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The Boy and the Apple Tree
by Sunitichandra Mishra

Long ago, near a mountainside, there was a big apple tree and there was a little boy who used to play around it. He climbed to the treetop, ate the apples and even took a nap under its shadow. He loved the apple tree and the tree was always happy to play with him. Many days passed like this.

And the boy grew up. Now he had many friends and he was not very eager to play around the apple tree. When he did not come for many days, the apple tree became sad. Then one day the boy came. The apple tree was happy and said: “Why don’t you come to play with me now?” the boy replied: “Now I am grown up. Playing around you does not satisfy me. I want to play with toys but I have none.” The tree became sad and said: “Sorry, I have no money for them but you can pluck my apples, sell them and buy some toys.” The boy was very happy. He plucked many apples from the tree, sold them and bought many toys.

Days passed by again and for many days the boy did not come to play with the tree. The tree was sad and lonely. Then again one day the boy came. The apple tree was very happy and said: “Why don’t you come to play with me now?” The boy, who was now in fact a full-grown man, said: “Now I have no time. I have family. In fact I want to make a house but I have no money.” “No problem,” the tree said, “Bring an axe and cut my trunk and branches and make a house for yourself.” So did the man. The tree was very happy and satisfied to help him.

Days passed by. The man did not come to the apple tree for many, many days. Again the tree was missing him. Then one day, the man appeared. The apple tree’s joy knew no bounds. It said: “Why don’t you come to play with me now?” “How can I? Don’t you see I’ve become such an old man? I have no strength to climb to your top. I have no teeth to bite your apples. My only desire is to travel the world but I have no boat.” “Worry not,” the tree smiled, “My trunk and branches are once again fit. Cut them and make a boat for you.” So did the man and traveled the world.

Many days passed by again and the man did not come back to the apple tree. The tree was sad and lonely more than ever. Then one day the man came again. The tree was so glad to see him. It said: “Why don’t you come and play with me now?” The man said: “I am too tired.” The tree said sadly: “Ah! I’ve nothing now to offer you. Apples don’t grow on me now. I am weak and hollow from within.” The man smiled: “What I need now? Nothing. I am just tired and want to sleep. May I sleep under your shade?” “Why not, my son! Sleep under my shade.” And the man slept peacefully.

Now neither that apple tree exists nor that man, but a dervish told me: “That boy was just like any child and that tree was like a parent. Whatever you want, your parents give you just to see you happy and the way the boy treated the tree, perhaps we all treat our parents.”    

Image under license with gettyimages.com

2-Jul-2006
 
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