Yesterday I told my first story at the Green Dragon. It is a story which my pa told me when I was a wee lassie: Once there was a hill with two trees. The trees were quite different from each other: the other was a massive and sturdy oak tree, and the other a small, thin cherry tree. The heavy oak tree creaked in the wind, but the cherry tree sung merrily in the breeze, its leaves flapping. Even though these trees were so different from each other, they two were deeply in love with each other. The oak tree provided some shelter for the cherry tree, when it rained and thundered. The cherry tree cheered the big oak tree when the weather was dull. They were happy together, on that hill they shared. But one day, the happy love met its end. A company of foresters came and felled the cherry tree, because they needed some cherry wood for their woodwork. The oak tree watched how they cut down the cherry tree and took it away. It couldn't do anything against it. 'I am a mere tree, rooted into the ground. I cannot stop them in any way,' it thought sadly. And alas, the oak tree was all alone on that hill. Alone and angry. A silent wrath begun to build inside the oak tree. It hated everything around it. It had lost its love, and it was unable to forgive it to the world. Every time a squirrel, a bird or any other creature tried to climb up the tree, the tree whipped them down with its branches and drove them away. After a while, no creature came up that hill anymore. The oak tree stood there alone, dwelling in its anger. Then one day, a young hobbit lad climbed up the hill. The oak tree thought it was another of them foresters, but the lad didn't have an axe, nor did he seek lumber. The lad stood there for while, peering at the distance. The oak tree looked at him with suspicion. When the oak tree had grown tired of him and wanted to throw one of his acorns at him, the lad whistled and waved at someone he had seen. A young hobbit lass came running up the hill. She run up to the lad and threw her arms around him and kissed him. The two lovers talked, held hands and smiled. But for most of the time, they just sat there together on the grass, looking at each other. After that, the oak tree saw them come to the hill almost every day. The lovers talked about many things - about how their parents were against their relationship, but how they would still marry each other one day. They talked about having children, a burrow of their own, and other dreams they shared. The oak tree observed it all with amazement. Slowly, its frozen heart began to melt. Then one day, the two lovers fell asleep under the oak tree, and a storm rose. It was a terrible and powerful summer storm, thunder and lightning, strong winds and piercing rain. When the couple woke up, it was too late to return back safely. 'What to do now?' the lass cried. 'What if the lightning strikes us here up here, on the hill?' The lad tried to calm her down, but there was fear in his eyes as well. The oak tree realized their distress, and it wanted to help. 'This time', it thought, 'I won't stay still and watch love die. I have to do something.' And so it did. The oak tree gathered all its strength and begun to bend itself towards the ground. The hobbit lass saw what was happening. 'Look!' she shouted. 'The tree is falling!' 'No, it's not falling,' the lad said. 'It is bending itself against the wind, that's unnatural.' ' As if it's doing it on purpose,' the lad whispered. When the branches of the tree reached the ground, the roots couldn't hold it to the ground any longer. They sprang up from the earth, leaving the tree lying loose. The hobbit lad got an idea. 'We can hide beneath the tree's branches. They'll provide us a great shelter.' And so they crawled beneath the branches, holding on to the trunk. And luckily, they survived the storm, thanks to the fallen tree. When the storm was over, the two emerged from their shelter, safe and sound. Before returning to their homes, the lad looked at the oak tree. 'Thank you,' he whispered, not knowing, if the tree was even still alive. Next day, the lovers decided to return to the hill and pay homage to its great sacrifice which had saved them both. But when they went up the hill, the tree was gone. There was only a massive hole in the ground where the tree had stood, no roots or branches to be seen. No one was sure what happened to it, but as you may know, sometimes even trees can act strangely. After a while, there was a big fuss in one of the Southfarthing villages. A great oak tree had emerged from out of nowhere, standing in the middle of the main square. People felt a bit anxious about it for a while, but they got used to it. Birds and squirrels loved that tree, and it provided a great shelter for the rain. The village folk made it their party tree, and numerous festivities took place around that tree. The people used to say it was the happiest tree of them all. It really seemed to love all the music and life that surrounded it. And indeed, it was the happiest tree of them all. Maybe it's the tree in your village, who knows?