The small town nestled in the hills, beautiful and green. Numerous small roads snaked their way across it; either going uphill or downhill. Most houses were on small hills or hillocks.
The town council had recently appointed a new postmaster, who had been given the official quarters of the postal department – a rambling house with a huge living room, a kitchen and many bedrooms. The postmaster’s family settled down in the new home, happy, except for the fact that they had no neighbours in the vicinity. Their house stood, all by itself, on top of a hill; which had come to be called ‘Post Hill’.
The postmaster and his wife had four children. The children kept each other company in the big house, when they were not at school.
Outside their house stood an old silver oak tree. The locals told the postmaster’s wife that it was more than 50 years old.
The tree had grown quite close to the house and the postmaster feared that it would fall on their home, or its branches hurt his children, especially during the monsoon season. He had spoken to the Forestry Department to see if they could uproot it and replant it elsewhere or chop it down. They had promised to revert soon.
That year, the Monsoons set in early, and the town witnessed one of its worst rainy seasons ever. The Sun had been forced to take a long holiday.
On one such evening, heavy rains lashed across the town, accompanied by thunder and lightning. Heavy winds howled across the hills.
Most people were safely tucked-in indoors, keeping themselves warm and well fed!
At about eleven p.m. that night, a huge bolt of lightning fell on the town, and as many people recalled later, they saw it falling on Post Hill. The people worried about the postmaster and his family.
The rain spent itself by 6 am in the morning, as people ran to see what had happened, fearing the worst.
But when they reached Post Hill, they were happy to see the postmaster and his family safe and sound. They were amazed to see that the Silver Oak tree had been split into two by the bolt, and had fallen away from the house, saving its residents.
P.S: This is a true incident that happened to my paternal grandfather’s family, many decades ago!