Monday, October 18, 2004

The Boabab Tree

Many thousands of years ago, before human beings inhabited the earth, the trees were the most important of all life on earth.

Each god made a tree and bestowed on it properties to be enjoyed by the other gods. Some trees were made with good fruit to eat, some were made strong and hard for furniture, others were made for security and still other were made just for beauty.

The gods loved the trees and would come down to earth and sit in their shade, eat of their fruit and place the flowers in their hair. They assured each of the trees that they were all created equal and that no one tree was loved more than another.

Finally a group of gods decided to make the best tree of all, so they combined their talents and made a tree so big, so beautiful, with such fruit and so useful that they were amazed and they clapped their hands with delight. They called it the Boabab.

It had rainbow coloured flowers that shone as if the heavens had just rained them down onto the tree. It flowered all year long with no regard for the seasons. It produced the sweetest, juiciest cool fruit. Its leaves were used for healing and its wood was good for furniture.

But the baobab tree grew haughty as a result of its great size, and even greater beauty and usefulness. It started to give orders to the other trees and soon the other trees became afraid of the baobab tree, and were resenting it.

When the gods came down to sit under the trees they heard the rustling of the leaves and branches, and the saw that the other trees were most unhappy. This saddened them, for they truly loved all the trees, so they approached the baobab and spoke to it. They asked it to be gentle and kind to the other trees, and reminded it that its properties were gifts from the gods, not something that the baobab had learned to do.

But the baobab grew prouder still, even proud of the fact that the other trees resented it. It started to taunt the other trees. The other trees became even more unhappy. The useful trees closed their leaves, the branches died and their fruit didn't develop. The beautiful trees shed their flowers. But the baobab continued to flower and fruit and heal.

Then the gods grew alarmed and held a council. They then approached the baobab and gave it one last warning. "If you don't stop making the other trees unhappy, we will be forced to withdraw the properties we gave you at creation". But the birds in the branches whispered that the gods could not withdraw a gift once given, and the baobab just laughed.

Now the other trees started to droop, refusing to drink water, even when rained upon them gently from the sky. The gods had to do something.

Then one delicate little tree died.
This so angered the god who created that tree that he swept down, grabbed the baobab, pulled it up by its mighty roots and turned it upside down. Now it's beautiful leaves and flowers were in the ground and the roots were in the air.

Then one by one the trees began to drink. This is how the mighty baobab became a tree with its roots in the air - so that all the rest of creation can see how the haughty are humbled.

An African Folk Tale
Submitted by Moira, the Faerie Godmother


1 comment:

Glenn said...

There's no way I would read that whole thing, but that's a cool tree in the picture.