The Diary of a Misanthropic Oak Tree
*Editor’s note: Apparently, oak trees don’t experience or understand time the way humans do. Being so very long-lived this is understandable. As such, many of the diary’s entries seem to exhibit a conflation of events and vernacular separated in time, sometimes by centuries. We have preserved the diary’s original sequence of events and terminology in order to authentically illustrate life from the point of view of an oak tree. Irregularities in the timeline may occur.*
23 April 4th century A.D.
So, I guess this as good a place as any to set up shop. It’s got a great view of the river and seems quiet. There doesn’t seem to be too many of those damn “bald monkeys” running around in this area. Those jerks are always messing things up. Where ever they go, strife follows, and all they do is howl and bash each others heads in. A group of humans moved in near my cousin, within 200 years they had killed his entire family and started to graze sheep on their graves. Long story short, they do NOT make for good neighbors
16 September 5th century A.D.
Crap. There goes the neighborhood. Those bald monkeys are starting to move in. Wtf, Humanity? You don’t have anywhere else to hang? Why you gotta be harshing my calm? I’ve heard them talking about how the barbarians from the east are charging the boarders, and they hope the Romans will protect them. Good luck with that. I’ve met the Romans, if those bastards don’t like you they will build an entire economy around destroying you. Although, the monkeys keep talking about how things aren’t going so hot for the Romans right now. They are pretty much getting zerged* on multiple fronts, and their politics are beyond messed up. Whatever, that means. Like I’m poly sci major.
*editor’s note: zerg: gaming term meaning “using large numbers of weak units to swarm and overwhelm the enemy”*
5 June 5th century A.D.
Ok, who’s the jerkwad who carved “Kilroy was here” on me while I was asleep? You guys aren’t funny!
18 August 6th century A.D.
The monkeys have built a small, straw, tent-like house near me, but they could have built it 3 leagues away and I would still be able to smell them. Do these animals just crap as they walk? Seriously, who sleeps with their livestock? There are like, 15 of them in there, and all their cows and chickens and horses. It’s enough to make your eyes water. If that farmer takes a leak against me one more time… ugh, what the hell am I going to do to him? Drop leaves on him? You know what else, for a group of people who supposedly consider trees “sacred” in some capacity, these asshole sure love to cut us down. They just keep building more and more of those ugly, two-headed ships. One day, people are dancing around you and singing, the next day, WHAM! down comes the axe.
30 May 7th century A.D.
Blech. They’ve built a sort of road across the river now. Every day, people are walking past, yammering about how they are going to the “Holey Land”. Sounds like an awful place. I would think that a land full of holes would leave you at high risk for twisting an ankle. Some of them seem to think that they will be forgiven for their sins if they go, so maybe the pain of perpetually twisting your ankle is some sort of penance. The farmer’s great grandson, Sigfrid Kohn, left years ago and never came back. I wonder if he died en-route or if he found the climate in the Land of Holes more pleasing. Maybe he just liked living somewhere where nobody knows you sleep in the same room with livestock. Maybe he just likes not sleeping in the same room with livestock period.
11 February 8th century A.D.
Those goofy looking ships with creepy dragon heads on either end and big square sails are starting to go up and down the river constantly, delivering goods and transporting an abundance of monkeys. I can tell most of the ships are made from oak. Murderous bastards. It’s not bad enough you cut down my friends and neighbors to make these hideous things, you have to parade their corpses in front of me.
29 October 8th century A.D.
A guy came passing through on his way back from a big feast in a distant city, and the farmer’s great-great-great-great-great grandson (yeah, they’re still here) Walther Kohn gave him lodging for the night. In exchange, the guy offered to tell them an epic tale of battle, bravery, and heroic deeds called “Beowulf”. He says he is something called a “scop”, and that’s his job: writing tales of the deeds of great men and performing them for money. Only humans would invent a job that involved TALKING ALL NIGHT. I could hear him through the window, and I have to admit I thought the story was pretty good. That is until they killed the hero, Grendel, in the first act. He just wanted some QUIET and those monkeys couldn’t shut the hell up. Note to self: if I ever sudden gain the ability to perambulate do NOT go after the humans. It won’t end well, even if you are the good guy of the story.
9 March 8th century A.D
The farmer, Hieronymus Kohn, has a new toy. It’s a device to cut through the earth so he can plant even more food for his squalling crotch fruit. This one is much heavier than his last one, and made out of metal, so it has to be pulled by a horse or oxen. I guess his wife, Gertrudis, gets a break from the yoke for a while, probably so she can have more babies to work the land, so they can grow more food to feed the ever increasing number of babies she keeps having. I don’t know why she bothers, half of them die before they can walk, and the tenth one (Eberhard Kohn) they sent off as a “tithe” to the “church”. Since I don’t know what those words mean, I am going to guess that a “tithe” is a sausage, and a “church” is some sort of large cat.
1 April 9th century A.D
There was a new emperor, for about a nanosecond. The humans seem to think that it was some momentous occasion, but dude was only in charge for about 13 years. I guess that’s a long time for humans? If they had any idea how many kings and emperors I have seen come and go. Honestly, how could anyone have an effect on the history of the world in such a short time? I guess people liked him so much because now that “Holey Land” people are always wandering off to see is part of a traveling exhibit or something. They are calling it the “Holey Roaming Empire”. I don’t really understand how an entire empire can move about, but maybe that’s what made this Charles guy “Great”. So long, Chuck, we hardly knew ye.
3 June 10th century A.D.
Argh, I don’t know where they came from, but these weird looking dudes in matching brown robes and stupid haircuts are setting up shop near me. They call themselves monks, which I am guessing is short for monkey?? Unlike their predecessors, the crazy Thunder God Tree-Huggers, they worship some “undead sky-Jew” that forces them to beat themselves and not get married, or else he will light them on fire… or something like that. I wasn’t really listening. It’s always “in with crazy, out with crazy” around here. They are completely convinced that some guy they call “The Devil” is lurking around every corner, tempting them with all things that I thought made human existence bearable; sex, alcohol, food, sleeping, independent thought. Apparently this undead guy really hates that stuff. Tell me again why he’s supposed to be the good guy? Seems to me this other guy is just a really good host. Meh, I’m a tree, what the hell do I care. All I do care about is that they are quiet and they aren’t breeding more monkeys.
15 August 10th century A.D. V 2.0
Ok, I DON’T like these monks so much anymore. Turns out, they sit around all day writing books. Book, after book, after book. And what do you need to write books? Ink! And where do you get ink? Well, according to these assholes, by climbing my branches and cutting off my galls! Seriously!? Even the idiot Thunder God Tree-Huggers asked permission before loping off parts of me, as annoying as they were. A oak just isn’t an oak without his galls.
*editor’s note: This is an excuse to use one of my all-time favorite words: “palimpsest”. That is all.*
14 February 11th century A.D.
The farmer’s descendants are still here, but the house has improved. At least they keep the livestock outside nowadays. The farmer’s youngest son has decided he wants to run off and become something called a “minnesänger”. There was this HUGE family argument about how the farmer wants him to stay home and work on the farm, but the son wants to run off and flirt with the ladies of the court, drink wine, and sing. I wish someone would invent popcorn, I would have grabbed a bag and just sat back and watched the fireworks. I don’t blame the kid, I’d want to get out of this stinkhole too if I weren’t rooted to the spot. The kid isn’t so bad, he at least treats me decently and likes to sit under my branches and practice his music. Godspeed to you, Albrecht Kohn. May your offspring avoid Dutch Elm Disease for all of their days.
15 August 11th century A.D.
Ok, so get this: There is the one group of people who worship the “Undead Angry Sky Jew”, like the ones that live at the monastery near here. Then there is this OTHER group of people who worship a different Angry Sky Jew… I think. Maybe it’s the same “Angry Sky Jew”, but I can’t tell. All the bald monkeys look alike to me, same number of limbs, tons of noise coming out of the hole in the front. How can they tell each other apart when they all have the same number of limbs? They don’t even have leaves for crying out loud. Apparently, they can tell the difference by which Angry Sky Jew they worship. Anyway, ASJ People #1 have decided to go invade the land of ASJ People #2 in order to take control of that Land of Holes everybody is always traveling to. The weirdest part of all this that the actual Jewish people have little or nothing to do with all of this, and somehow both ASJ#1 and ASJ#2 worshipers act like it’s all their fault. In fact, they just went and killed a bunch of them not far from here for… reasons? Dunno, but it seems like a lot of fuss over holey land and a bunch of old dead guys from the desert. If I had eyes, I would roll them so hard right now.
*Editor’s note: Here the oak tree erroneously believes Muhammed, the prophet of Islam, to be Jewish. This is not surprising, seeing as it views all humans as little more than illiterate primates, and therefore would not bother to note the glaring differences that make religious wars so very important to mankind. Prior to becoming the prophet of Islam, Muhammed was actually a Hanif, a hardcore form of monotheism based on the religion of Abraham- who incidentally is also a very important prophet to both monotheistic Judaism and monotheistic Christianity. I am sure you can see how such VASTLY different cultures could never coexist peacefully and were destined from the start to spend the next two millennia trying to exterminate one another.*
13 November 12th century A.D.
Some crazy chick, kind of like the sexless bald guys in the monastery here, came through giving lectures about the importance of church reform, blah blah blah. I almost fell asleep, but one of the farmer’s offspring joined up with the monks a few years ago, and he was completely fascinated with her description of a condition called “the female orgasm”. I’m not sure what that is, but it sounds like some sort of horrible brain fever. I have no idea why Ludwig Kohn was so interested in this subject, he always seem more interested in chasing girls, drinking, and gambling than in medical science or the whole “ASJ” lifestyle. That boy is going down a wrong path, those monks are going to kick him out, and all he will have to rely on is his ability to read and write to survive. How the hell is he going to make a living at that in this economy?
7 January 12th century A.D.
WTF. Oh HELL NO. Apparently someone got ahold of the finger of some dead guy who was slowly disemboweled for believing in the wrong version of the ASJ, and now they are building this MASSIVE structure on the other side of the river. They say it’s going to take over 100 years to complete, which is weird to me. These monkeys only seem to live about 50 years if they are lucky, so none of them will be around when it is done. The farmer’s family is fairly prosperous now, and they are paying for a window in the building. I overheard this generation’s farmer, Engelbrecht Kohn, mention that he was going to have an image of me included in the window. He said his family has been living beside me for so long I feel like part of the family. Aww. These guys aren’t half-bad for bald monkeys.
31 December 13th century A.D.
I have no idea what is wrong with the monkeys, but they are DYING in droves! They bloat up with big black lumps all over their bodies, and within a matter of days they die. They are trying everything to live, lancing the lumps, bleeding people, witchcraft, creepy guys who are dressed like Spy vs. Spy cartoons. Nothing is working. After 30 generations, Klaus Kohn took his family and left for good a few weeks ago. After his wife Wiburgis and 3 of his children died of the plague he decided to relocate the whole family. Maybe they will return when all this is over. You know, after a millennium of complaining about them, I’m actually going to miss the bald monkeys now that they are gone. This little hill can get lonely after a couple of centuries.