf stepped up the hill to the trunk of his little friend. What he saw was not the same as nearly a year ago. Little tree turned his leaves so he could greet his longtime friend. ” Little tree,” exclaimed wise old elf,” Your branches are filled with light colored butterflies and your roots blossom the most beautiful flowers that grow in any forest shade.” Little tree spoke with a voice of confidence and quiet strength.” Old wise one, take heed of the forest vines that grow around me.” The old elf squinted through his glasses.
He saw how the vines of the earth had grown up little trees limbs and wrapped and secured them with their support.” Wise old elf,” spoke little tree,” each day in our forest I awaken with pain. I still pray to the great creator of the forest to take away this spell in hopes that one day my bark will all be well. But I must tell you that there is no pity here, only courage. Courage comes from my friends of the forest who help me each day with the spell of fibromyalgia. When the rain comes down too fast and hurts my limbs, the older towering trees will bend their branches over me to keep me dry.
The sun dances warmth onto my crown which helps the pain every morning, especially after the rain. Wise old elf spoke while touching one of little tree’s branches. “In our forest, we will someday break this spell. Until then, little tree, you will overshadow us all with your courage and the strength of the beauty you tell.” And with this, the old Woods elf embraced little tree while dancing fairies sang songs of the wood bees.