The boys walked one on each side of their grandfather as they made their way down the cognac dirt trail thru the forest. Their dogs wandered about closely, sniffing through the grass and trees that lined the path back home.
“What a spectacle that sunset is,” said Ralla as he marveled at the pastel on the horizon as the sun was busy on its way illuminating the western sky.
“Grandpa, it’s just the sky. Why do you find it to be something special?” remarked Kuroff.
The grandfather had no response – not that it had any effect on the kids, anyway.
“What do you think about trees, Danzell?” asked Ralla.
Danzell laughed. “Eh, they are good for climbing, I suppose.”
“What if I told you that many of the seemingly mundane facets of life are actually sometimes the most intriguing?” said Ralla.
“Have either of you heard of the lei tree?”
Tree of Lei
“The lei tree? No,” said Kuroff.
“This tree blessed an entire valley of villages with the most fertile farming soil, the ripest fruits and an abundance of shade. It actually produced all kinds of fruit; each with its own unique succulence. Its branches served as arms open wide for any tender heart or weary traveler. Its sap provided the secret ingredient for teas of elixir,” claimed Ralla.
“What good was this tree for children like us, Grandpa?” Asked Danzell.
“Well, it was known for its ability to all with wisdom,” claimed Ralla.
Danzell and Kuroff cried, “Is that it?”
Right around this time the grandfather and his grandchildren reached their estate. Ralla’s wife and the boys’ grandmother, Kirsa, had prepared the boys a snack. The three took their treat and made way towards the backyard. Then, four of them and their dogs sat around the base of a shade tree.
“I was just now telling Danzell and Kuroff about the lei tree. In particular, I was mentioning that it was a fountain of wisdom for adolescents,” said Ralla.
“Ah, yes!” exclaimed Kirsa.
“This tree yielded many a tactical genius in battle, sages and medicine men.”
“These men were able to discern the correct path to take in order to carry out their highest ambitions.”
“Even the great Rama was known to frequent the tree in times of uncertainty.”
The boys squealed, “Rama!”
“The warrior Rama? The brave and noble prince of fair Ayodhya?” asked Kuroff.
“Yes, that Rama,” exclaimed Ralla.
“Well, can we visit this tree of lei that you speak of?” beseeched Danzell.
“If your mother permits,” responded Ralla.
“We’ll ask her when she comes by to pick you boys up in the morning.”
The boys, looking as desolate as could be, obliged and continued to eat their snack. Luckily, the boys were taxed by the walk to the Ganges and fell asleep with no problem. Danzell and Kuroff awoke the following morning to the smell of fresh eggs and toast.
The two hopped up as soon as they heard their mother, Sarep, speaking to their grandmother.
“Mom! Mom! Can we go with Grandpa to see the lei tree?” asked the kids.
“The lei tree? That will be quite the walk. Are you sure you want to trek such a distance?” said Sarep.
“Yes!” shouted the children as they jumped up and down.
“Well, go outside and find your grandfather boys,” said Kirsa.
Author’s note: I elected to write this story in third person to continue to add to my storybook. I found the story about the lei tree in the Khasi Folktale section of readings. I did change the original story by omitting the idea that the tree grew large and began to be destructive. Also, the actual story didn’t mention anything about the tree bearing fruit or providing people with wisdom. After reading the story of the lei tree and how stunning it was, I automatically thought that it would be a great fit for my storybook. Link to story: http://mythfolklore.blogspot.com/2014/07/khasithe-legend-of-iei-tree.html
Bibliography: Folktales of the Khasis by K.U. Rafy (1920).