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The Wooden Warrior
The beautiful deep green leaves fluttered as a slight breeze blew. Its long, brown, sturdy trunk stood erect, as if it were a warrior in the old Cherokee army. But I knew it couldn’t stay here forever. Just like me, it was supposed to be uprooted and taken away from its homeland.
I stood up slowly, unable to move any faster in my stiff corset and enveloping skirts. Daddy said that we had to dress like the white people now, but I didn’t know that it would be so uncomfortable. I could practically feel the smooth leather dress that I used to own. It would stop just above the knee giving me all the freedom to run, jump, or dance. Now I was restrained to a pitiful waddle.
“Kara!” my father called in my new English name, “Pack up your things and get ready for supper. We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow.” Right we were going to be kicked off of our land by President Jackson. That sounds exciting. Obediently, I rushed inside our hut to begin supper.
Bang, bang! Saw… Saw… Aware of the commotion, I rushed outside to see my beautiful soldier, my tree, being cut down.
“Stop!” I shouted in the little English that I knew. They paid no attention to me as they continued to saw away.
“Please stop!” I screamed in my native language, not caring whether they understood me or not as I fell onto my knees sobbing. My father stepped up behind me, his black eyes softening to see me in such a state. He placed his hand on my shoulder, “Chiceda, there are plenty of trees out there. They just need that one to build their houses out here.” He used my real name? I nodded slowly and rose off of the ground. Walking over to the fallen tree, I put my arms around it remembering the times that I fell off of it, hid in it, and watched the sun rise and set in its tall branches.
“Goodbye.” I whispered to my last tie to my home. I plucked two branches off of the tree and walked back to my father.
“Here,” I said thrusting one of the branches into his brown calloused palms, “So you could remember too.” He looked at me with some admiration, but I walked back to the house to continue my packing.
“Wake up!” my father whispered shaking me awake. I awoke on the hard dirt floor and noticed that the normally cheerful and fur-draped walls were bare. It was time to move west.
Slowly, as if I was a machine, I grabbed my belongings and began to saddle my horse. As I was putting my foot into the stirrup, my father stopped me.
“I stayed up all night to make you this.” He gently placed an item into my tan hand. “You’ll always have this with you.” He went back to his horse, and I slowly looked down at the item in my palm. It was a beautiful pencil made from my tree, my warrior. Now wherever I go, I’ll always have him with me. Then I sat back and watched the sunrise with a branch; the one that will document my story.