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Three Thorny Trees

There were three thorny trees. Their leaves were bitter, while the flowers lacked fragrance. Men, animals and even birds avoided turning that way.

Those trees felt unhappy as none cared for them. Praying with tear filled eyes to Hathor, Goddess of trees, they pleaded for dignified life. She asked them what they wanted. The first tree sad, “Bless me with leaves having golden sheen.” 

“I love to have fragrant flowers in diverse hues,” said the second tree.

“I pray for sweet fruit on all my branches,” the third tress disclosed.

“Be it so!” said the goddess with a smile.

The first tree was covered with leaves with golden sheen. Sun rays added to their splendor. The second tree was thrilled to find muti-colored flowers all along its branches. Their fragrance cast a fascinating spell. The third tree bore sweet fruit that covered it completely. Branches swung down due their weight. 

The three trees were overwhelmed with the bounty granted by the Goddess. Mutual admiration made them chuckle in delight. Sweet conversation reflected their pleasant state. People started travelling along the path. A person noticed the leaves in golden sheen and congratulated himself. In a trice he denuded the tree, breaking all branches and nipping all leaves. The tree smarted under the attack.

After a while a group of young boys arrived there. They plucked one fruit and tasted it. Wondering at the sweet taste of the fruit, they climbed all over the branches like monkeys and collected all the fruit. They pelted stones at those branches beyond their reach. Not even a tiny raw fruit was left on the tree. So clean was their operation. With bruised body, shorn of all fruit the tree looked pathetic.

Just then a small group of girls came there. Colorful blossoms drew their attention. Fascinated by the fragrance of those flowers they plucked them all. They snapped branches to plant in their yards. In no time the third tree looked bald with all branches and flowers gone. The three trees looked at each other and shed tears.

“Has our fate rendered us so? Leaves, colorful flowers and tasty fruit made our existence inconsequential.” 

Fearing further assaults, they prayed to the Goddess of trees once again.

“Forgive our folly and restore our earlier stature. We no longer crave for public attention and unnecessary attractions that culminate in people’s diverse responses.  We don’t want leaves, flowers or fruit that we longed for.  Our earlier existence was so peaceful,” they pleaded. 

Their copious tears of repentance moved her. With gentle smile of a loving mother she said, “Let it be so!”

[Translation of Telugu story written by Dr M. Hari Kishan, first published in ‘Saakshi’ newspaper Sunday Supplement dated January 14, 2024.]

11-Feb-2024

More by :  Dr. T. S. Chandra Mouli

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