The Name Tree
Updated: Feb 22
The snow landed graciously on the black trees, it had covered the floor completely overnight, and now covered everyone present like a cloak. There were four people gathered around the big and ancient Name Tree. Instead of fruits or flowers, names bloomed in its branches showing that a new life came into existence. Nico and Kao took 2 steps closer to the tree, and instantly the snow melted, bright green grass sprouted creating a bed ornate with small black flowers in the perfect size to place their daughter. And so they did. The baby cooed but didn’t cry. Mevi, who was only younger than the tree was the only one who realized something was different this time. She had seen many name rituals, in all seasons, and, indeed, the tree always welcomed the babies, it never let them lay on the cold, but Mevi was sure that she had never seen the tree make grass regrow and flowers bloom for a baby. Mevi let out a deep breath, wondering what could be waiting for her granddaughter, and was amused by the fact that Nico and Kao were so focused on their baby that they didn’t show any surprise. Maybe they thought it was normal, after all, it was the first time they witnessed the naming ritual being old enough to remember.
The Name Tree shook, making the tiniest bit of snow, fall on the baby’s nose, the baby found it funny and smiled slightly. Nico and Kao exchanged proud and happy looks, then they returned their focus to the majestic tree, that was now growing a new branch, forming dark letters as it grew. The first letter to appear was M, the next was Y, and then U, they thought that was another letter coming for a second…but it stopped. Nico and Kao let a small gasp out: they loved their daughter’s name. Mevi smiled too, almost forgotten about the strangeness of this ritual.
Nico and Kao bowed three times to the tree and offered fresh papyrus and a splash of ink, so it could keep writing life, as tradition demanded. Then Nico held the baby and they got up and walked towards Mevi, but before the three of them could take another step away from the tree and back to their houses a whisper echoed on their ears.
They looked around, scared, not recognizing the voice. The grass-filled spot where Myu laid a few seconds ago grew bigger and wider until all around the tree roots looked like spring had happened. There were small black flowers all around and the tree glowed silver between its veins making the snow melt, showering Nico, Kao, and Mevi with the most beautiful rain, never touching Myu.
- Life and death, writing and erasing when the two ends of a line come together in a cycle either creation or destruction happens. Be wise, Myu.
And just as fast as it had happened the tree turned dark and everything started to get covered in snow again. Now Nico, Mevi, and Kao were completely shocked, they looked at each other almost asking for the other to say it didn’t happen. But they all saw it, they all heard it. The only person not phased by this rather rare and dubious prophecy was the same person the prophecy was about: Myu. The baby played with Nico’s hair, happily. Nico brought his baby closer to his heart, Kao hugged him and Mevi put one hand over Kao’s shoulder. Together they walked back to the village in silence. The sun was finally rising, but they didn’t meet anyone on their way home.
When they reached their pale yellow house, Mevi opened the door, followed by Nico and Kao along with Myu. They put Myu on her crib, changed into warm and dry clothes, and gathered in front of the fire, tea in hands.
- Was it the voice of the tree?- Kao was the first to talk.
- I believe so. I’ve heard of prophecies, but never lived one. - Said Mevi, staring at her tea
- It sounded more like a piece of advice. - Said Nico.
- A warning. - Kao agreed. - I believe that not even the Name Tree can know what the future is.
- But it sees what the future can be. Maybe it sees possibilities and warns when we have the power to create a better future. - Said Mevi.
- Or the power to destroy it. - Said Nico, pessimist.
- I just hope we can guide Myu to the best path… - Kao looked at Myu, who was peacefully unaware of her importance.