The Talking Tree

Image Credit: Sairaj Wayne

Once upon a time, there were two friends named Diyan and Ramon. They were not only friends but also neighbours. They went to the same school and every evening, played together. Both loved to play cricket. Among foods, while Diyan loved pasta, ice cream was Ramon’s favourite. Above all, they loved each other’s company and were great friends.

Now, one Sunday morning, Diyan and Ramon had a lot of free time. “Hey Diyan!” said Ramon, “Would you like to go to the store to buy candy? The weather is lovely.” Indeed, it was a bright sunny day and the birds were chirping in the trees. Diyan agreed and put on the new black cap that he had recently received as a gift. And they set out.

However, on the way a swift breeze started blowing and it soon became stronger with every passing minute. The sun hid behind the clouds and the weather became windy. Diyan struggled to hold on to his cap. At last, there was such a strong gust of wind that off flew his cap from his head. “Oh no! My new cap!” he cried and requesting Ramon to wait there, he ran to fetch it. However, the cap blew with the wind for quite some time before finally landing in a park.

The wind had stopped by now. Diyan entered the park cautiously. He had never seen this place before. It was filled with lush green grass. And on the grass, there were hats and caps of all sizes! The little boy stared in wonder. Blue hats, frilly white hats, long and pointed black caps, Superman and X-Men logo caps, you name it! It appeared as if the place was a store for hats on display. Diyan began looking for his own black cap.

“Have you lost your cap, my boy?” boomed a voice. The boy turned around but there was no one. He grew confused. “It is me,” spoke the voice again, and Diyan found that it was a tree that was speaking to him. It was on one end of the park. But it was such a strange tree. On its branches, hung ice cream cones, chocolate bars, pizza slices and lollipops! The boy couldn’t believe his eyes. This was stranger than all the stories that he had ever read.

“Have you lost your cap?” said the tree.

“Y-yes,” stammered Diyan. He was utterly bewildered as it was the first time that a tree was speaking to him.

“Alright. Don’t be afraid. You may take your cap if it is here.”

Image Credit: Sairaj Wayne

The boy searched for a few moments before he located his own cap. It looked plain and simple compared to all the other hats and caps that were lying around but Diyan was happy to find it. As he was about to leave, the tree spoke again.

“Are you sure that is your cap?”

“Yes. And I am pleased to have it.” Diyan smiled.

“Well, you may pluck any food that you want from my branches. However, you would have to eat it by yourself here in the park before you go.”

Now, the boy thought for a while. He loved pizzas, especially macaroni cheese pizzas and he could see them hanging from the tree. But he did not want to have it by himself in the park.

“My friend is waiting for me,” he said. “In such a situation, I cannot have any food on my own without sharing it with him. I would have loved to eat pizzas but I cannot do so without giving him. So, thank you for your offer but I’m really sorry.”

The tree smiled. “As you wish,” he said. “But before you leave, please fill your pockets with some of the stones in the heap. Do as I say.”

Diyan looked at the heap of stones lying at the foot of the tree and grew puzzled. Why was the tree asking him to put stones in his pocket? But he did not raise any questions and did as he was told. Then he left the park and found his way back to Ramon.

“Whatever took you so long?” said his friend and Diyan narrated the incident. When they reached the candy store, it had grown late and the shop had closed for the afternoon. The two friends sat on a roadside bench, exhausted from having walked so far. As Diyan stroked his pants, he suddenly felt his pockets and was amazed to find that the stones were no longer there. As he retrieved the content of his pocket, what should he find but carefully wrapped pizza slices! They were all macaroni cheese pizzas – like the ones hanging on the tree! He jumped in joy and shared them with Ramon, who was   equally happy at this delightful surprise.

Soon after, Ramon devised visiting the park himself. But he was greedy and having heard of the lovely things at the park, wanted to get as much as he could. On a windy day, he went out on his own wearing a cap. And just as he wanted, the wind blew off his cap and carried it away. Like Diyan, he ran after it and soon came to the beautiful park strewn with hats and caps of various types. The talking tree asked him to fetch his cap. “The tree doesn’t know which is my actual cap,” thought Ramon. “Let me take a fine-looking cap.”And so he took a turquoise blue cap with a white feather sticking out. It was wonderfully stylish. Ramon picked it up and told the tree that he had found his cap.

When the tree offered him something to eat from its branches with the condition that he have them by himself in the park, the boy took three ice cream cones – vanilla, chocolate, and butterscotch and devoured them.  At last, when the tree asked him to pick some stones from the heap, Ramon took out a cloth bag that he had folded neatly in his pocket and filled it with stones. He put stones in his pocket too, as he knew that they would change into his favourite food later. Then he exited the park and headed home.

On the way, he huffed and puffed under the weight of the stones as they were heavy. When he arrived  home and checked on the stones, he was mightily surprised to find that they were still stones! His disappointment was not little. “But at least I have a brand new cap,” he thought. But when he put his hand on his head, there was nothing there! The cap was gone. Ramon kicked and cried in frustration. He realized how his greed had led him to lose everything that he had hoped to gain.

Image Credit: Sairaj Wayne

The talking tree was after all, no ordinary tree. It had rewarded Diyan for his honesty and selflessness but punished Ramon for his greed.

***

The central character is based on Diyan Ghosh.

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