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The Trees And The Animals

This is a story from the Jataka Tales which shows how all living things are interdependent on each other for their sustenance and wellbeing.

Long, long ago in a forest in North India, a group of trees were having a discussion. They were disgusted about the carcasses left by the wild animals after eating their fill . The animals used to bring their prey and eat it under the shade of the trees and rest there.

The Sal Tree was very disgruntled. “These animals make the whole place stinking and it is so disgusting”, he said, “They have no regard for us!” “Yes, what you say is true”, murmured the Jamun tree, “The smell is unbearable especially during rains”. The Neem tree chipped in, “Yeah, since we do not object, the animals do not care. It is high time we did something”. The other trees swayed in agreement.

The Peepul tree who was the oldest among the lot said in a deep voice, “Hey Young fellows, learn to adjust in life. After all, we are all dependant on each other. We give them shade and they protect us….” Even before the Peepul completed, the Sal said, “Hmmph.. protect us is it? They only know how to dirty the place. I am not allowing this anymore huh!” The Peepul, as wise as it was, kept quiet for no advice given without asking is valued.

The next day, as soon as a leopard came and sat under the Sal Tree, the tree shook violently, as if possessed. The leopard was shocked out of his wits and ran away. Over the next few days, the Sal Tree and his friends behaved in a similar manner, shooing away all the wild animals. After a few days, no animal came near these trees. The Peepul Tree was watching with a sigh.

A few months later, the Sal Tree was very proud to have shooed away all the wild animals and was very happy that there was no stink anymore. The very next day, a group of men came in to the forest with their axes. The Sal was shocked when the men came and started deciding on which tree to cut first. “Oh no”, cried the Sal. “Why did these people come here? Who will save us?” The other trees around the Sal were also panicking, when the old Peepul spoke, “You shooed away our saviours. Had you a little patience at that time, you would not repent now. Now that there are no wild animals, more of us will be cut up soon.”

But before the Sal could reply, the axe fell on his neck…

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3 Comments

  1. Ram Mohan Narasimhan

    Nice story. There needs to be an equilibrium of everything. The trees need their space, as do the animals and the human beings. When this equilibrium gets disturbed beyond a point, chaos results. As forest cover shrinks, the animals then start invading the farmlands and villages in search of food and water, as has happened recently in Western Ghats

  2. Thank you very much for the comment. It also shows how important it is to adjust in life.

  3. Usha

    Sweet. Wondering what conversations the trees would be having about us. Probably they would end up feeling better about the animals.

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