For a fairytale challenge at Legendland

Summary: Once upon a time there was a magical tree in the woods, guarded by a gar. A soldier, a princess, a wizard and a Confessor all want to get to the tree but all fail. Then a Mord'Sith comes along…


Once upon a time there was a magical tree. Rubies grew on its lower branches; peaches that, when eaten, would give prophetic visions, grew on the middle branches; atop the highest branches were pods whose seeds could heal the sick, or – so it was said – give immortality to the healthy.

The tree was in the middle of a dense wood, and few people dared to enter this wood for the branches grew thick, and spiny, dripping with sap that made the scratches they inflicted itch and burn. The ground was unstable, with deep holes hidden by the thick layer of leaves on the ground, and biting insects swarmed throughout the woods.

Even if someone were to brave all this, however, they had no chance of reaching the tree. Because just at the clearing where the tree grew, lived a gar.

The gar lived on the pods that grew atop the highest branches of the tree. It only needed to eat one pod each month. The gar protected the tree, knowing that humans, in their greed, might chop down the whole tree. And the gar liked living in the woods, not having to hunt, and gaining knowledge from each pod it ate.

One day, a soldier came to try and find the tree. He slashed at the branches with his sword, his armour protected him from the insects. He poked at the ground with his sword, making sure there were no holes to fall into. He reached the clearing.

"Turn back," said the gar. "This is my tree."

"I am a soldier," the man said. "I will fight you."

And the soldier fought the gar, but the gar was strong and quick, and he bit off the soldier's head, and then he gobbled up the soldier up.

One day, a princess came to try and find the tree. She brought five guards with her, but three fell into the hidden holes hidden by the leaves. Another was scratched so badly by the branches that he fell down, dead. The last was attacked by the insects, and ran away.

The princess, nevertheless, reached the clearing.

"Turn back," said the gar. "This is my tree."

"I am princess," the girl said. "I order you to let me past."

The gar laughed. He didn't care for royalty. He bent down and gobbled the princess up.

One day, a wizard came to try and find the tree. He used magic to get past the trees and the insects, and to see where the holes were. He reached the clearing.

"Turn back," said the gar. "This is my tree."

"I am a wizard," the man said. "I will use magic to defeat you."

And the wizard tried to cast a spell, but the wily gar was fast, and swept him off his feet with a flick of his tail, and gobbled the wizard up.

One day, a Confessor came to try and find the tree. She wore a long gown that covered her from head to toe and so didn't get bitten by the insects or scratched by the trees. She was agile, and didn't fall into any of the holes. She reached the clearing.

"Turn back," said the gar. "This is my tree."

"I am a Confessor," the woman said. "I command you to let me past."

The gar laughed, because he knew he could not be confessed. He let the Confessor put her hand around its throat. Then he leant down and gobbled the Confessor up.

One day, a Mord'Sith came to try and find the tree. Her leather protected her from the tree branches and the insects. Her instincts told her where it was safe to tread. She reached the clearing.

"Turn back," said the gar. "This is my tree."

"Very well," said the Mord'Sith and turned away. Then she whipped around, fast as lightning, and attacked the gar. It screamed in pain from the touch of her agiel, and while it thrashed about, the Mord'Sith plunged her dagger into its heart.

The Mord'sith took what she wanted from the tree. Some rubies from the lower branches, some peaches which gave visions, from the middle branches, and some pods that could heal – or, so it was said, give immortality – from the topmost branches.

Then, being hungry, she made a fire, skinned and cooked the gar, and gobbled him all up.