THE TREE HOUSE’s new paint sparkled in the morning sun. It was finished at last! It looked at the limbs that held it high off the ground. It looked at the leaves that shaded its deck. It felt proud and useful. It was ready for the first day of summer vacation.
“Hey, Tree. Wake up,” it said cheerfully.
“Ouch!” said THE OLD OAK TREE. “You are hurting me.”
“Oh, sorry!” said the Tree House lightly. “I’m just trying to get comfortable. Say, could you bend that limb down a little bit?”
“No!” growled the old Oak Tree, “I have arthritis in that limb, and my other limbs are stinging. Did you have to break off all those little branches? I was trying to make more shade over the children’s sandbox.”
“Hey, I’m sorry, Tree,” said the Tree House, “but that’s why I’m here too, for those kids. I’m here so they can have a special fun place to play this summer. Isn’t it great?”
“Humph,” grumbled the old Tree. “You didn’t ask how I felt about your being stuck in my innards.”
“Well, I sort of didn’t have a choice, you know,” explained the Tree House. “See the dad over there? He picked me up at the lumberyard. Then he laid out all my pieces on the ground over there. After that, he put me together up here. I didn’t ask to be built in your branches! But I’m glad I was. It’s wonderful up here. I can see for miles. You are so lucky to be in this yard.”
“I guess you’re right,” mumbled the old Tree, “but did you need all those nails? They’re pinching me in a few tender spots.”
“Sorry about that,” said the Tree House. “Do you think I like them? But the dad had to be sure, you know. He put in lots of nails, so the kids would be safe when they climb up here. You don’t want them falling out do you?”
“Of course not!” said the old Tree angrily. “I have always held the children safely in my strong branches.”
“I know, but now I’m going to make it fun for them to be up here,” said the Tree House with excitement. “They’ll have tea parties, and eat lunch on my sturdy floor. They’ll bring pillows and books and read for hours. They’ll play house, and school, and pirates, and space ship, and—
“Okay, okay,” agreed the old Tree. “I get the picture. Guess I can put up with a few pinches and twinges to make their playtime more fun.”
“Hey that’s great!” cried the Tree House. “We can be partners, okay? We can work together and make a really fun and safe place for the kids to play.” After a minute the Tree House added shyly, “You’re a good tree, you know. And you’re quite handsome too!”
“Thank you, Tree House” mumbled the old Tree, feeling warm in the sunshine, and the praise. “The dad did a fine job on you, too.” The Tree sighed as a breeze rippled its leaves. “We’ll make a good team.”
“Yeah, we will,” said the happy Tree House, settling in for the long summer.
“Ouch. Stop wiggling!” said the Tree.
“Sorry,” said the Tree House.