The Laughing Tree

Dev and Joy were two brothers. Every morning, they would go for a walk in the park near their house. Sometimes their mother would go with them. Other days, their cousin Shuvro would accompany them.

Today was one of those days when Shuvro came along. The three of them walked down the street, chatting about school. “Dev, do you enjoy Miss Basu’s geography class?” Dev frowned and replied, “I don’t like geography.”

Shuvro looked surprised because geography was his favourite subject. “How can anybody dislike geography,” he thought. Joy opened his mouth to say something but was interrupted.

They heard a commotion inside the park. The guard stopped them from entering. “What is happening?” Shuvro asked.

“Some lady has complained to the police. She says that a tree spoke to her!”

Dev and Joy looked at each other wide-eyed. Shuvro asked the guard to stop joking. But he was not lying.

They stood in silence and strained their ears. “Officer, I am not ill. One of the trees spoke to me! “What did the tree say, ma’am?” The policeman grinned.

“It said…,” she stopped. “Actually, it laughed at me,” said the woman.

The police officer’s laughter could be heard far away. A crowd had gathered around the lady. Everybody was laughing. Some had tears in their eyes from laughing too hard.

The police left. The park was closed for the day. “Let’s go home,” Shuvro said. The other two didn’t want to go. “I want to see the laughing tree,” insisted Joy. Shuvro dragged them home.

That night, they couldn’t sleep. Shuvro, who shared the room with them, wanted to read his book in peace. “Go to sleep!” he scolded from behind his book. They didn’t answer him. Instead, he heard them whispering under the blanket.

When he woke up the next morning, Shuvro jumped out of bed — Dev and Joy were not in their beds! They never woke up before him — he would have to push them out of bed. Suddenly, he knew where they were. They must have gone to see the talking tree. Shuvro rushed to the park.

He was right. Joy and Dev were strolling through the park, stopping at every tree. Each time they stopped, they poked the tree with a pole and shouted up to the sky. Shuvro joined them. “Helloooo,” the boys said in chorus.

They greeted every tree in the park. By the time they reached the last tree, Dev had lost interest. “Let’s go now,” he said. This time Shuvro refused to leave. “Let us try one more time,” he said. So they did.

Joy and Shuvro shouted a greeting to every tree. Now Dev remained quiet. “We are being silly,” he said, with his arms crossed over his chest. They ignored him. “Laugh at me!” They screamed at the trees.

Soon they had reached the last tree again. Joy and Dev were ready to give up. Shuvro was disappointed. They were walking out of the park, exhausted from the hours of shouting and searching, when they heard it.

Ha ha ha!

They ran back into the park. Dev and Joy checked one half of the park while Shuvro checked the other. Both halves of the park were empty — except for the trees. The boys looked at each other and followed the laughter. When the laughter was right above their heads, they were standing under a guava tree. “We found it,” Joy jumped excitedly.

Shuvro was laughing along with the tree when a guava landed on his head. He fell down in surprise. Joy and Dev ran to him. They helped Shuvro get up. The laughter came closer. Shuvro had just stood up, when the boys saw a monkey run by them. The monkey was laughing.

First published in TeleKids (An ABP Group publication)

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