THE GIVING TREE
Once there was a tree. And she loved the little boy. And every day the boy would come and he would gather her leaves, and make them into crowns and play king of the forest. He would climb up her trunk and swing from her branches and when he was tired, he would sleep in her shade. And the boy loved the tree very much. And the tree was happy.
But time went by, and the boy grew older. And the tree was often alone. Then one day the boy came to the tree and the tree said: “Come, boy. Come and climb up my trunk and swing from my branches and eat apples and play in my shade and be “happy”.
“I am too big to climb and play,” said the boy. “I want to buy something and have fun. I want some money. Can you give me some money?”
“I’m sorry,” said the tree, “but I have no money. I have only leaves and apples. Take my apples boy, and sell them in city. Then you will have money and you’ll be happy.”
And so the boy climbed up the tree and gathered her apples and carried them away. And the tree was happy… But the boy stayed away for a long time and the tree was sad. And then one day the boy came back and the tree shook with joy, and she said: “Come, boy come and climb up my trunk and swing from my branches and eat apples and play in my shade and be “happy”.
“I am too busy to climb trees,” said the boy. “I want a house to keep me warm,” he said. “I want a wife and I want children, and so I need a house. Can you give me a house?”
“I have no house,” said the tree. The forest is my house,” said the tree. “But you may cut off my branches and build a house. Then you will be happy.” And so the boy cut off her branches and carried them away to build a house. And the tree was happy. But the boy stayed away for a long time and the tree was sad. And when he came back, the tree was so happy she could hardly speak. “Come, boy,” she whispered, “Come and play.”
“I am too old and sad to play,” said the boy. “I want a boat that will take me away from here. Can you give me a boat?”
“Cut down my trunk and make a boat,” said the tree. “Then you can sail away and be happy.” And so the boy cut down her trunk and made a boat and sailed away. And the tree was happy. But not really. And after a long time the boy came back again. “I am sorry, boy,” said the tree, “but I have nothing left to give you — my apples are gone.”
“My teeth are too weak for apple.” said the boy.
“My branches are gone,” said the tree. “You cannot swing on them.”
“I am too old to swing on branches,” said the boy.
“My trunk is gone,” said the tree. “You cannot climb.”
“I am too tired to climb,” said the boy.
“I am sorry,” sighed the tree. “I wish that I could give you something. . . but I have nothing left. I am just an old stump. I am sorry…”
“I don’t need very much now,” said the boy, “just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired.”
“Well”, said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could. “Well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting. Come, boy, sit down… and rest.” And the tree was happy.
BY SHEL SILVERSTEIN
My Mother Earth
This beautiful story shows how much we have to learn from Mother Nature about the gift of giving. Our selfishness and short-sighted grasping for instant gratification has polluted, desecrated and abused the abundance of nature, and there will be consequences. Despite what we have done, Nature is even now trying to bring balance to itself, and if we stop taking and taking and begin to work with this immense benevolent energy, there can be wonders achieved.
What has happened to our humanity? The vices of attachment, greed, ego, lust and anger have consumed us to the point where we behave as if we have superior rights over Mother Earth and others. We are destroying our home. Where can we all go when everything is laid waste? Our arrogance and fear have blinded us to the fact that it is humility and love that brings the bounty that our world possesses into our hands to use for the benefit of all. We live in the mistaken belief that there is not enough for all so we must grab what we can. We think we can ‘own’ an ocean or a river, and think we can ring-fence them and barricade them from the advances of others. What foolishness!
The problem with creating beliefs of possession and ownership is that once it is conceived, we continue to think it is true, even against clear evidence to the contrary. This belief becomes the driving force and before we know it, we even begin to do deeds that would otherwise go against my own conscience, and definitely against Mother Earth. We have to continue to deceive the self and others, so we embellish and promote that belief, and before we know it everyone is sucked into that belief. The world becomes like my thinking, topsy turvy.
We have used and abused Nature, which is presently being blown up in our name! I don’t know about you, but the crazy actions being carried out by others, are definitely not in my name. I do not consent to the destruction of my world or the people in it. We need Mother Earth. It is not the other way around. She will go on to rejuvenate, but we will perish and die, blown to smithereens.
It’s Time… to start to give the gift of giving like Nature.
© ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK