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Finding Tree Love

Funny, spiritual and romantic fantasy

with sprinkles of passion

When Prince Rupert of Deer Wonderland Kingdom travels on horseback to the depths of the forest on his 30th birthday, little does he know that he shall stay there imprisoned as an oak.

Will he find a way to free himself from the spell?

Will he adapt to the new circumstances of being now part of the forest?

Will he find true love with beautiful Amara whom he madly falls in love with?

Be transformed to the enchanted forest and experience all the ‘unseen’ for the human eye.

Learn about the power of true love and how important it is to surrender to what happens in life

in order to find the key to true happiness.

What do the readers say?

It is like some of the old fairy tales written by the Grimm brothers, very creative and intriguing but with a lot of modern twists and turns, especially with some sexy bits. I absolutely enjoyed the story and I think it would be a fantastic movie. The ending is not what you might expect! 5 stars! Well done! – Ron

***

I felt completely transformed into a world that seems so close but far at the same time. I laughed out loud a few times and the use of humour with animals is fabulous. Initially, it seems like a simple story but it has so many reflections about life and love that it will make you wonder about your own existence a lot. For me, the author did such a great job with the psychological side of being trapped in circumstances that we cannot change easily so I can congratulate the achievement. It’s something you haven’t read before. ‘ – Marta

***READ THE FIRST CHAPTER FOR FREE***

Contents

Chapter 1- I AM A TREE

Chapter 2 – ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY YEARS YOUNG

Chapter 3 – ETHEREAL BEAUTY

Chapter 4 – QUACK

Chapter 5 – MASTER TREE

Chapter 6 – INVISIBLE

Chapter 7 – TROLLS

Chapter 8 – CRADLE

Chapter 9 – STAR

Chapter 10 – WRONG TREE

Chapter 11 – JINGLE NUTS

Chapter 12 – RIVER TRIP

Chapter 13 – DRIFTING AWAY

Chapter 14 – LIGHTNING

Chapter 15 – I AM DANGEROUS

Chapter 16 – SACRIFICE

Chapter 17 – WEEPING WILLOW

Chapter 18 – TRUTH

Chapter 19 – TO LOVE IS TO LET LIVE

Chapter 20 – TREE MASTERS

Chapter 21 – FOREST MOTHER

Chapter 22 – MOONLIGHT DANCE

Chapter 23 – ACORN

Chapter 24 – BUTTERFLY

Chapter 25 – BURNING FOR YOU

Chapter 26 – EAGLE WINGS

Chapter 27 – CROSSROADS

Chapter 28 – THE END IS THE BEGINNING

EPILOGUE

Chapter 1

I AM A TREE

‘If you’ve ever thought you had a bad day

imagine turning into a tree

and…

think again.’

– Rupert

Once upon a time, in a kingdom far, far away, or maybe not that far, depending on where you are really, there lived a prince whose name was Rupert.

He was the only son to the King and Queen of Deer Wonderland Kingdom, where thousands of deer lived in the surrounding forest in peace and harmony, protecting their territory and females. The males had the biggest antlers imaginable, allowing them to scare off even the most dangerous predators. The deer were under the king’s protection and anyone who would do any harm to them would be captured and put into prison for life. Nobody in the whole kingdom had therefore ever tried killing a deer, petrified of this severe punishment.

Prince Rupert, a rather handsome, dark-haired, and brown-eyed young man, had a kind and caring nature thanks to his parents’ loving upbringing. He was, however, a bit temperamental and spoilt due to his various privileges from birth. He enjoyed riding his horse into the depths of Deer Wonderland forest where trees were tall, streams were flowing with crystal clear water, and animals such as hares, beavers, foxes, bears, birds, and of course deer, lived in perfect harmony. Rupert quite liked nature and one day he had an urge to venture out to the depths of the forest to test his new bow and arrows, the gifts that he had received from the king for his thirtieth birthday. The bow was gilded with golden eagles and the arrows were made of pure silver, shining in the sunlight. The king told him that the arrows should only be used in mortal danger but on that warm and humid summer evening having noticed a perfect spot, Rupert decided to try it out. He got off his dark horse, pulled back the arrow in the bow, aimed at the old oak tree standing majestically on the other side of the stream, and just as he had let the arrow go, confident that it would hit right in the middle of it, a huge deer ran in front of it and stopped as if it grew into the ground, piercing Rupert’s eyes with his huge, sparkling eyes. The deer’s gigantic antlers were glowing with warm, blue light as if they were set on fire, which merged with the sky. A blue butterfly was flying around its head, glowing with a pulsating light of different shades of blue. Staring at Rupert, the deer did not move an inch, as if it knew that his death was inevitable and he was ready for it. In that split second, which seemed like an eternity for both of them, the silver arrow pierced the deer right into his heart and he fell on the ground with a big thump making his antlers stop glowing with the blue light and the butterfly fly away into the crowns of the trees.

Rupert was horrified, taking a big gasp of air. He would have never wanted to kill a deer, not in a million years. He felt great sadness and tears swelled up in his eyes. A moment later, his feet started to sink into the ground, as if he was now standing in the middle of a swamp, getting trapped in a muddy soil that turned solid once his ankles were buried into it. He was now unable to move. Looking in front of him, he saw an old man in a long brown cloak and a hood which was covering the majority of his long grey hair, holding a long, wooden stick emerging from behind the trees. His pale, wrinkled face was expressionless and his cold, lifeless green eyes were fixed at Rupert’s.

‘Why did you kill the deer?’ he asked without even blinking an eye in a low but firm voice that could move a mountain.

‘It was an accident, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to. I was aiming at the tree and the poor creature just ran in front of it. I would never kill a deer on purpose’ Rupert quickly replied in a shaky voice, feeling guilty for what he had done.

‘You will be punished for it,’ the man replied in a voice that gave Rupert shivers through his body.

‘Me?? Oh, no! You don’t understand. I’m the king’s son and I know my father very well. I know what the punishment for killing a deer is but he will not put me into prison because of this… little accident. He loves me and wants me to be the king when he dies’ Rupert replied, gasping for air, feeling his pounding heart in his chest as if it wanted to jump out but he still tried to keep a brave face.

‘The king is fair and he treats everyone in his kingdom the same way,’ the man replied ‘and therefore, you will be punished’ the man continued with his statement, mercilessly.

‘I will explain everything to him and he will understand. He is my father. He gave me this arrow for my birthday. He loves me and cares for me!!’ Rupert exclaimed in a more desperate and pleading voice this time.

‘You will not have a chance to explain it to him,’ the man continued ‘you shall stay here… forever!’ the man added, making the word ‘forever’ sound as if it was the scariest word in the world.

‘What do you mean… forever? Why? How?’ exclaimed Rupert frantically but the old man swiftly turned around and disappeared behind the trees.

Unable to move his feet which were now stuck firmly in the ground, Rupert called for his horse.

‘Helios, come here buddy, come closer, please! I can’t move, can’t you see? You need to come here and help me!’ Rupert shouted but the strong wind started to move the leaves of all the surrounding trees and huge dark clouds covered the whole sky as if the night had suddenly fallen.

Rupert looked at his feet stuck in the ground which were now turning into long tree roots, quickly growing into the area around him and his legs turning into a massive tree trunk.

‘Oh no! What’s happening to me??? Help!!!??’ he screamed in panic one last time before his whole body turned into a tall oak.

The branches were slowly getting covered in millions of green leaves and the roots were now stuck deep into the ground. Rupert opened his eyes, or rather two small cracks in the bark, and his heart sunk from despair.

‘I am a tree??? Nooo!! That’s impossible!! Oh God, this is only a bad dream and I’m going to wake up from it any minute. This is only a bad dream!!!’ he exclaimed, stuttering in despair from a large brown huba, a crescent-shaped fungus, which was now his mouth. The smaller huba, just above his new mouth, became his nose.

‘Oh no, I have no hands, no hands!’ he exclaimed in horror when he tried to move but all that he could see was two of his biggest branches moving slowly, making a crackling and swooshing sound.

He then saw the same old man slowly emerge from behind the trees and stand right in front of him. He was accompanied by a group of giant spiders following him, which freaked Rupert out even more because he had never been fond of spiders, especially gigantic ones. The dark thick fog surrounded them now and the old man spoke again, having taken his hood off his silver hair.

‘I told you that you will be punished. These are the ancient rules of the forest. The king does not need to punish anyone and put them in prison for killing a deer. It is only a myth. Forest Mother does justice for him and she is always fair and she is always right. She is more powerful than the king. Because she rules all the forests of the world. This is the unspoken rule which the king knows about and approves of. He respects nature because he knows its immeasurable and still undiscovered powers. Nature needs to be respected and deer cannot be killed just for fun. Especially Matras, the Deer King himself, the biggest and bravest leader of the herd. Now the forest needs a new leader and it’s not going to be easy to replace such a strong, fair and wise deer. The herd will be without a good leader until a new one is selected in Deer Games, where the young and strong males will be fighting for the title and the privilege. You really don’t know what you have done. Each action has its consequences and you need to bear yours now. It’s called karma. God have mercy upon your soul and…well, good luck!’ the old man said with a less scary but still a low and firm voice.

‘I’m sorry, I really am, what else can I do? Where is she? That Forest Mother! I need to speak to her immediately! I will explain that it’s all one big mistake! It was an accident and I wasn’t hunting for fun! I’m sure that if I speak to her and explain it all, she will understand and forgive me’ begged Rupert.

‘Yes, of course, you can speak to her. She is everywhere. In the trees around you, in the river, in the air, she is in all the animals. You just need to find a way to communicate with her. There is only one way she will understand you.’

‘What is the way? Tell me and I will do it!’ Please, help me!’

‘Unfortunately, you need to find the way yourself. There is no easy answer. If you do find the right way to speak to her, I’m sure she will forgive you and let you go back to being a human. But until you have learnt how the Universe works, you will be a tree, I am afraid.’ the man replied putting the hood back on his silver hair and turned his back on Rupert again.

‘Please don’t leave me, please stay! Don’t go! What do I do now? Please, tell me!’ Rupert exclaimed but the man was already gone. The spiders followed his steps moving their huge hairy legs giving shivers to Rupert.

‘Great, this is a disaster! It’s a nightmare! What should I do? How?’ he thought, scratching his head, or rather the crown of the tree with his largest branch acting now as his right hand.

The horse gazed at him with his big dark, shiny eyes, neighed loudly, showing off a set of white teeth, and galloped away into the depths of the forest.

‘Wait! Where are you going?’ Rupert screamed but Helios, just like the old man, disappeared from his sight, leaving him alone.

The strong wind stopped and the dark clouds moved away, revealing the scarlet glow of the sky at sunset, sprinkled with only a few pinkish fluffy clouds.

‘Forest Mother! Where are you?,’ Rupert screamed as loud as he could but heard no answer. ‘I need to talk to you!’ he screamed again but there was no reply and the only sound he could hear was the gentle and soothing sound of the stream, an owl, and birds singing in the distance.

‘Hey, go away! This is not a place for you!,’ he shouted angrily when a starling sat on one of his branches. He started to move rapidly, trying to scare the bird away but it stayed there as if it got stuck to him.

The bird then flew closer to him, touching him with his beak, as if searching for something in his bark.

‘Hey, what are you doing? Stop! You are tickling me!- said Rupert, starting to twist left and right, trying to refrain from bursting out laughing from the unexpected sensation. The starling gazed at him with a surprised look, as if something was wrong with Rupert, and flew away.

‘Oh God, this is a disaster, what am I going to do now? I can’t live like this! I am a prince! A prince that will be a king one day.’ he murmured to himself with a whining voice.

‘Just relax and go with the flow!’ he heard a low but soothing voice coming from another oak next to him.

‘You can talk?’ asked Rupert.

‘Well you can talk too, what’s so strange about it?’ the oak replied, and having pulled his roots from the ground, he moved away making a swishing, whistling noise with the leaves.

‘And you can move?? How? Trees don’t move!!’ Rupert exclaimed at witnessing this weirdness.

‘Oh, relax, you can move too, just when you do, don’t you dare follow me! I have enough of this noise of yours’ the oak replied.

‘I can move? And I can talk? Thank you, God! That means…that means… I can go back to the castle and ask my father for help’ he thought, feeling sudden rays of hope with this revelation.

‘You can go anywhere except the castle. That will never happen, so don’t even try. Nobody can leave the Deer Wonderland Forest once you become part of it. Besides, Forest Mother will never let you ha!’ the oak exclaimed joyfully from the distance before completely disappearing.

‘Hey! I didn’t say anything! You could hear my thoughts? I think I’m going to go crazy! Wait, I’ve already gone crazy! I’m a talking tree! And I can walk! I can walk? Really? Ok, let’s see if that’s true then.’ he murmured.

‘Ahhhrrrrr,’ he moaned a few seconds later from the effort of trying to move his toes, or rather his roots.

‘Come on, you can do this! Abracadabra! Move my feet! My roots, I mean!’ he exclaimed to himself and the roots started to move whilst he was rocking backwards and forwards. After a while, they all came out to the surface.

‘Yessss! Magic!’ he said and laughed in the voice of an insane man who had just escaped an asylum.

‘Now, lets’ walk!’ he commanded in a firm voice as if he was leading an army to war.

‘Urrrghhhh come on! Move!’ he said with great effort, rocking side to side and moving inch by inch towards the river bank.

‘Oh, no, not this way! I don’t want to end up as a log drifting away with the river’s current, now that would have been unfortunate. Enough of unfortunate events for a day! I’m a blooming tree!’ he thought and moved along the riverbank instead, gliding slowly on the ground. ‘Oh, I mean a freaking tree. The last thing I want is to have my handsome body covered in pink, fragrant flowers haha! he said to himself laughing out loud.

‘Ok, that’s enough for today. I’m tired now.’ he said after what had seemed like an eternity but when he turned around, he realised he moved only a couple of feet away.

‘Oh, I’m so tired, I think I’ll just go to sleep now and when I wake up in the morning, I am sure this nightmare will be over.’ he thought and closed his two cracks in the bark, his eyes.

‘Stop it!’ he shouted soon afterwards, having heard nothing but the cheerful singing of the birds.

The birds stopped but after a few moments, they started to sing sweet melodies again.

‘I said, stop it!’ he shouted again and one of the birds, a beautiful yellow one with a red tail and a beak flew closer to him.

‘Why do you want us to stop? We are singing the latest songs from the Top Twenty of Deer Wonderland. They are the best songs out now. Don’t you like them?’ the bird chirped.

‘You can talk too?’

‘Yes and so can you’ the bird replied adding; ‘What’s so strange about it? Where are you from? Have you been brought up with humans or something? Only they don’t understand our language. They think we are just stupid birds, or at least, most of them think we are.’

‘I don’t care if they are the latest songs! I want to sleep. I am very tired now from talking, and walking. If you haven’t noticed, I’m an old tree now! Tomorrow, I’ll wake up from this horrible nightmare and be myself again!’ replied Rupert.

‘But you are yourself. Now. Even though you are a tree. It’s still you, isn’t it?’ the bird replied happily.

‘Well, yes. Well, no. Yes, it’s still me but it’s not my body. I’m a human being. A handsome prince with brown eyes and dark hair, a great muscular body, and a six-pack. I am tall and very attractive. At least, that’s what I heard many times from the ladies in court. Many princesses from other kingdoms dream of marrying me because I have so much to offer. A beautiful castle and chambers to live in, wardrobes full of silk dresses, gorgeous perfumes, lavish dinners, carriages to take them for rides, and, of course, beautiful diamond, ruby, and emerald rings. They send me lots of love letters daily hoping I will choose them as my wife and the new Princess of Deer Wonderland Kingdom. I am a real catch you know!’ said Rupert proudly, stretching his chest forward, or what was now the tree trunk. ‘And I don’t think you will understand it but I am also irresistible to women and an amazing lover. At least, that’s what all the princesses I have made love to told me many times. They say I can even..’

‘Woooow, ok no need to tell me details and I am sorry to break the news to you. It won’t happen now! Your wealth, your carriages, your jewellery to impress them and your six-pack won’t work any charm on them anymore’ the bird replied laughing out loud with a thin squeaky voice and added; ’ I don’t want to sound horrible but as you have just said, you are an oak now, so forget about it. And when it comes to you being you and your personality, well it leaves some room for improvement, I dare say. You are not the most humble man, placing all your attention and value on the way you look and that you are rich because you have a rich father – the king. What else have you got to offer ‘as you’ though? Is your wealth all that you need to find true and everlasting love? Think about it, you will have plenty of time for reflections, ‘ the bird replied and shaped his beak into a cheeky crescent before stretching its colourful wings and flying away.

‘Oh, that…, that… is not very nice! You little…. nasty bird, telling me what you think about me. How dare you tell me what you think. You don’t know me at all. You think you know me because of a short conversation but you don’t! And anyway, who voted for your songs? They are wishy-washy and not the top hits for sure’ Rupert shouted angrily just as the bird had landed on a long branch of a tree right in front of him.

‘But that’s the reality and the sad truth that you need to face now. Think about it. Think about who YOU truly are. My advice to you is this; Accept what it is you have become. Surrender and don’t try to fight it. It will only prolong your suffering. By accepting what is, you shall regain freedom, happiness, and even enlightenment. That’s the only thing that shall save you. It is the key to salvation. Accept the present moment, as a tree. Trust me, I have seen it all before. Trees that accept who they truly are flourish and live happily for hundreds of years. Trees that cannot accept who they are dry out and eventually die alone, with broken branches.

‘Oh, since when have you been such an expert on me and everyone else? You think you know everything but you don’t.’ replied Rupert defensively.

‘And in my humble opinion, you need to finally learn what true love is because you still don’t know despite your age.’ The bird said in a way that seemed to Rupert as if it was a therapist talking to him and added ‘Love is not just about being an amazing lover. You couldn’t be further from the truth. You cannot see anything important with your eyes. Only with your heart.’ the bird added.

‘Is that so?’ asked Rupert, amazed by the depth of this conversation.

‘Yes, that’s so. Also, for your information, it was the lady hares and ladybirds who voted for us! They love us and our songs and they are our biggest fans. Come on guys, let’s go sing somewhere else, somewhere where our cute voices and efforts are appreciated. by the ladies, not by this one big moaning oak!’ the bird replied and swiftly flew onto the other side of the river with other birds from his band, leaving Rupert in complete and utter silence.

‘Finally! I can sleep now!’ Rupert thought and closed his tired eyes emerging into the darkness.

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