There was a young tree that was trying to spread his branches to make its existence felt with new leaflets creeping out in the sunshine & the little buds opening their eyes to greet the world. The weather was unfavorable. The harsh winds were taking their toll on the silky leaflets and the delicate buds. Birds used to make their nests on it but desert it soon as they felt unsecured. It was struggling hard to survive. It would hope a new bud to open its eyes and before his dream would realize two buds would fall prey to the merciless weather. But the tree was strong willed and would never give up. Gradually with his determination the young tree developed a few thorns to protect him from the wrath of the nature and kept on nurturing its branches covered with leaflets and the blooming buds. But the thorns had become blunt and were not able to do the needful.
A little girl curious to know the world wandering from one place to other happened to pass by the tree. Tired of her journey she took shelter under that tree. The swaying of little leaves and sweet fragrance of little buds made the girl feel like heaven and put her to sleep for a while and during her sleep she saw a beautiful dream. The leaves and the buds became alive and started singing and dancing surrounding her. The golden rays of sun started showering their love on her and slowly converged turning into a hand; they picked up a small end of the root and gave it in her hands. Gave a gentle touch to her forehead and disappeared with the wink of eye. The young girl suddenly got up and opened her eyes, the sun was about to set; she looked at her hand and found she was holding one of the branches of the tree in her hand. She had never seen such a beautiful dream. She fell in love with the young tree. She spread her arms and embraced it and left for her home.
Whole night she kept on thinking about that tree and the dream that she saw under that tree. Next day morning she rushed to the tree. She looked around and then turned her eyes to the tree, looked from top to bottom. She asked looking at him –
“My dear friend, I see you struggle so hard still you are not blossoming the way the other trees around. Though younger to you, they have strong branches with thick cover of leaves and bunch of flowers. What is the reason?”
The tree answered, “Their roots are strong while my roots are not so strongly grounded so unable to absorb the water and necessary minerals for the growth. I try to gather as much as I can from the atmosphere but that is not sufficient. I can’t move myself and moreover I have to protect myself from the enemies who are continuously trying to make me hollow from inside.”
“Why don’t you get additional manure and water sprinkled to your roots from outside?” asked the girl.
“Who will take that pain every day? I tried asking a few people. They did so for a few days but as you can see the weather is so harsh; they ran out of patience” replied the tree in a low voice.
“Don’t lose heart, my dear friend. Now onwards you leave this up to me. I will be just waiting to see you blossom. I love see your leaves swaying and the little flowers smiling.” said the girl, embracing him.
The girl enjoyed and found immense pleasure in fetching water and manure from faraway places and pouring in to the roots of the tree with all her love. She would pray every day without fail for its long and healthy life. Her efforts started bearing fruits. Birds started singing & building their nest again. Thorns regained their sharpness. Slowly many people started taking shelter under the tree. The environment was so pleasant. The girl was so happy. She had got her best friend. Though everything was still not fine, the tree had his own wars to fight with but now he was not alone. The tree too would wait for her every day and shower all his love on that little girl. They would talk and weave dreams for beautiful tomorrow and wait for the day when all its branches would bear loads of fruits.
Spring was at its fullest and the tree was loaded with fresh leaves and beautiful flowers. Among the frequent visitors to the tree were a few girls. They loved to pluck the little buds and flowers for their joy. They would make garlands from them and decorate their hair, smell them and throw. They would pick up the leaves, mash them between their fingers, rub the branches against each other and laugh watching those flowers falling down. They enjoyed breaking twigs from here and there and scaring the birds on the nest. But the tree would never mind. He would enjoy and laugh with them. He was so mesmerized with their playfulness that he himself would shed his leaves and flowers to make them happy without feeling any pain. The thorns that the tree had developed for protection too would join them instead of protecting him. This act would make the little girl very sad. Her heart would cry whenever a flower was plucked or a tender twig was twisted. She would go to the tree and ask why he was allowing them to do so but he would simply laugh it off and ignore her and would get angry on her if she insisted to stop them. One day she went to the tree and with a little anger said, “Can’t you see you are harming yourself” The tree said angrily, “They are my friends. Leaves are mine, flowers are mine, twigs are mine and even fruits are mine. I will do what I want to. Who you are to tell me what to do and what not? It seems you are tired off the responsibilities you had taken and just want to shed them off. If you have problem you too can leave like the earlier ones. I don’t care.”
The girl was in a complete state of shock. Her eyes were filled with tears, her throat was choked, and she couldn’t utter a word. She couldn’t leave the tree and with the heavy heart continued doing what she had been all the days through with same love and affection. She tried to convince the girls not to harm the tree for their fun and tell the thorns to do their duty. The girls and the thorns didn’t like her objections and started troubling her. They would deliberately tease her; the thorns would prick her every now and then. She was afraid to talk to the tree. What if he again gets angry? She didn’t want to leave him. She would just look at the tree hoping someday he may see her wounds but he would see everything and ignore but never say a single word to them.
The continuous pricks and scratches left her bleeding. One day she mustered the courage to talk to the tree. She said, “O my friend! Your thorns have left me bleeding. Just see…” and before she could show her wounds the tree shouted in anger, “I don’t have time for your nonsense talks. They are my friends. I can’t do without them. If you want you can go. Do whatever you like” and got busy with them.The girl sat down under the tree. Her tears started flowing as if she had never cried before. She wept whole day whole night. She even forgot that her wounds were bleeding badly and needed help. The memories of past started rolling in front of her eyes like reels and she fell unconscious. It was a stormy night and when she closed her eyes forever, nobody knew. The storm caused leaves and flowers to fall from the tree and covered the body of the little girl. The next day began; the girl was nowhere to be seen. No one bothered. People walked over her body.
Season changed, summer came and took off all the leaves and flowers. Thorns dried up and became blunt. Birds left the tree and took shelter on the big trees. Soil got cracks & minerals exhausted without which the tree wouldn’t survive. And then the girl’s body that was lying under the cover of dried leaves and flowers started decomposing and soon got converted into the manure and got absorbed into the soil. With the great thunders the sky became cloudy and raindrops started soaking the earth; reaching the manure deeper and deeper into the soil from where the roots of tree sucked it up. With the dawn a small bud opened its eyes from the dried trunk and within no time the thick foliage covered the tree. Flowers bloomed; birds returned to their nests and started singing melodious songs. Everyone was happy but happiest was the little girl who had been transformed into a little twinkling star in the sky and was admiring the beautiful attire of her best friend who was standing tall amongst all.
The moral of the story: the essence of true love lies in giving.