New Year’s Tree

Hümeyra and Gönül were sisters. Hümeyra was two years older at the age of eight. For that reason, her mother always asked her to look after her sister when she was busy with housework. In the middle of the garden there stood a big apricot tree. It was so big that whenever it rained there never was any water gathering underneath its branches. Their neighbour’s Aunt Fatma’s son Aziz, who lived three door away was a university student. Once in a while, when he had some time, he used to build little earthen houses under the apricot tree for them to play. Gönül and Hümeyra used to gather little branches lying around. Aziz used to make little balconies, stairways and bunk beds with them. Hümeyra had a deep breath, it was cold and almost the beginning of winter. It was not possible to play under the tree any more. Actually, for a long time Hümeyra wanted to do something. Every New Year, she asked her father for a New Year’s tree, but sadly never got one. So she decided that she would do something about it!

A week before New Year’s, Aziz cut a tree that she thought would be a suitable one for the purpose, put it in water in a big tin pail, and helped the girls bring it to their room. Hümeyra went to the kitchen and came back with a couple of tangerines and a few walnuts in their shells. She cut paper hearts and took apart her sisters bracelet of colourful beads and put all of them on a string. She also brought out colourful birthday candles left over from the last birthday celebration. She, also made little birds from orange peels as her mother had taught her and beautifully decorated the tree as she had always wished.

She brought the tree to the living room after dinner and told her parents: “Mom, Dad, look at the New Year’s tree that I have made! May the butterfly I placed at the top be my wish for our New Year to be light, and as free as the orange peel birds surrounding it. May our days be as colourful as the beads, and the love we share as the paper hearts, and may the tangerines and the walnuts represent the plentiful foods we receive . May the candles in between give us constant light in our lives and the pine tree be the source of our health and well being.”

Her father was so amazed at this beautiful sight that he was speechless for few minutes. He gave her a big hug and promised that from then on he would get a New Year’s Tree every year!

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