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Tamal found the willow while escaping from the Smith brothers. The bullies chased him nearly every day, but on this day Tamal tried another escape route. Muscles burning and breathing hard from the long chase, he was too exhausted to do anything more than huddle beneath the fronds of the willow. As the Smith brothers emerged from the trail nearby, he thought the branches were too sparse to hide him well enough. He expected to be found and braced himself for the beating to come. Just as one of the brothers turned in Tamal’s direction, the willow’s branches moved. He felt no breeze that could have stirred them that way, but they shifted nonetheless. In a mere moment any chance of the brother seeing him was blocked. Frustrated, the brothers moved off, shouting in vain for him. Surprised at his amazing luck, Tamal huddled there beside the willow, feeling…

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