The tree that continued to burn
There was once a tree in the middle of the forest. It wasn’t just any tree. It was tall and sturdy, with its branches extending over an entire perimeter. In bloom, it was the most beautiful tree in the forest, visible from miles away. From above, pilots flew around it in circles as it appeared like a lily in a pond of frogs.
The tree knew it was extraordinary and that it was admired for its exquisiteness. It took care of its body, assuring enough sunlight and water reached its stem and leaves. Yet soon, attention gave into narcissism. And the tree became so vain it repulsed the forest animals and bugs. No one wanted to be around it anymore because it had become so obsessed with itself. With its looks, with its bushy appearance, with its dominance in the forest. The other trees were overshadowed by this one, as it stood tall and swayed in the direction of the light, hungrily consuming the sun’s rays, while its deep roots lapped up the majority of the water in the soil.
Soon, the tree had ruthlessly devoured most of the nutrients and elements required for growth and the forest was starving. The other trees had become feeble and dried to the point that they were withering away.
The forest was resembling a patched blanket as the trees perished leaving behind gaps of rubble where they once stood. Yet the conceited tree remained firm in place, concentrating for itself as many nutrients still remained.
One day, a mocking jay flew above the forest with a sparkle on one of its legs. The tree looked up and smiled, jeering at the bird for its meagre appearance. At that moment, the bird dropped its sparkle right onto the tree.
It was a small piece of burning coal.
With water being scarce in the forest, the tree too was becoming severely dehydrated and it was not long before it caught on fire. Its abundant branches ablaze, the tree could do nothing other than watch itself burn. The fire had rapidly spread across the forest gulping up any remnant of a tree that it found in its way. Now all that remained was a towering tree in the middle of scorched land, glaring from the intensity of the flames.
The tree was too proud to call for help. So it kept burning.
For days, weeks, and months it burned. It combusted even when it thought there was nothing left to consume.
When it decided to curb its egotism and finally call for help, it was too late. It no longer had a voice with which to yell. And anyone who saw the great tree aflame in the once forest, thought it was too late to save it. So no action was ever taken.
The tree learned the hard way that some things should be more carefully considered. And it vowed that if given a second chance it would do things differently. It would use its strength to protect the forest instead of contributing to its demise.
When everything seemed lost, the mocking jay returned.
As soon as it flew over the tree, the flames were miraculously exterminated. And by the time the tree thanked its dear friend to whom it also apologized for being so inconsiderate before, a green shot bulged from the carbon-infested tree trunk.
The tree was given a rare second chance. And it was determined to live up to its vow this time.