Hi everyone! I spent the last few weeks preparing for Latin Convention (a place where Latin students take tests, give speeches in Latin, and do other nerve-wracking things). Now that I’m back and done with Latin Convention forever, I hope to blog a little more regularly!
One of the categories I enterted at this convention was modern myth; mine won first place in my grade. So here it is…I hope you enjoy it!
Why the Leaves Fall
by Emma Clifton
Earth had grown tired of shivering with cold each winter. She wished to make a blanket to cover herself during the cold months, but where in the world could such a large expanse of material be found?
She found her solution in the trees’ leaves. They were soft, green, and so lovely looking. Surely they would make a suitable coat for her. However, the trees were known to be protective of their leaves. Leaves were the most important part of their appearances and thus the trees guarded their leaves closely. So Earth began to concoct a plan to steal their leaves. It was widely known that the trees were vain; they bent and danced in the wind, gracefully displaying their beauty. They wept when a gust of wind or a careless child broke off their limbs. A blemish on their beautiful image was a deep wound to them.
“I will have to appeal to their vanity,” Earth thought, “to make them give up their leaves. But how?”
The answer came to her when she heard one group of trees boast.
“Our leaves are a vivid dark purple,” the plum trees said, fanning out their leaves for the other trees to see. “Unlike your ordinary green leaves, maples and oaks.”
The trees with green leaves murmured among themselves, despairing of their unexceptional nature. And thus Earth began to concoct her plan. She would make a potion to change the colors of leaves; but it would also make the leaves fall off. Seeking the most vivid colors, she gathered the glow of fire and lava. From deep within herself, she extracted the red of rubies and the brilliance of gold. Earth mixed these components, boiling and brewing the bright colors together. But she added one more thing: a little draught from Death himself, which would make the leaves die and fall.
The next morning she brought her potion to the trees as they were continuing their argument.
“Oh trees,” she called, “I have a potion that can make your leaves as radiant as the rays of the sun. The whole forest will appear on fire. Kings will prefer to hold court beneath your branches and princes will abandon their golden halls.”
The trees inspected Earth’s potion with curiosity, murmuring among themselves. At first they were suspicious; they knew Earth’s reputation for trickery.
”Do you doubt my good will?” Earth asked, feigning offence. “If you do not want this potion, I shall offer it to the plum trees. Maybe they will be more grateful.”
“No, no!” the green trees cried instantly. Their branches bent down towards Earth, reaching and grabbing for the potion. “Give it to us, give it to us!”
And so Earth allowed them to absorb her potion through their roots. Immediately their leave began to glow like fire; patches of red, orange, and yellow dappled the forest. A chorus of happy sighs filled the air as the trees began to compare and boast about their new colors.
But one type of tree did not fall for Earth’s trickery: the grisly pine trees, wise and plain, knew the true plans of Earth and did not accept her potion. That is why, until Death takes them, pine trees always stand tall and green, never giving up their needles to the earth.
The trees’ elation soon ended when they felt the stems of their leaves grow weak. Soon their precious possessions began to fall to the ground. The trees shivered as the cold winter wind bit into their bark. But Earth laughed and snuggled against her new blanket of leaves.
Seeing this, the trees realized they had been tricked.
“You poisoned us with your concoction and have stolen our leaves!” they cried to her, but she didn’t listen. Their complaints continued and became so loud they reached Sky. He looked down over the trees and Earth.
“What is the commotion?” Sky asked groggily.
The trees clamored for justice. “She stole our leaves!” they shouted, pointing down at cozy Earth with their branches. “Make it right, make it right!”
Earth smiled demurely. “But I get so cold in the winter and I spend all year supplying you with nutrients, trees. Surely you don’t mind lending me your leaves for the winter; you can always grow new ones in the spring.”
And so Earth and the trees presented their grievances and began to argue; Sky growled.
“Stop!” he yelled. “I believe Earth does have a point; she deserves a little thanks for her many gifts to you. So, before each winter, she will make your leaves turn glorious colors and you will give them up to her when they die. And Earth,” he said, giving her a stern look, “Do not antagonize the trees anymore.”
Though the trees grumbled at this conclusion, they respected Sky’s authority. And so that is why, every autumn, the leaves turn colors and fall to the ground.