The Caimito Tree


A strange dream I had last night

The Caimito Tree

Four children, two girls and two boys play around an old, massive caimito tree. Slowly, they declare that there is something strange about the tree.  They go around and around the tree, trying to figure what exactly is strange about the tree until finally, they decide to climb it.

They soon realize the tree is a nice place to stay in. After all, what is so strange about a plain caimito tree? Wasn’t it that the balete tree was the strange one? Of course this beautiful caimito tree cannot be haunted. It was so nice up there that they could not, or would not, go down. From time to time, a kindly thin black man in a grey suit and hat sits by the tree and talks with them, telling them so and so stories.

Admiring the strong branches of the tree, the Big Girl finds a smallish branch and declares, “Oh, this is the kind that one could tie a rope around so you can make a swing. “ It was small enough that she can grab unto it with her hands, unlike most branches of the tree that you need your arms to go around. She touches it and the branch breaks off in her hand. She keeps trying to find a part of the branch strong enough for her to swing on but the branches keep breaking off.

The Big Boy laughs at her. She doesn’t mind and laughs along, forgetting about her desire to swing.

They find other children playing among the roots of the tree. The four call out to them, saying how nice it was to climb up. The children below simply look up, and then walk away.

The Little Girl recognizes one of the children playing among the roots as her playmate from school. She was also little, just about Little Girl’s age. “Little Friend, come up here! It is very nice!” Her Little Friend just looked up and walked away.

The Little Girl got furious that her friend was leaving her. She quickly climbed down the tree and followed her friend.

“No! Stop!” cried the Kindly Black Man.

But his warning came too late. The Little Girl stepped beyond the shade of the tree. She reached for Little Friend’s shoulder, asking her to turn around. As her Little Friend turned around, she didn’t look like a kid at all. She looked like a grandma!

The Little Girl shrieked in fear. She was gently carried back to the Caimito Tree by the Kindly Black Man.  She was crying and trembling. The other three children hugged her to give her comfort.

The Little Girl was never the same. She kept calling other children who played among the roots of the tree. But she did not have the courage to climb down again.

One day, the Kindly Black Man came with a small white silk box with silver trim. He said, “Little Girl, I can help you find your friends beyond this tree. But you have to do exactly as I say.”

The Little Girl agreed and was very excited. The Kindly Black Man asked her to close her eyes. Suddenly, she knew she was inside the small white silk box with silver trim. She was not surprised but simply let the Kindly Black Man carry her.

“I’m coming with you.” said the Big Girl.

The Kindly Black Man agreed. Instead of having the Big Girl hide inside the box with the Little Girl, he just let her walk beside him.

And so they walked beyond the shade of the Caimito Tree.

The Big Girl and the Kindly Black Man came upon a sharp curve down the road. Driving thru it were plenty of cars: some with passengers, some with none, some with drivers, some with none, but all of them driving slowly down the road. Some of the people in the cars stared back at the little girl. She found that very strange indeed. Shouldn’t they keep their eyes on the road?

The Big Girl looked up to the Kindly Black Man for an explanation but he gave her none. They simply continued walking.

They continued walking until they came upon a lowly cottage. Inside was dark, cramped but cozy. The Kindly Black Man opened the box and out came the Little Girl.

The trio sat around a dark oval narra table, playing with some toys. The Big Girl had an assortment of odds and ends. The Little Girl had plastic hollowed figures of fish, food and other random things, all orange and bright.

Next to the table were a few steps leading up to a wooden sliding door. It didn’t really look like a door but rather a big portion of the wall sliding away, leading to the next room.

The Big Girl’s name was called.

She simply stood up, left her things on the table and went up the steps. She turned around, hesitating and sighed. She bid goodbye to the Kindly Black Man and thanked him. The Little Girl was too busy playing with her orange plastic things to even look up.

The Big Girl then slid the door open and stepped inside the room.

Several other people entered the cottage. They all stared at the Little Girl’s set of orange plastic toys.

Alarmed, the Kindly Black Man whispered, “Little Girl, it’s time to go.” And he began helping her tidy up her toys.

“No!” the Little Girl yelled. She was too busy playing.

The other people in cottage began reaching for the orange plastic toys. The Little Girl screamed in anger.

The Kindly Black Man sighed and gently placed the Little Girl back into the box. It wasn’t yet time, after all.

They returned to the Caimito Tree.

To this day, you may find the three playing among the strong branches of the Caimito Tree: the Big Boy, the Little Boy and the Little Girl.

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