Reading Short Story 6

Frangipani : 2  




English Translation:

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.................... a young lad chasing my friends in this very front yard. I felt happy each time I thought about my childhood, a childhood full of warmth and happiness. I wanted those times to return once again. I wasn’t concerned about the loss of a few tamarind pods when the children tried to pluck them, but it did worry me to see them climbing the tree or throwing a club at a branch to knock some pods down. Many times I yelled at them: "Be careful, you might fall! Look out or that club’s going to fall on your head!"

After my warning, there would be a brief silence. The ones who were up in the tree came down and those who were throwing the stick dropped it. But as soon as my back was turned, the cheery noise would begin again. I used to tell them that this tamarind tree was near a road, so it belonged to everybody. We should all share it, not destroy it. It enriched our lives and our city. Wherever there was a tree, there was happiness.

For a long time, my life was tied to this tamarind tree. I was happy when it was in full bloom. I felt empty when it shed its leaves. I loved all the greenery and wished all the streets in Viengchan’ were lined on both sides with trees. Then no matter which direction we looked, we would see nothing but trees. It would be a city of freshness and cleanliness indeed.

One day, when I returned from work, I came home to sorrow. The tamarind tree had been cut down.  Only the stump was left, knee-high. The branches lay in a pile on the ground. The front yard was empty. It was breezier and easy to see into the distance, but I felt a void in my heart, a huge loss. I stood there, dumbfounded. At the end of the alley, where it joined the main road, I saw two trees still standing. Only their top branches had been chopped off, but all the other trees lay felled along the street. I ran into the house to ask what had happened.

"Who cut the trees along the street today?"

"Some contractors. They said the trees were in the way of the power lines!" replied my wife.


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