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The giant gum tree growing over the river had to be at least one hundred and fifty-years old.

That is the perfect place for a tree house,” said Luke’s father, staring up at the tree.

Three storey’s above the ground the tree had split into four massive snake-like branches. The massive branches grew outwards from the trunk at right angles. Three of the branches stretched out towards the river, the fourth grew out from the trunk towards the back yard of Luke’s house.

In two days the tree house had been built. Perched high in the old tree, the house looked like a mansion compared to the weak cubby houses Luke’s class mates had. Not one of his friends ever came to visit. They took it upon themselves to shun Luke’s cubby-house. They would laugh at him for having a cubby house so big. Tom was the ring leader of the group. He had been the biggest in the class and liked to throw his weight around. Whatever he said everyone else did; everyone except Luke. That was the problem. He was the outsider. He didn’t like the way Tom told everyone to exclude him, but in a small way Luke didn’t mind. He had lots to think about. He would shrug his shoulders at them and plan the next sleep over in his tree house. He loved the peace and quiet. Lying in a small bed listening to the tree creak and groan in the wind seemed perfect for Luke. He could easily catch up on his homework or read a good book, or just enjoy the cool breeze which came from the river, flowing lazily past his house.

The next day Luke placed several cans of baked beans in a cane basket. Bottles of water were thrown in, fruit and a packet of biscuits. Then the rain started to fall. He quickly attached a rope to the handles of the basket and climbed the tree. With the aid of a pulley his father had nailed to the tree he lifted the basket up off the ground and into the tree house. He carried the basket to his waist high wooden cupboard and placed the food items on the middle shelf.

Luke walked to the trap door then wound up the rope ladder. He trotted over to the wooden shutters that covered the plastic windows and settled himself on his chair at the table to watch the river. He loved being inside his tree house when it rained. He also loved watching the river. It seemed to come alive when the water picked up pace.

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