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Beautiful Inkberry Tree: A Christmas Story for Young Virgin Islanders

HIDE
 Front Cover
 Title Page
 Note
 Preface
 Frontispiece
 Main
 The rattle of the voices
Digital Library of the Caribbean University of the Virgin Islands
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/CA01300713/00001
 Material Information
Title: Beautiful Inkberry Tree: A Christmas Story for Young Virgin Islanders
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: University of the Virgin Islands
Publisher: University of the Virgin Islands
Place of Publication: Virgin Islands
Publication Date: 1969
 Subjects
Subjects / Keywords: Children's literature, Virgin Islands   ( lc )
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: CA01300713:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/CA01300713/00001
 Material Information
Title: Beautiful Inkberry Tree: A Christmas Story for Young Virgin Islanders
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: University of the Virgin Islands
Publisher: University of the Virgin Islands
Place of Publication: Virgin Islands
Publication Date: 1969
 Subjects
Subjects / Keywords: Children's literature, Virgin Islands   ( lc )
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: CA01300713:00001


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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Page i
    Note
        Page ii
    Preface
        Page iii
    Frontispiece
        Page iv
    Main
        Page 1
        Page 1a
        Page 2
        Page 2a
        Page 3
        Page 3a
        Page 4
        Page 4a
        Page 5
        Page 5a
        Page 6
        Page 6a
        Page 7
        Page 7a
        Page 9
        Page 10
    The rattle of the voices
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
Full Text










THE


BEAUTIFUL

INKBERRY

EA A TREE


A Story for Young Virgin Islanders


PREPARED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF ESEA TITLE III
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION



December 1969


Written by:


Ruth Moolenaar,
Project Coordinator-
Project Introspection,
ESEA Title II'














NOTE: The Inkberry, a member of the
Madder Family, (Rubiaceae)
specifically, Randia aculeata L.,
is a deciduous shrub 5-10 feet
high or small tree 20 feet tall,
3 inches in diameter with erect
axis and thin crown of many nearly
horizontal spiny branches which
end with widely forking gray
spines 1/4 3/4 inch long.

The names arbol de navidad and
Christmas tree refer to the use
of the tree as a christmas dec-
oration. A blue dye can be ob-
tained from the berries, the
source of the common names tin-
tillo and inkberry. Fishing
rods are made from the rigid
stems.

Range Southern Florida, Ber-
muda, throughout the West Indies
from Babamas to Cuba and Grenada,
Barbodos, Trinidad and Tobago.
Also in the thickets and open
forests of the lower mountain
range of Mexico, Central America,
Colombia, Venezula, Puerto Rico,
St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John,
Virgin Gorda and Anegada.


REFERENCE:

E.L.. Little, Jr. and F. Wardsworth, Common
Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
T-Wa~ ington, D.C.7: U.S. Department of
Agriculture, 1965), pp. 520-521.









PRE FACE



The "Beautiful Inkberry Tree" is
designed primarily to present to the
young Virgin Islander another reminder
or phase of his heritage. Through a
microscopic view of the past, refer-
ence is made to a typical family in
its preparations for the Christmas
Season. A broader purpose may be the
strengthening of the concept that
people everywhere are products of
their backgrounds.
Keeping an-alert eye on its basic
objective: to stimulate the Virgin
Islands child to achieve self-actual-
ization, Project Introspection, ESEA
Title III strongly affirms that to
understand others better we must first
understand ourselves well, hopes that
this story will help each student to
appreciate his family life and accept
himself as a creature of his ancestors
and to finally realize his indebtedness
to them.
















Helen was all excited, and she had reasons

to be. It was Christmas Eve and her Aunt Leak

and Cousin Audrey, whom she had never seen were

coming to spend the holidays at their house.

Nestled at the foot of Denmark Hill, Helen's

house shone from within; it had been so scrub-

bed in readiness for the exciting days ahead.

With her parents and three brothers, Helen

lived in this cottage from birth. Mother had

spent many evenings getting the house ready.

Floors were scrubbed, furniture polished, new

curtains were bought and hung in place. As

Helen looked around she could hardly restrain

herself from shouting with joy. What ten year

old wouldn't with the sights and smells that

were typical of Christmas being everywhere.

She ran into the yard to ask mother about the


- 1 -








christmas tree but Mother just couldn't answer

at the moment. She was too busy pushing the

sweet breads around in the large dutch oven

with the broad wooden paddle. Mother smiled

as she pulled one of the sweet breads out It

was done and my, my, how good it looked a

rich brown round cake with prunes, cherries,

citron and nuts peeping through the baked crust.

Oh for a little taste!'yearned Helen, but then

she remembered Mother had given, her the bowl

and the wooden spoon to taste the batter Gee,

but that DID taste good. Finally Mother put

the wooden paddle to stand in a corner and

headed for the house. Helen looked back at

the paddle and smiled. It reminded her of a

picture of a beaver's tail she had seen in her

library book. The only difference'was that the

base of the paddle was wider. She hoped that

this same paddle would still be around when she

grew up. (And that she would also make delici-

ous sweet breads as well as those her mother

made).


- 2 -









J:l7inci Muth:r c a the way t t.e house,

Helen asked, "Will we get the tree before Aunt

Leah and my cousin get here?" Mother put her

arms around her daughter's shoulders and said,

"Yes dear, as a matter of fact Papa and the

boys have already gone to Frenchman Hill to

chop the tree They should be here any minute".

Helen clapped her hands and ran ahead of her

mother straight to a cardboard box that was

partly hidden under her bed. She pulled it

out and removed the contents slowly and thought-

fully. There were boxes of small Christmas

candles about three inches long, each candle

had the same ribbed design, but different

colors of red, blue, pink, yellow, green and

soft orange. Best of all were the glass balls

that looked like bubbles with frosting, while

others were decorated with etched pictures.

But there was nothing for the top of the tree!

As she knelt near the box pondering over a star

or an angel for the crown of the tree she heard

papa's voice shouting to her eldest brother,


-3-










"Leon,bring that kerosine tin over here"... The

pan, thought Ellen The tree is here! Now the

excitement began. How the family worked to-

gether. The tree was brought into the house

along with the tin which was about thirty-six

inches high. Placing the tree in the tin, the

boys next filled it up with rocks of different

sizes to steady the pan. Then father stood off

and looked at a job well done and mother looked

too She studied the shape When everything

seemed just right, the kids set about trimming

the tree. To finish the job, sheets of gayly

colored gift wrapping paper werewound around

the can starting high at the base to hide the

rocks and this was kept in place by a wide band

of red crepe paper which ended in a large bow

at the front. One thing seemed missing Or

was it really missing? No gifts were placed

under the tree. And again, as if by magic, by

nightfall there were packages and more packages

of different shapes and sizes all gayly wrap-

ped, lying under the tree.


- 4 -

























* *









Any minute now Aunt Leah should be knock-

ing on their door. What seemed like a rather

long wait for Helen soon came to an end as a

taxi horn honked long and loud outside their

door. Mother quickly dried her hands from

washing the dishes, straightened her hair as

best as she could and opened the front door.

Hugging, kissing and introductions followed.

Her cousin Audrey, wearing heavy woolen

clothes, looked almost identical to Helen -

Her brown skin, however, was a lighter shade

due to climatic conditions of aNorthern city

like New York. The girls liked each other from

the start, and Audrey who wanted to know

about everything that seemed so strange, got

ready answers from her cousin. Taking quick

steps toward the tree, Audrey stopped suddenly

and looked. She was puzzled and this was very

plain to be seen. She pointed one finger to

tke tree and cried, "What's that!" Poor Helen -

she just couldn't understand her cousin's sur-

prise. Even though she was hurt- she tried not


- 5 -










to show it She couldn't embarrass her visit_ .

Mother had taught her to be polite, and even more

so to visitors in the home. She replied slowly,

"That's our Christmas Tree". Audrey threw back

her head and laughed "A Christmas Tree? No

its not. A pine tree is a Christmas tree; it

grows straight and tall, bears needles and also

grows cones instead of juicy fruits".

Aunt Leah, being very tactful, put her arms

around the two girls, drew them gently down on

the floor with her and as they sat together,

Aunt Leah told her daughter and her niece the

true meaning of Christmas. As she spoke, the

two girls listened. Then Aunt Lean continued

by speaking directly to her daughter "So you

see Audrey, around the world, Christmas joys

take many forms. In the United States, we

believe in Santa Claus, while some have other

figures representing the spirit of Christmas.

In cold countries, trees wither and dry in the

winter time, but since evergreens remain green

all year, they are chosen as Christmas trees.


- 6 -










In St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John, this

Inkberry tree, (pointing to the tree in the

tin) is chosen as the christmas tree because

of its straight axis, its shapely clustered

branches and mostly because of the gray spines

that serve so easily as candle holders. When

it is decorated, it is just as beautiful as any

pine tree. This is the most beautiful christ-

mas tree I've seen in a long time". Aunt Leah

continued by telling the girls what good times

she had as a little girl when she did the same

things that Helen and her family were doing.

Very slowly Audrey leaned over and kissed her

cousin on the cheek. She didn't mean to hurt

her and she was sorry. Everyone laughed and

got up off the floor. Audrey asked, "Can I

help dress the christmas tree too? Is there

anything I can do?" Then Audrey remembered

there was nothing for the top of the tree and

said so.


- 7 -











Aunt Leah went to her bags and brought

some small packages into the room The girls

watched eagerly. Opening them, she revealed

some shiny bright silver rope. Together she

and the girls made a star for the top of the

tree. Taking the tinsel that was left, the

two girls wound it around the tree laughing

together as they went around and around, for-

ward and backward. Audrey began humming the

tune of "Oh Christmas Tree" and Helen and

Aunt Leah joined in. When that was finished,

dinner was ready and everyone, even papa, sang

as they gathered at the table "We wish you a

Merry Christmas". Papa alone sang the last

line as he poured guavaberry in each glass.

His loud tenor echoing through the house in a

solo, "And a Happy New Year".



T
H
E

E
N
D


- 8 -









PROPERTY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
GOVERNMENT OF THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS


PREPARED BY ESEA TItLE III
PROJECT INTROSPECTIONi FOR OSE
IN ALL PUBLIC AND NONPROFIT PRIVATE
SCHOOLS IN THE VIRGIN ISLANDS








THE BATTLE OF THE VOICES


With Apologies to Clement C. Moore's

A Visit From St. Nick



T'was the night before Christmas
when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even
Aunt Lois

The sweet breads were placed on the
dresser with care

In hopes that the Carolers soon will
be there

The.ham was all done, but it was still
sizzling

In oZoves, other spices and rich
cherry herring.

Aunt Tit ie in her kerchief and I in
my nightie

Just had another nip of good guavaberry

When around the bend came the sound of
voices

I sprang from my chair spilling drink
and ices

Away to the door, I flew like a flash

Threw up the shutters, tore open the sash

The moon and the stars in the Tropical sky,







- 2 -


:Was a breathtaking picture to the human eye

When what to my listening ears did I hear

But a band of Carolers, sounding very near

.With a leader whose voice rose higher than
the clouds

I knew in a moment this MUST BE ALIC LLOYD

More sweeter than angels their jubilant
voices

Resounded! Hosanna, the glad earth rejoices

In spotless white and banners gleaming

The Carolers marched but continued singing

To the top of their voices, to the top of
the hill

And taking their places, I can hear them
still,.

And then in a twinkling, I heard from afar

Another group, I just knew was MISS ESTHER.

As I stepped into the yard to listen closely

Around the corner they came in rhythmic
steps so lively

Miss Esther, for the occasion was correctly
attired

A straw hat, a white dress,

By all she tws- loved and admired.








- 3


Over her shoulders in the shape of an are

Was a blue ribbon that read, MISS ESTHER MARKS

She resembled a prima donna waiting for her
cue

To let go the voice that opened earth and
heaven too.

The group, they all waited, till Miss Esther
nodded

Then together they sang voices exploded!

As one after another, Carols they sang

In a challenge or competition to Lloyd and
his gang.

From over the hill, the answers came

Solo, duets, chorus refrains,

Hosannas, BHalelujahe, again and again.

Lloyd had accepted and supreme he reigned,

As eaah aarol faded, the voices grew sweeter

But morning was breaking and the contest was
over.

So as daylight dawned and the sun began to
shine,

The Caroters retreated to rest and dine

But as they returned to homes cosy and merry

They sang "MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND ENJOZ.
YOUR GUAVABERRY".










PREPARED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF ESEA TITLE III
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


December 1969


Written by: Ruth Moolenaar,
Project Coordinator-
Project Introspection,
ESEA Title III




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