Once upon some time, a very long time ago actually, in that land of the rising sun- also known as Japan, in a small village that was near Tokyo there lived a boy. There lived a boy and a tree. There lived a boy and a willow tree to be exact. The willow tree wept, but only some of the time.
The rest of the time the tree was very happy, you see- almost jubilant in fact, because of the boy that would visit the tree.
Lee was the boy’s name, Andrew Lee, and he would play songs on a stringed instrument that would most resemble an ukulele now a days.
Andy, as he was called, would read aloud from his favorite books to the tree, whom he called Laury. Other times he would simply fall asleep beneath her shade.
Andy thought that the tree was special; and so she was, in more ways than he knew.
Today Andy read out loud: “For life be, after all, only a waitin’ for something else than what we’re doin’; and death be all that we can rightly depend on.” He paused after that and somberly reflected on the meaning. A chill wind blew by just then that made the hairs on the back of his neck stand tall. He rested the book face down upon one of Laury’s protruding roots and faced her trunk.
“What do you think of that, Laury?” he whispered to her.
Laury did not reply, but the cold wind continued to blow and played with Andy’s hair; and he imagined that she was telling him things that she wanted only him to know-things that were sacred. So in a way, to Andrew at least, she did reply.
“Yeah, it’s pretty cold, I know.” Andrew said in a funny voice that he imagined would make her smile… if she had a mouth… and smiled himself as he picked up the book (Bram Stoker’s Dracula) from her exposed roots. He carefully closed the book and put it in his satchel. Leaning back into Laury, began to drift off into sleep.
Many years passed much this same way until one day Andrew had become a man. He did not notice exactly when this had happened, it just did.
Then there came one day in Andy’s manhood when a carpenter from a near-by village came to his home and said to him:
“I am building a bridge to connect the Waga village to Saka town and would like to use your willow tree.”
Andy would not even consider the idea and refused the man of outright, as he had grown up with the tree since childhood. The carpenter went away very disappointed.
One day Andrew was walking home and saw a very beautiful woman standing beside the weeping willow tree. Her hair was long and black- with a greenish shine as it blew in the wind.
Andrew slowly approached the woman and when he was just almost upon her, she turned to face him. He was paralyzed immediately by her sudden movement and confident gaze. Her slit, green eyes, he noticed, were like the dragon’s- creamy jade.
“Who-?” he began.
“I am Laurel Furuyama.” she replied to his inquiry before it was even fully made, and continued: “But you may call me Laury.” Andrew’s felt his heart skip a beat. ‘Laury?’ he wondered.
The two talked for many hours and as the sun was beginning to set, Laury moved very close to Andy and looked deeply into his eyes.
“Will you marry me, Andy?” she asked him. He agreed without questioning the suddenness of the proposal.
Laury Furuyama became Laury Lee when they were married at the end of the very same month, which was in May.
On a particularly cold day many months later, the carpenter came back to Andrew again and said, “I am almost finished with the bridge, Mister Lee, and-” Knowing what the request of the carpenter would be even before the carpenter could finish speaking, Andrew said to him: “You may have the willow tree, I have no more use for it.”
Astonished, the carpenter asked: “Why the change of heart, if I may ask?”
“I have found something much better than the tree. Something more…alive.” Andrew replied.
“Very good.” said the carpenter, much pleased.
Later that evening Laury fell very ill, and took to lying in bed. Andrew attended to her with much concern. She pulled her husband close and told him, “There is nothing you can do for me my love, I am dying.”
Andrew began to protest, but she interrupted him saying,
“I am the spirit of the tree, Andrew.” He stood looking at her with mouth ajar. Laury continued, “You loved me so much while I was a tree that I came to human form to love you in the best possible way.”
Andrew started to get up, he wanted to run out to where the carpenter was cutting down his wife…to stop the carpenter from cutting the willow.
“It is too late, my love.” She spoke softly. “I will always be with you. Please never weep for me again.”
Then Laury’s human body died. Andrew was sad, but he did not weep, for he felt her spirit within him.
A few days later Andrew died of unknown causes. Some say it was from a broken heart.