The Magnificent Weeping Willow Tree by Guadalupe Gonzales II

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We could hardly wait for grandpa to finally take his place on the old rocker. He finally sat himself down, put his spectacles on and snuggled back into his padded rocker. Tonight's story was entitled, The Magnificent Weeping Willow Tree. And so he began by going back to the time when he, his father and mother had first moved to this area. There were'nt too many "white folks" then, he said. It was mostly native people.

However, the white settlers began to arrive in larger numbers now and the natives delegated to move elsewhere because of the uneasiness and frequent skirmishes that would arise between them and the new settlers. I was still quite young, grandpa said, about the time my father befriended an old native man, who said that he had remained behind because he would not have survived the long grueling journey to a new settlement. He gave my father valuable advise on how to cultivate the land, which in turn my father paid him either with monies, or with crops. Then the old man told my father of a passage way, and of two tribes who were forever contesting it. This passage way lay between a precipitous dormant volcano of jagged rocks and ridges on the one side, and a raging river, which had formed from the melting snows of the mountains, on the other. The rapid waters of the river made it impossible to traverse, and the jagged cliffs on the other side, presented a very dangerous obtacle. This is why the passage way was so important. The only other option to pass from one side to the other was to go around the volcanic cliff. Bitter feelings and constant bickering escalated between the tribes as to who had the right to the passage way. They could not reach a satisfactory agreement and so a battle ensued. There was much loss of life, as well as much grief and sorrow. The two chiefs finally decided to come together in peace and decided that the passage way, a place of much blood shedding, would be proclaimed sacred ground. All the dead would be buried there. This ground would not be treaded on hereafter. During the first seven years of observance a majestic willow tree had thrusted upwards from the sacred ground. Its magnificent hanging strands encompassing the whole of the of passage way. It was regarded a living memorial.

The years passed and the white settlers kept coming in. Many were becoming tiresome of the necessity to go around the cliff. The settlers began to expound on the credibility of its presumed sacredness, insisting that it was not true at all, that it was just an "ole wives tale", not worthy of belief. If it was true, why had all the natives moved on to other settlements. Some settlers even went so far as to suggest, to the heads of the township, to uproot the tree altogether, and unobstruct the passage way.

However, the heads of the township, decided against it for now, because of some occurrences relating to the passage way which had not yet been satisfactorily put to rest. Several people had been found, as if strangled, on that very passage way. There was evidence of marks around their necks as if they had been lynched.

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