For centuries stories have been told filled with morals and lessons for children, that they would hopefully keep in their minds and relate to as they grew up. Many of these stories pertained directly to the natural world that sustains by cleaning the water under the soils, and in the lakes, cleans the air we breath and feeds us.
This week as announcements that more and more clear cuts are approved and completed permeate the news and our social media pages, we are left to wonder what the plan is. Who is making these decisions to turn this province into a pulp farm, a desert, a barren land? Why? Who is running the show here? It is not the the people who want to see this province ravaged and bare, without trees. And this is not a new story. Many of the fables we heard as children talked about the error of cutting down all the trees. We know trees are our lungs, they clean the air and give us the oxygen we breathe. And so, in a tribute to the long time effort to educate children, so they may grow into people who think and contemplate their actions, here are a couple of stories we can all share.
Aesop’s The Tree and the Axe
A man came into the woods one day with an axe in his hand, and begged all the trees to give him a small branch which he wanted for a particular purpose. The trees were good-natured and gave him one of their branches. What did the man do but fix it into the axe head, and soon set to work cutting down tree after tree. Then the trees saw how foolish they had been in giving their enemy the means of destroying themselves.
The King and the Royal Trees
The King had a frightful dream. He dreamt that while riding his horse through the Royal Forest, the south wind called: “Beware of falling trees! Beware of falling trees!”
Though the trees were beautiful and waved gently in the wind, the King was frightened. He turned his horse and galloped out of the forest.
The next morning the King ordered his people to cut down all the trees in the kingdom. “We do not want the trees to fall down and hurt our children,” he reasoned. “We will remove the forest and grow vegetables instead.”
The people liked the King’s idea, for now they had their pick of the finest wood in the forest to build houses and furniture, and the rest of the trees were sold at handsome prices to neighbouring kingdoms.
Once all of the trees were cut down, the King felt happy — and relieved. But the people were unhappy. They missed the trees, which had provided work for loggers and carpenters, and homes for birds. Although they sadly missed their work, they missed the birds most of all.
Soon after the trees were gone, a dry south wind began to blow. It blew day after day. The vegetable crops began to wither and die. People huddled helplessly in their houses watching the wind uproot their gardens and scatter the dead plants across the land.
The King was worried. He called for his horse and rode through the fields to inspect the damage. There were no more trees to break the fury of the wind. As the wind blew faster, it swept withered plants and soil past the King, who watched dumbly as his kingdom blew northward.
Lost in clouds of dust and drifting sand, fatigue overcame the King. Nodding asleep in the saddle, he heard the south wind call: “Beware of falling trees! Beware of falling trees!”