Once there was a grande orchard that stretched as far as the eye could see. Although the soil was full of pathogens and diseases, it contained an abundance of nutrients and it’s tilth was second to none. The soil was so rich that the fruit trees that grew there were unaffected by the death within it. These trees were known to be among the finest to be found. In the center of the orchard, where the soil was the richest, stood a magnificent fruit tree. It’s grandeur stood apart from all the other trees in the orchard. There was a long running legend about the wisdom of that beautiful tree, who’s fruit was so perfect that no other fruit compared.
Since it had been discovered ages ago, travelers from all corners of the earth had sought to taste it’s fruit and stare at it’s beauty. Throughout the centuries, wars had been waged in an attempt to lay claim to the orchard and the legendary tree of wisdom.
One day a ferocious storm developed over the orchard. As the sky darkened with rage, the heavens opened and lashed lightning down upon the dirt, scorching all the fiber embedded within it. Acid rain descended from the skies, ravaging everything it touched until the orchard was consumed by a great flood. The trees managed to withstand the force of the storm and, although they had sustained heavy damage, were not completely devastated by it. However, as the flood water subsided, it washed away much of the nutrients from within the soil. Much of the rich fiber had been scorched by lighting or contaminated by the acid rain.
The wise fruit tree understood that his roots wood be susceptible to the pathogens and diseases without the abundance of nutrients and fiber. Knowing that these would spread to his fruit, making them uneatable and possibly deadly, he let go of all the luscious fruit, never to bear fruit again.
A short while later a traveler passed through the orchard and noticed the great tree at it’s center. Recognizing it as the tree from all the legends, he was overwhelmed with excitement and rushed over to it that he might eat of it’s unspeakably delectable fruit. Disappointed to find no fruit on it’s branches, he still marveled at it’s beauty, saying to the tree.
“You are the most magnificent tree I have ever seen. I know you are the wise tree from all the legends. Tell me, If you are such a great fruit tree, why do you have no fruit?”
The wise tree smiled and then leaned over and whispered in his ear. “Do not be fooled. For despite what you have heard, I am not a fruit tree. I am a great shade tree, taller than any you have ever seen. But,” warned the tree to the traveler. “Do not speak of this to anyone or you will be ridiculed.”
The traveler left the orchard and stopped at nearby tavern. Despite the warning of the wise tree, he could not help but talk about what he had heard. Although some in the room were slightly interested in what he said, most mocked him just as the tree had warned.
Now, although the orchards soil no longer was conducive to producing fruit, it did contain what was necessary for the wise tree to grow tall. As the fruit on the other trees began to be infected, the wise fruit tree grew into an enormous towering shade tree. He was so tall and his limbs stretched so far that he gave shade to the entire orchard.
Ages passed and another traveler passed through the orchard and noticed the wise tree that he had heard legend of. Stopping under it’s incredible branches, he spoke to the tree.
“You are the most magnificent tree I have ever seen. I know you are the wise tree from the legends. Tell me, what is a great shade tree like you doing in the middle of this orchard?”
The wise tree smiled and then leaned over and whispered in his ear. “Do not be fooled. For despite what you have heard, this is not an orchard but a great desert, one of the largest you have ever seen. But,” Warned the wise tree. “Do not speak of this to anyone, for if you do, you will be ridiculed.
The traveler looked around at all the fruit trees and then asked the tree. “Then what are all these fruit trees?”
“Do not be fooled.” The tree replied again. “Their fruit is bitter and diseased. Indeed one bite may even bring death to him who eats it. Their leaves are withered and they are dead.” for the wise tree knew that soon enough the fruit trees would lose their fruit and their ability to sustain life and would slowly disintegrate until they disappeared into the soil.
Ages passed and yet another traveler journeyed through what was now a vast desert. Noticing the great tree, he drew closer seeking the shade of it’s leaves from the hot desert sun. As he looked on with awe, he spoke to the tree.
“You are the most magnificent tree I have ever seen. I know you are the wise tree from the legends. Tell me, Why is a great tree like you in the middle of this desert?”
The wise tree smiled and leaned down whispering in his ear. “Do not be fooled. For despite how it appears, this is not a desert but a mighty forest, larger than any you have ever stepped foot in. But,” he warned. “Do not speak of this to anyone, for if you do, you will be ridiculed.”
The traveler shook his head for there was not another tree in site. But the wise tree knew that out of view, beneath the soil, there were millions of seeds that had fallen from the orchard trees ages ago. And these seeds had begun to grow.
Ages passed and by now the wise old tree began to feel his limbs losing there strength and becoming hard. He noticed his core start to hallow and rot and he knew his time was was near. About this time a traveler passed through what was now a mighty forest. He happened to glance through the thick bushes and see the towering majestic tree standing in the middle of the forest. His heart rose with excitement for knew at once that this was the legendary tree of wisdom that he had studied about his whole life. Finally he had found what he had sought after for so long. He rushed over to the foot of the beastly tree and rested his hand on its bark and said.
“You are the most magnificent tree I have ever seen. I know you are the great wise tree of the legends. I have have spent my entire life trying to find you. Tell me, as one who has studied your immense greatness, what wisdom can you impart to me about life?”
The wise tree smiled and leaned over whispering in his ear. “Do not be fooled. For despite what you have heard, and despite what you have studied and despite even what appears to be, I do not exist. I am merely the greatest legend you have ever heard. But.” Warned the wise tree. “Do not speak of this to anyone. For if you do, you will be ridiculed.”
The traveler was shocked, unsure of how the tree could be so naive. “That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. For I have read about the wars fought over you. And I have studied about the ignorant traveler who didn’t know how the soil changed after the great storm. And I know about the foolish merchant who was too blind to see that the orchard had been consumed by death. And I examined how the bitter preacher could not see the life of a forest waiting to emerge around him. I have taught many people about the danger of not being able to see past our preconceived ideas. And I have been enlightened with the wisdom of understanding the most difficult truths, even when it goes against all of logical thought. All these things are proof that you do in fact exist. Now, however, I see how ignorant I was to believe the legends. You are nothing more than an old tree among millions. How foolish I was to waste my entire life believing in your wisdom, only to discover that you are a fraud. Tell me, What do you have to say for yourself?”
But the wise tree did not respond for his roots not longer had the power to draw up water. And his veins ran dry of the summer dew. He had breathed his last and gone to rest. His trunk can still be seen standing tall above the forest but his wisdom and truth can only be found in the legends and stories of old. And no one has been able to prove if they are real or not.