How to Build a Treehouse

A word of explanation: Once upon a time, I was in an on-line comments box discussion about a particularly bad scene penned by an SFF author of modest gifts.

have nothing against this other author, and bear him no enmity. But the scene being discussed combined depravity, boredom, rigidly one-dimensional characters, and a complete lack of humanity. So when someone quipped “I’d rather read John Wright writing instructions on how to build a treehouse” I took it as a challenge to see if I could write a SFF short story small enough to fit into a comments box.

So here is my instruction on how to build a treehouse.


How to Build a Treehouse


John C Wright

Here, things differ. It is not as on Earth. Approach the tree naked, carrying no ax, no saw. Explain in a clear voice your sorrow, but do not use words. Sing. Our trees know music as our universal language. Perhaps there is much which cannot be expressed in such a language, but these things, the important things, can.

Once the tree understands who you have lost, it will move. Roots will reach down to find your wife’s body, no matter how deeply buried. The fruit of life will bloom, for we have no winter here. Once she is drawn to the surface, squeeze the juice into her mouth. One drop is enough. Two will make her a poet, and three, a prophetess.

The branches will weave themselves into a bower in the crown of the tree. There you may dwell in peaceful happiness for all days.

I forgot to mention. To prepare the tree, hang a god from its branches, and let his blood go into the roots, the fruit, and all around, so that the power of infinite love — What do you mean you already had a tree like this on Earth? Why did you come here? The house you will build in that tree is a mansion indeed, if your god is the carpenter’s son as you say.

So you will see her again. You believed in stories of my strange garden enough to brave the journey here.

Why not believe Him?