The Treehouse That Travels
By Hayley Hunkin
Chapter One – The New Treehouse (excerpt only)
To his amazement, Joseph saw a tiny man sitting on one of the cushions. He was less than ten centimetres tall, no bigger than Joseph’s hand. He was dressed in a green and brown suit that looked like it could have been made out of leaves, but it also looked strangely soft and comfortable, not itchy and scratchy like you would expect leaves to be. It didn’t make a sound when the man moved, so it wasn’t crackly either.
In fact, the only sound Joseph could hear was the music. The man was blowing on some pipes all joined together in different lengths and his fingers flew over the holes on the top of the pipes to make incredible sounds. The man looked at Joseph and winked. He finished his song with a flourish and tucked the pipes into his waistband.
“Hello Joseph, we’ve been waiting for you!”
Joseph just stared at the man. He had absolutely no idea what to say. Finally, he managed to get his tongue to work again and stuttered, “W-w-w-we?”
“Yes, we!” said the strange little man. Suddenly, there were five more tiny men and women. They seemed to just walk out of the walls of the treehouse. Joseph blinked rapidly. The people were all dressed in the same strange outfits. Joseph realised that the tiny people had simply turned their faces to the walls when they wanted to camouflage themselves. On cue, they turned around, walked a few steps and were suddenly visible.
Joseph decided he needed to kneel down. He felt so huge with these people, like he was a giant. If he knelt down, maybe he wouldn’t feel so large and clumsy. He carefully moved into a kneeling position (checking first to make sure he didn’t squash any of the little people). He wondered what to call them.
“Who are you?,’ Joseph asked.
“Well, my name is Jinoulean, this is my wife Kimawean. Our best friends are Hindoulean and Gimawean. Our other friends are Lindoulean and Mindowean.” Each of the little people had executed a gentle bow when Jinoulean introduced them to Joseph.
Joseph said, “Well, I’m Joseph. Nice to meet you.”
“You see,” said Jinoulean to his wife,” I knew he was a polite little boy from how he spoke to those builder men yesterday.”
“Remember how the others hid from you? That’s what we always do when big people are around,” said Jinoulean.
“Especially adults,” Kimawean nodded sagely.
“I don’t want to be rude, but umm umm…,” Joseph said.
“Well, spit it out lad, we won’t take offense!”
“Ok, what are you? Elves? Fairies?”
“Funny how everyone thinks any little people must be elves or fairies,” Jinoulean giggled.
“That’s because elves and fairies are so careless and get seen by big people so quickly. We don’t let a person see us by mistake. If you see us, we mean you to see us.”
“Yes, I see,” said Joseph, “But you didn’t answer my question. What are you?”
“We’re Soul Minders.”