Once upon a time, a young couple gave birth to a son, whom they named Jaime. The boy had dazzling dark eyes, a beautiful smile, and dark, wavy hair. Jaime’s mother and father loved the way he giggled, the way he wept, the way he gurgled. At night they stood beside his crib, admiring him as he slept. They believed he was a remarkable child.
As Jaime grew older, he grew more remarkable still, but he was given to daydreaming and wondering and questioning. Sometimes Jaime drove his parents to distraction with his willfulness, and some nights, when he would not sleep he was so busy watching the world outside and wondering what more there was to see they lost their tempers.
One day, after Jaime’s mother, had washed and cooked and cleaned, Jaime demanded more food. “You’ve had enough,” she said, but Jaime stamped his feet, and when his mother looked at him, she saw not a beautiful baby but an angry child.
When Jaime’s father returned, his mother called her husband aside. “Do you see a difference in our boy?” she asked fearfully. When his father looked at him, Jaime frowned and sneered.
The next day was no better. Suddenly this boy they believed was the most marvelous child in the world had turned into something altogether different. He was always hungry, forever demanding, brimming with ill will. Jaime’s mother wondered how she could go on living in the house with such a wild one.
“He’s not our son,” she whispered to her husband. “He’s turned into some kind of monster.”
Jaime’s father began to notice changes, too. When he tried to play with his son, Jaime ignored him, and when he asked the boy what was wrong, Jaime turned away.
“He no longer loves us,” Jaime’s father decided, and Jaime stared at his parents with such piercing dark eyes, they felt afraid.
“We have to get away from him,” Jaime’s mother whispered. “It would be better if he were not living with us anymore.”
The very next day his father took Jaime into the forest, and there he left the boy.
At first, Jaime was terrified, but the music of the wind rustling in the leaves and the dazzle of the stars overhead calmed his fears. Before long he discovered a large, peculiar seed; it was furry and the color of pomegranates. Jaime decided to bury it.
When he lay down to sleep that night, he rested his hand upon the place he had planted the seed, and at dawn, to his amazement, he felt a nudge beneath his hand. Within hours a tree sprouted in that very spot.
That night Jaime sang to the tree, begging it to find a way to feed him in this lonely place. And the next morning the tree had sprouted fruits and nuts. Jaime ate to his heart’s content.
That night when he lay down to sleep, once again he sang to the tree. This time he sang for his tree to grow thick branches and leaves to shelter him in this forbidding place. And the tree grew thick, leafy branches that arched over the boy. No matter the weather, Jaime was safe and warm and dry.
That night Jaime fell asleep with tears in his throat and another song to sing. This time he sang for his mother’s voice to comfort him, and when the wind began to blow, the tree sang to him. He slept in peace. And when he wept for his father, the tree grew a branch that bent before Jaime, just like his father’s knee, and when Jaime sat upon that branch, he felt safe and happy.
Back home, Jaime’s parents’ hearts were nearly bursting with misery. “We were wrong,” they confessed and set off into the forest to find him.
Now, in the forest, everything looked different.
“What were we thinking?” they cried sorrowfully. And suddenly they heard laughter, and they followed the sound to the tree. The laughter came from the highest branches, and when they looked up, there sat Jaime, smiling and full of life.
When he saw his parents, he called to the tree to lower him. The tree bent forward and gently placed Jaime upon the ground before his mother and father.
When they looked at him, they saw again the boy he had been as a baby. They saw that he was precious and beautiful, and they held him close and kissed his cheeks. “Come home with us,” they begged.
Jaime looked up at the tree and beamed. “Honor our reunion,” he said, and the tree shivered and swayed so that her creamy blossoms scattered everywhere in celebration.
Jaime returned home, and everyone offered love and forgiveness. And after that day, whenever Jaime seemed different to his parents, or difficult, they walked to the forest and looked up at the tree that had protected their child and returned him to them. They asked the tree to help to mend their hearts. They asked the tree to open their eyes. And always the tree reminded them of who their child truly was.