The Money Tree
Taryn, Age 12, Beaumont, AB
On a cold winter afternoon, Jim was shovelling his driveway and, although he was tired and his back ached, he went over to old Mrs. Gala’s to shovel her driveway. On his way back, feeling kind and generous, out of the corner of his eye he saw a sparkle come from the ground.

“Sweet! I found a dollar!” exclaimed Jim as he bent over to pick up the rusty loonie. Jim decided to take it home and plant it in the dirt of the small potted tree in the club house for good luck. As he walked home, he wondered if anything would happen to the loonie.

“Jim, time for bed!” called his mom, while he was in the clubhouse. Jim messily dug a hole, threw in the loonie, covered it with dirt, and then rushed off to bed.

The next morning Jim went to the clubhouse to check on the pot and…“OMG!!!!! I’m rich! I’m rich!” A little tree had spouted out of the large pot. Miraculously, the tree had loads of money on it! Jim was the happiest, not to mention richest, boy in the ENTIRE WORLD! Jim galloped out into the yard and started jumping, skipping and laughing! He was in the middle of a jump when his sister, Beth (short for Elizabeth) very harshly called, “Are you coming to the movie with me or are you going to act like a monkey all day?” That put him off track and he fell on his butt. He leapt up and declared, “I’ll pay!! My treat!” Then he rushed into the clubhouse and grabbed a bunch of money, maybe ten or twenty dollars, off of the tree. Then he rushed over to Beth and flashed the money in front of her face. She was astonished at how much money he had. “What, did you rob a bank?” she asked sarcastically. Jim shot her a glare, and then changed the subject by quickly making a move. “Bet you can’t catch me!” he hollered over his shoulder while he dashed down the street.

On the way home from the movie, Jim and Beth were play fighting with snow. Jim was in the lead when his sister announced defeat. Jim felt victorious, since he just beat his five-year-old sister at a snowball fight. A couple minutes after Beth announced defeat, she unexpectedly shoved him into the nearest mound of snow. “Ooowwww!! What was that for?” he whined. “That, my friend is payback,” she answered. “You should’ve seen your face!” she added acting super scared as if to mock him. Jim felt embarrassed, awkward and incredibly angry all mixed together. He hated this feeling, so he put an end to it. He grabbed a piece of snow and hurtled it at his sister’s head. She dodged it and they watched it zoom towards Mr. Sacra’s window. CRASH!!
 
What the kids didn’t know is that the snowball Jim threw was really a block of ice, but it was covered with snow so no ice could have been noticeable. Anybody with eyes could see it was terrible. The kids gawked at the broken window. But they should’ve run because out came Mr. Sacra, angrier than ever! “I heard a crash! What did you kids do to my house?” he asked as he stumbled towards the frightened kids. Beth took off into a sprint, but Jim wasn’t fast enough and he was toast.

“Was it you who broke my window?” asked Mr. Sacra, staring at Jim very suspiciously. Jim couldn’t bear “The Stare”, and gave way and started crying. “I’m so sorry Mr. Sacra…weep…weep…It was an accident…tears…tears…we were just having fun and…wail…wail…I threw a snowball at my sister and…sputter…sputter…she dodged one of my snowballs and…sob…sob…the snowball hit your house and…” he cried. “Be quiet! You’re waking up the dead with your cries! But what you have to do is pay for my window by the end of the month. NOT A MINUTE LATER!”

After that, he told his family all that happened and went to check on the tree. He sat glumly on a stool next to the tree. “Why can’t you fix windows?” he asked the tree. “I got it!” he sprang up. “You can give me the money for the window!” He reached out to grab the money but…POOH!!!...the money was gone! “What the…where did the…who took the…WHAT!!” Jim was very confused!

“Jim, can you come here?” called his year-old sister Amy. “Ah, ya. Ok. Here I come,” Jim responded. Amy was inside, sitting at the kitchen table. Jim sat down and asked, “What’s up?”

Amy responded “I don’t have any money for Christmas presents for Mom, Dad or Beth, and I was wondering if you could spare a couple dollars?”

“Yes, I guess I could. I can take you shopping this afternoon.” Jim suggested. Then he got up and went back to the tree. The tree had money on it! “…But…why...” Jim took money for his sister.

At the store Amy got her presents and Jim noticed an X-box Kinect. “Oh, that’s so cool! I wish I could have one!” Amy walked up behind him. “In your dreams!” she declared. When they got back, Jim ran to the tree in the clubhouse hoping to see money on the tree, but before he got there his mom stopped him and announced, “You’re coming with me tomorrow morning to get presents for your dad, Beth, Amy, Grandpa Del and Grandma Sandy!” “Ok, I understand.” Jim was anxious to see the tree. He ran to the clubhouse and burst through the door to see the tree with money! “Yes!” celebrated Jim. He grabbed a bunch of money off of the tree and ran up to his room.

In his room there was a bunch of sports stuff and electronics, including his very own TV. He sat down on his bed and imagined what it would be like to have an X-box Kinect. He imagined himself having the time of his life with the Dance Revolution Kinect. He would buy all the games…how would he get the money?...the Money Tree! Wait, why did the Money Tree give him money the first time and the third time, but not the second time? He thought of reasons: Sometimes the tree is in a good mood and sometimes not. The tree is magical and it only gives when the reason is not selfish. The tree is having technical difficulties. He decided that number two was the best. The problem with number one was trees don’t have emotions. The problem with number three was trees aren’t technical. So the tree must be magical. Now that he already had the money from the tree, he could buy anything.

So the next morning Jim went to buy presents and came back with an X-box Kinect. Jim took his new gaming system up to his room then went to thank the tree for the game. But when he entered the clubhouse, the tree looked terrible. There were leaves on the ground, no money, branches sagging and instead of a bright green, the tree was a light brown.

“Oh no! What happened?” Jim cried lunging for the watering can next to the tree. He poured some water in the base of the tree, but that made it worse! Jim realized maybe the tree was dying because he tricked it! So maybe if he returned the X-box he might be able to save the tree. So he dashed up to his room and grabbed the X-box and ran back to the store with the box in his hands!

When he got back he planted the money back into the soil of the tree and prayed that it would work. Suddenly there was a stream of blinding light and a series of odd and mystical noises came from the tree! It was painful to listen to, so Jim plugged his ears and closed his eyes. Then it stopped. Jim opened his eyes to see the tree standing straight, alive and well! That moment Jim crossed his heart that he would never be selfish with the tree’s money ever again!

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