There was a little tree who lived

Sarah Logan

The forest held the greatest trees in the world. The majestic trees stood over forty feet tall with their leaves reaching for the glorious sunshine.

But beneath the surface of the golden-yellow and burning red-orange leaves was a small tree.

The streaks of red and orange and yellow stole the sunshine from the little tree. Rain would often fall on the bigger trees, but it would never reach the little tree. Sometimes the little tree would get drops of water, but all it did was make him greedy. He wanted more; his thirst could never be quite quenched.

He had grown up with all the beautiful trees. They used to be his “people,” but now they wanted nothing to do with the disparate little tree. 

As soon as they realized he would never grow to be as tall as them, the towering trees refused to allow the warm drops of sunlight to fall upon him. They left him in the dark in the barren wasteland below. They smothered him. 

Even when they were growing up together, the little tree was treated differently, but throughout his life, he always had the humans. Some of these humans were of a similar height to the little tree. Every day, they would bring him water from their shiny buckets.

Very little water came from these buckets at first; the humans had no reason to give the tree their water. Although they, too, needed water to survive, water was overflowing out of their buckets—more than enough to last them multiple lifetimes. 

They would climb the tree. They would take the leaves of the tree. They would break off its limbs. They left the little tree barren. They treated the little tree as the towering, majestic trees had.

Eventually, they left the little tree behind. He no longer had any value to them.

But soon, from behind the big tree trunks, came these new humans. Some had stolen a visit to him before; others had hid quietly in the distance. The little tree thought these new people were like the rest of the humans.

Yet, their buckets weren’t nearly full as the others; some of them held only drops. The buckets were full of little dents and scratches. Their faces were worn and tired; their hands were rough from constant labor.

They were the ones who offered and gave more water to the little tree than anyone else. They saw the beauty of the little tree; they looked past his barren skeleton, past the rotted wood. 

The little tree was filled with gratitude. He provided them wood; he gave them shelter, a mere place to sit. The little tree had very little to give.

These humans saw that the bigger trees were blocking the sunlight from the little tree. Together, they all worked to move him.

They moved the little tree to the middle of a field where he could look out for miles and miles at the forest he would one day help to create.

The little tree never grew to be as big as the trees he had left behind, but he soaked up every bit of shine and water that he got and only took what he needed. He was always quick to offer anyone who visited him sunshine and water,  just as the humans had for him.

He became the fullest little tree. He had everything, yet he knew what it was like to have nothing.

He would never forget.