Seed and Listen…

“The Chestnut Tree”

Once there was an old man who in the lovely month of June would pay a visit to a Chestnut tree that grew behind an old house he once lived in many years ago. Children would pop their happy, chubby faces over the fence and watch the man. Out of his jacket he would produce a bottle of fresh cream. He would then set a plastic bowl at the base of the tree. As he filled the bowl he would sing,

Dear Kitty, dear Kitty
Would you like some fresh cream?
Oh yes, Pim.
Oh yes, Pim.
I would love some fresh cream.

Then he would sit under the tree and close his eyes. The children thought him mad, but he always had a handful of fresh candies for them. They’d wait patiently until he was done resting underneath the Chestnut Tree. He then would hand out the candies to the eager children.

One of the newer children would always ask, “Why do you give the tree cream? It’s not a puss.” The old man would smile, “Oh, I’m just a silly old man and I’d rather do this then feed birds in the park. Wouldn’t you?” The children would look at him puzzled but would politely thank him for the deliciously wrapped treats.

Then he would slowly walk off with a sad smile on his face. This went on for many years and then one day the old man didn’t show up. After three years, the children who had grown accustomed to the Chestnut Tree Man slowly forgot about him and found other things to amuse themselves. They eventually grew up and one day had children of their own.

One of these children who had grown up and moved away had returned to the neighborhood to take over his family’s business next to the house with the Chestnut Tree in the backyard. It was a hot June evening and he was just falling asleep. He heard the leaves of the Chestnut Tree whisper, “I would like some fresh cream.” The man shook his head, “Oh, I must be tired.” But then he heard the strange leaf-like voice say again, “Yes, I would just love a fresh bowl of cream.”

The man then did something he normally would have never done if his wife had been there but she was with her family in the countryside. He went downstairs, grabbed a wooden bowl and a fresh bottle of cream. He slowly undid the clasp of the fence and walked up to the Chestnut Tree. He set the bowl down on the ground and slowly poured the fresh cream.

Just as he sat down thinking what a fool he was, a sudden gust of wind picked up and the Chestnut Tree’s leaves blew the most beautiful, soothing song. He smiled and remembered his childhood and the old man and he started to sing,” Dear Kitty, dear Kitty. Would you like some fresh cream?”

Suddenly a young girl’s voice answered back, “Oh yes, Pim. Oh yes, Pim. I would love some fresh cream.” He opened his eyes terrified but there was no girl there, just the tree swaying in the evening breeze. He looked down and was terrified to see that the bowl was completely empty. He quickly got up and hurried back to his house. He tried not to think about it and even went so far as to never mention it to his wife.

They were happy together for many years, but sadly she passed away at a rather young age and he was left alone. One day, the young man was an old man and all of the new neighborhood children would gather and poke their candy mouths over the fence and watch him bring a bowl of fresh cream and lay it before the Chestnut Tree.

The man would always take one sip and then smile and sing,

Underneath your Chestnut Tree.
Dear Kitty, dear Kitty you have set me free.
Underneath your Chestnut Tree.
Dear Kitty, dear Kitty
I can now see.
Underneath your Chestnut Tree.
Dear Kitty, dear Kitty
I am now made of three.

He would then smile and hand out the candies to the children on a lovely day in June.

1887 Chestnut Tree in Bloom oil on canvas

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