The Greedy Man and The Giving Tree

Out of the dark sky a night hawk came swooping, Scooped in his sharp beak a tiny mouse scooting Alone in the autumn leaves hurrying and shooing. The mouse dropped a seed and it settled on ground Soon covered by winter it buried well down. Spring’s fingers uncovered but no seed was found. A sapling had sprouted and gradually grew As spring turned to summer then autumn leaves flew Till the winter snows came and the winter winds blew. A tree young and strong with a heart born to give Made of the sacrifice that let it live It flourished and spread its arms up into heaven. The tree gave its abundance as free as the air. Its shade sheltered others from summer’s hot glare, In its roots little creatures burrowed deep lairs. The tree bore much fruit, which ripened and fell In the field of a farmer whose wife was unwell. The farmer was poor, there was naught left to sell. He scoured his land for what he could find. There was the fruit as rich as fine wine. He gathered an armful. The whole family dined! The wife soon recovered. The family grew healthy. The fruit became famous. The farmer grew wealthy. But he hid the tree’s secret ways cunning and stealthy. He took and he took and still the tree gave. Its strength ebbed away with nothing to stave. Still the man took, with no heed to save. One day the man came and stood under the tree Adorned in all of his finery. “I’m rich” he said, “none’s rich as me!” The heart of the tree cracked right in two. Its limbs hung bare and no fruit grew. The tree fell dead when the winter winds blew. That summer, no harvest came ripe in the sun. The farmer, too late, saw what he had done. The wealth was soon spent now its source was all gone.

The poor, foolish, man now rued his cold heart With his fortune and family fallen apart. But, deep down in the ground, new life made a start...

by J.R.Poulter illustrated by Mary Manning, 2010

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