The Tallest Tree

by Breck Yunits

The boy looked up at the tree that was ten times taller than the others.

Then he looked down and saw an old man sitting in a carved out stump next to the tree.

"Excuse me mister, why is that tree so tall?" the boy asked.

Gray Beard explained the tree.

"Do you understand?"

"Yes. I understand," said the boy.

The boy turned around and walked out of the forest back to the city.

*

In the city the boy met many people.

One day a friend had a problem with her eye.

He helped her get the right medicine.

The boy decided to learn more about medicines.

He got a job selling medicines.

A few years later he had saved some money.

*

He returned to the forest and found Gray Beard sitting in his carved out stump by the tall tree.

He told Gray Beard about his experiences.

Gray Beard again explained the tree.

"Ah! Now I understand," said the young man.

*

Back in the city the young man began helping people with their projects.

He put his savings into some of his favorite projects.

Years later, one project helped many people and he became rich.

*

He returned to the forest and found Gray Beard sitting in his carved out stump by the tall tree.

He told Gray Beard about his experiences.

Gray Beard again explained the tree.

"Ah! Finally I understand," said the man.

*

He left the forest and went back to the city.

In the city he took classes and went to parties and danced and fell in love.

A few years later he looked down at a beautiful crying baby.

*

He returned to the forest and found Gray Beard sitting in his carved out stump by the tall tree.

He told Gray Beard about his experiences.

Gray Beard again explained the tree.

The new father stood there.

Nothing was said.

He rubbed his own beard.

*

He left the forest and went back to the city.

"Let us pack then," his wife said to him.

They packed their bags and buckled up their children and drove to the forest.

*

Back in the forest he went to the tall tree.

The carved out stump was empty.

He walked for miles and miles in circles, looking for Gray Beard.

Eventually he became tired.

He sat down in the stump.

*

The breeze blew on his face and the birds chirped and the leaves rustled.

He breathed in deeply.

Then he heard a child's voice.

"Excuse me mister, why is that tree so tall?"

โ‚

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