The Tragedy of the StickertreeOnce upon a time, there was a tree. The tree was special, and it was alone. It lived with its mundane brethren and watched life parade around it. In its youth birds tried alighting in its branches, but they did not stay, and in time no animal came near the tree. One day, a young woman came to the glen by accident, for it was in an obscure place, and no man had been there and cared enough to tell of it. She spied the tree, the special tree, and sat beneath it; she let go a heavy breath and slept beneath it. When she awoke, she felt as though a whole night's sleep had filtered through her, and she returned home, light as down on the breeze.
For years, the woman would come under the tree to rest. She was a teacher, she was, at a schoolhouse nearby; and though she was gentle, she was under great stress, for the children were an unruly bunch. She was glad to live a spartan life, for it was her dream to t