At the edge of a forest, stood a big tree. Its branches spread out majestically and so did its roots. It shielded people from the sun under its shady leaves, and provided shelter to countless birds and other small creatures in its branches. It buzzed with activity all the time.

At the foot of the tree grew a little plant. The plant was willowy and delicate, and tended to keel over at the touch of the slightest breeze.

One day, the two neighbours were having a little chat.

“Well, little one,” said the tree to the plant, “Why do you not plant your feet deeply in the ground, and raise your head boldly in the air as I do?”

The mighty tree [Illustration by Shinod AP]
The mighty tree [Illustration by Shinod AP]

“I see no need to do so,” whispered the plant with a smile. “Actually, I think I may be safer this way.”

“Safer!” sneered the tree. “Are you suggesting that you’re safer than I am? Do you know how deep my roots are buried, how thick and strong my trunk is? Even if two men hold hands they would not be able to surround my trunk. Who could possibly pluck me by the roots or bow my head to the ground?”

And the tree turned away from the plant in a great huff.

But the tree was to regret its words very soon. One evening a great hurricane arose in the region. It hurled the trees off their roots and almost completely destroyed the forest. It uprooted the neem tree and hurled it away with great force.

When the storm had passed, the villagers living nearby surveyed the damage. Mighty trees that had once almost touched the sky, were now reduced to stumps or worse. The forest was littered with their carcasses.

But there was one exception. The little plant. The plant had been tossed and turned under the fury of the hurricane, and bent completely. But when the hurricane ended, it sighed and stood upright again.

No trace remained of its mighty neighbour though.

341 words | 3 minutes
Readability: Grade 4 (9-10 year old children)
Based on Flesch–Kincaid readability scores

Filed under: folktales
Tags: #trees, #roots, #hurricane, #trunk

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