Of trees and men
Once upon a time in a land far, far away, there grew a tree of great knowledge. It was the wisest of the wise and could be said the most scariest tree of all. Sages, poets, learned men came from all around to visit the tree only to be turned away, their questions left unanswered. For as wise as their questions were, the tree would just snort and say, "Why come to me for answers when you have them all?"
Days grew long and fewer came to visit the tree of knowledge. Time passed and soon the tree was all but forgotten. Then one day a man came to the forest with an axe and started chopping down all the trees. The trees cried out to the great tree of knowledge for help. The man raised his axe when suddenly a strange eerie sound filled his soul.
"Why do you come here to destroy my friends?"
The man stepped back, shaking his head and wondered to himself if he was hearing things. He raised the axe again.
"Why do you come here to destroy my friends?" The tree of knowledge repeated itself.
The man looked about and saw a most beautiful tree shimmering in the sunlight. He stood back, looking at the sparkling silvery leaves.
"And who is asking may I ask?"
The tree seemed to stand taller and prouder.
The man narrowed his eyes. Then shrugging, he bent down to pick up the axe again.
"I asked you a question first. Answer it and then, I will answer yours."
"Well, I need wood to build my house and to keep my family warm." The man reasoned.
"Oh." The tree of knowledge said in a small voice, knowing now there would be no saving of the forest.
"Um, now tell me, who are you?"
"I am the tree of knowledge. Sages, poets, learned men used to come and ask me questions."
"Yes, but that was a long time ago and now I am all but forgotten."
The wood cutter now stood in front of the tree.
"So your friends? You wish to save them."
"Ah, I would but that is impossible, for man is the greediest of creatures. So prideful. When I would answer their questions, they would shake their heads and go do whatever they wanted to in the first place."
"Ah, must be tough."
"Yes. Why ask advice when you already know what you want to do?"
"Well, you could have just agreed with them."
"Ah, but, I could not. Simply said, I would not be true to myself."
"But weren't these men being true to themselves?"
The tree of knowledge now bowed to the man.
"Sir, I have lived long and am quite old. Please cut me down. You have made me realize something most wise."
The man looked at the shimmering silvery tree and smiled.
"I am sorry. I cannot do that."
"But I do not want my friends to suffer."
"I will go to the forest acrost the way." The man spoke quietly. "May I come speak with you again?"
"Only if you wish."
And so the woodsman and the wise tree became strange friends as time passed.
The tree enjoyed the man's visits for his questions were simple and the man followed the tree's advice. And so the tree was happy.
Then many days passed and the man did not come to see him. It was strange and lonely but the tree could do nothing but wait.
One day, as the sun rose up, the trees of the forest cried out as the the strange sound of buzzing came to the ears of the wise tree.
"So .... now is the end."
The tree called out to the men who came to the forest but no one heard over the sounds of the chain saws.
The tree cried for his friends and awaited his turn.
A man soon appeared with chalk in his hand. He stood infront of the magnificent tree. It was very old and very thick. Just think of all the buildings that could be made out of this wood, he thought to himself as he grabbed the red chalk to mark it for cutting.
As he went to make his first mark, the tree spoke.
"Tell me. What does that Mark mean?"
The man stopped and shook his head wondering if indeed he was hearing things.
"Did... did you just speak to me?" The young man said.
"Ah. You look familiar. A man similar to you would come and see me and ask questions. I wonder if you are related."
The young man looked earnestly at the beautiful tree.
"My... my father told me of a wise tree in the forest that spoke to him. All these years, I thought he was crazy. I wonder are you that tree?"
"Ah. Please could you tell me of your father? I miss him."
The young man stared thru the tree.
"My father passed three years ago. He and I did not get along well... you see. He always had the strangest advice. I always refused to listen."
"Oh... I see." The tree shimmered with light. "So you did not finish Highschool."
"No. I fought him about that."
"And you did go with that girl."
"Ah, and you joined that gang."
"Oh. And how was the outcome of all that? any regrets?"
"My father opposed eveything."
"So what happened?"
"Well, the only job I can get is this one, the girl made moves on my best friend, and I just got out of prison for assault due to a gang fight. so I don't know what to say... Except that my dad was right. Unfortunately, he died before I could tell him." the young man eyed the tree suspiciously. Then added, "How did you know about all of that?"
"Your father loved you with all his heart and would come and ask me what to do."
"Apparently I was no help though." The tree spoke very quietly as if an almost resolved state.
"Um, well. I guess I will be going."
"No. Wait. Please mark me with the red chalk."
"That.... that would mean your death.... would it not?" The young man quiried.
"What of it? Your father was one of the kindest men I have ever known and he could not help you."
The young man gazed at the beautiful tree. Raising his chalk he stopped as whispered.... "You were my father's friend. How can I put you to death." As he laid his hand on the silvery bark, tears fell down. "Do you think my dad knew? That he knew that I loved him?"
The tree bent his branches down and gave the boy an awkward hug, gently whispering to the boy.
"I know he did. He was so proud of you for overcoming everything. He told me how you went to jail after pleading guilty. You did not lie or try to get out of it. He told me how you were getting your ged, not sure what that is, actually. But he said it was like a highschool diploma while you were in jail. He felt like you would turn your life around. So you see, it is as he told me before.... People only want advice they want to here... to validate their own decisions made in their hearts."
The tree released the boy and then added, "I think your father was truly a wise man."
The boy replied, "I do too." then swallowing hard. "Are you sure you want this?" Taking the red chalk out and once again placing it on the trunk.
"Why yes. For you see, I am a tree and am meant to be made into something."
The boy smiled, "I will make sure you are made into a home." As he placed the red marks on the trunk....and walked away.
And so the boy and with tree of knowledge were finally happy ... ever after......