Friday Fictioneers – The Healing Tree

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!


The Healing Tree

That night the pain was worse. I silenced my cowardly groans, biting hard on a willow twig.

Our shaman nodded at me next morning.

“You are sick,” he said. “You must go to the Tree of Healing.”

“What do I do there?” I asked.

“It is your presence that heals, not what you do. Go!”

I walked. On the second day there was blood in my mouth. I kept walking.

On the third day, I saw the tree; I saw a light, brighter than the sun; I heard chanting voices.

The light faded and I fell.

The pain was gone!

Inlinkz – click here to join the fun!

51 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – The Healing Tree

    • Thank you for the comment, CE. When you refer to a paracetamol tree, are you comparing the Healing Tree with the willow twig that he chews in the opening paragraph? It would be appropriate since, as you probably know, willow twigs contain aspirin!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your very thoughtful comment, Linda. What happened next? Well, first of all, the reader decides for herself, because the text of the story doesn’t say. Nevertheless, look at the clues in the text.
      “That night” implies that there have been other nights of severe pain. The MC has to stifle cowardly groans. He’s ill enough for the shaman to realise. On his journey to the Tree, he finds blood in his mouth. He sees a bright light that fades as he collapses. What circumstances would tie all those elements together without there being any miracle?
      The author’s view is not optimistic!
      With very best wishes

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad of that, Linda. I had been starting to think the clues weren’t strong enough! Thank you for letting me know – all constructive criticism is warmly welcomed. Thank you, too, for your courtesy in not revealing your insight into my back story in your first comment.
      With very best wishes

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the helpful comment, Ali. You are quite right – that was the conclusion of the story in my mind. However, the text doesn’t say so, hence the reader can imagine a happy ending if they prefer!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. My first impulse was: kick that shaman out. Poor sick person, full of hope… sure, the pain stopped. But going through all this pain and misery of the journey… I still want to kick the shaman out. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your indignant comment, Gabi!. Seriously, though, the shaman is all the medical help the tribespeople have. Would you prefer to exhaust yourself journeying to the Healing Tree, or lie in your wigwam in agony for the last few weeks of life? How would you prefer people to remember you – a brave warrior who fought to the end, or a coward who died snivelling?
      But, even more seriously ( 😉 ), thank you for being emotionally involved by my story. That’s good to know!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Heheh. What I would want? The truth. And then, if I want to die in nature, prepare and be accompanied by family or friends. Or, if there aren’t any, get drugs and drift away without pain. Every culture I can think of has potent drugs. Nature provides. 😉 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sadly I read a finality to this journey… Aspirin and good quality Chicken soup, are great medicines. One note of caution Aspirin can badly damage the stomach


    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Liz, and also for the stimulating prompt photo. I think you’re right about the gates of Paradise. It will be wonderful to see them and know we will soon be with Jesus.


    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Subroto. The text of the story doesn’t say whether the protagonist got healed in the end, so you can choose for yourself! In my version of the story he dies at the tree, but is free of pain, and tranquil.


  3. I wondered whether you were consciously influenced by WH Hudson’s ‘A Crystal Age’, which concludes with a similar pain remedy.


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