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Wisdom in Story - Parable of the Trees

Posted by Steven Barben on



Parable of The Trees


     There was once aParable of the Trees certain man who owned very much land where upon he had planted and grown very many trees of all varieties.  His forest was most beautiful and admired by men and women throughout the land. 



     The man, as well, loved his beautiful forest.  Each day he walked about in it and also admired it.  Nevertheless, the man was growing very old and well knew that one day the years would take his life.

      So then he considered what should become of his forest of trees after his death.  He thought to sell it, but soon decided that it was far too valuable to be sold, knowing that any one particular buyer for selfish interest could easily destroy it or hide its beauty from the rest of the people whereby all of his effort would be lost.

      He decided finally that he would invite the people of the land to come and visit his forest and suggest to him how his trees could be most wisely used.  This way, he could determine who should inherit his forest of trees.

      As expected, many people came with many suggestions and ideas for the best use of his forest. 

      First came the profit seekers.  They walked through the forest quickly and returned with great praise.

      "Your forest is most beautiful and your accomplishments most admirable," they said.

      "If this forest were yours, what would you do with it?"  The old man asked.

      "This forest," said they, "has become famous throughout all of the land.  We would cut all of the trees into pieces and sell them to the people that they all may have a piece of the forest to remember it by."

      "Obviously, my forest has found praise and fame in the land," the old man replied.  "But can you be so hypocritical as to praise its beauty and destroy it in the same breath?  Go your way, for I have no further need of your words.  This forest shall not be yours."

      Next came the preservers glorifying the forest. 

      "Your forest," they said, "is a great work of art, too wonderful for this human world to disturb.  Therefore, we would build a great wall around it to protect it from the many people so that none could damage its precious trees."

      "Oh fools!"  The old man said.  "Would you take my beautiful forest and lock it away from the very purpose for which I raised it up?  What good use has a work of art if no one is allowed to see or use it?  If this forest should fall into your hands, my whole life would be of no value.  Therefore leave me, I'll hear no more of your words."

      Later, there arrived an educated fruit grower to consult with the old man.  He had viewed the forest and also complimented its beauty, but because of his training, he envisioned a great orchard producing many bushels of fruit.  When asked what he would do with the forest, he told the old man that he would cut down all of the trees except those that produced some kind of fruit, then plant and fill the cleared land with fruit trees.

      The old man simply shook his head.  "I didn't ask you how to make the best use of only fruit trees, but how to most wisely make valuable the whole forest."

      Then came many other educated men, each with his own special interest.  The home builder wanted to plant and harvest a pine forest; the furniture maker wanted only oak, maple and cherry and the gardener would do away with most of the trees, leaving primarily flowers, grass and shrubbery.  Somebody wanted an aspen grove, and somebody wanted a redwood forest.  Oh many came with advice and suggestions, yet none appeared to be wise enough to understand the true value and great potential of the old man's forest.  The old man's heart sank in sorrow; and still he wondered to whom his forest should be given.

      Then one day the old man noticed a young neighbor walking through his forest of trees.  Out of trivial interest, he thought to ask the boy what he thought of the forest and so, went out and approached him.

      "They're all beautiful, mister," the young boy said.

      "Now tell me boy," said the old man, "if they were your trees, what would you do with them?"

      "Oh not much of anything," said the boy.  "I'd let 'em be like they are.  As people need them for their fruit or wood, I'd let 'em come and get what they need and the old dead ones could be burned in their fireplaces.  I suppose that there are lots of things trees are good for when they're ready, but for now I like 'em just the way they are."

      "My boy!" the old man exclaimed. "Your understanding surprises me.  I think I shall some day give to you this whole forest."

      "Well I'm just a young boy.  I don't know much about trees."

      "Sure you do," said the old man, "at least more than all the other people in the land.  When I die, this forest will be yours.  I'm going to give it to you."

      "Well if you think so," said the boy.

      "Yes, I do think so," the old man said.

      "Thanks mister," the boy said.

      The old man then returned to his home wondering how it could be that a young uneducated boy could have more understanding and vision than all of the educated men in the land.

      Unfortunately, however, young boys grow up and sometimes learn too much of the wisdom of men.


Find this story and many others in Wisdom's Way: Tales, Treasures, Truths at

 Also available as an E-book on Amazon

Parable of the Trees is a story excerpt from Wisdom's Way: Tales, Treasures, Truths

Copyright 2010 Steven A. Barben


Steven A. Barben shares stories from his book - Wisdom's Way: Tales, Treasures, Truths in "Wisdom in Story;" provides stone information  and tales that typify emotions, moods, and personality or character symbols of various stones in "Wonder in Stone;" and clears confusion, raises awareness, and opens stone, gem and jewelry understanding in "Stone Truth."





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