A Simple Tale
By Vicky Armstrong
Far far away, in a dark distant forest stood a wise old tree, it was known for its love of life as well as displaying tough love when it came to protecting the things that it held most precious.
The wise old tree stood proud, head and shoulders above all the other growing saplings that sprawled out across the tip of its roots and beyond, for as far as the eye could see. The tree’s foliage was magnificent, reaching out like a huge colourful canopy over the undulating landscape which eventually led down to a beautiful meandering river which was as blue as the bluest lagoon.
Can you picture such a wondrous place? If you close your eyes you can almost feel it’s refreshing coolness, in fact it was so incredibly breath taking, that the wise old tree had likened it to what it imagined tree utopia to be like.
The wise old tree had enjoyed many, many years of standing there looking out and admiring the view, believing that it knew all that was needed to be known. It hoped that it had demonstrated to the saplings how big they might grow and how strong they might feel one day. They too could enjoy being head and shoulders above the rest if they took notice of all the wise words the old tree had shared with them.
Then one day, quite out of the blue when the sun was going down at the end of a long drizzly day, one of the small saplings noticed that a number of its friends were starting to gracefully slide down the hill on which they all stood. He cared to notice that they were heading straight towards the beautiful blue meandering river, the small sapling knew instinctively that something was dreadfully wrong and shouted over to the wise old tree to ask what could be done to stop them sliding down the hill and falling into the river where they would be swept away, never to be seen again.
The wise old tree thought for a moment, then taking a long deep breath it suggested that if the saplings weren’t strong enough to survive the fall then they would have to be left alone to their fate!
The small sapling didn’t believe that it was their time to go, they were just starting out and full of promise. The sapling asked the wise old tree to do something before it was too late. “Hold out one of your long, strong branches he shouted!” But the wise old tree knew better than to risk damaging one of its many magnificent branches, “Just ask them to drink as much as they can, as fast as they can ” it replied, in the hope that they would suck up the excess moisture in the ground and stop themselves from gliding down the banking.
The small sapling despaired, it was impossible, nothing was changing, the ground was too sodden, and they were heading inexorably into the river.
The sapling pleaded with the wise tree “There must be something more we can do, think wise old tree, think!”
This is the only way I know because it’s happened before and if they are strong enough they will survive!
Needless to say, there were casualties; none of the small sapling’s group of friends survived the landslide. The small sapling was unhappy with the advice that he had been given and he believed
that there must have been another option , it was such a waste. He considered what would have happened if they had thrown a vine around one of the branches of the wise old tree and then around his friends to stop them from sliding. What would have happened then, he wondered? Surely the strength of the wise old tree would have helped the less experienced younger trees to survive the land slide and prevented them from being washed away, so prematurely!
The young sapling was left feeling sad and he wished that he had asserted himself more when asking the wise old tree for help.
Following a short silence, he shouted across to the old tree “what were you afraid of? Did you think one of your boughs might break?”
The wise old tree didn’t respond, instead it sat back and thought for a while and then a while longer……..
Suddenly a question presented itself, what had to be true for the small sapling? And indeed, what was its own truth?