You can’t Judge A Tree by It’s Leaves There once was a lovely old garden where there lived a majestic old tree. She thought herself quite the beauty, the envy of many was she. Her limbs stretched far—so graceful as her leaves gently danced on the breeze. “Glamorous—exquisite—so regal!” exclaimed three star struck young twigs. “You think of yourself pretty highly," said a voice interrupting her show. "I’ll admit your looks are quite classy but where is your fruit?” said the crow. “How dare you insult such rare beauty? I’m Royalty and you’re just a crow. Now get out of my hair you ill-mannered magpie what could you possibly know?” Oh, why did he have to remind me? Of that one thing that’s lacking in me. My branches are strong, my leaves full and green I’m beautiful! It’s so plain to see. It just doesn’t make sense, what's my problem? I’ve pondered it time after time. My bark is pristine, my trunk fab-u-lous! My blossoms, they’re simply divine. “Excuse me your Highness,” said a humble white Dove, “I couldn’t help but hear your heart’s cry. I’m no genius by far, but your dilemma I see and I do know something of trees.” “My fine feathered friend, what could you do? I’m much older and wiser than you. Why my roots, they go back three centuries, now just leave me alone would you please.” “Well there’s no doubt about it you are a rare beauty; I’ve never seen lovelier leaves. Yet your problem your majesty, if I may say so is not with any of these.” “What appears on the surface is always the offspring of things deeper than what the eye sees.” “Well my clever young dove, what do you suggest? Tell me and then you may leave.” “It’s really quite simple," she said with such grace, "There’s a flaw in your trunk and this you must face. Now look to your neighbor, just over the fence.” You’ve got to be kidding, that unsightly mess!” “He’s all gnarly and twisted…a despicable wretch, just look at those branches bent over and worn; why even his leaves are all spotty and torn. You don’t expect me, to learn something from him?” Yes we may be neighbors, but we are not friends! With the company I keep, my reputation depends. My trunk is straight, more powerful, first class, where he’s weakly and bent…no he’ll never last.” “But his burden’s been heavy, just look at that fruit, his branches are smothered and there lies the proof. There’s no doubt about it, said the wise little dove, when it comes to good looks you’re two steps above.” “You’re taller and stronger, more leafy by far with all of that jewelry, you shine like the stars.” My leaves began to swell as the compliments came I was no doubt enjoying my moment of fame. But the fame turned to shame, as my problem she found, now it was my branches touching the ground. I listened in silence to each word that she said, there rose a lump in my trunk, as the pride in me fled. I could not deny as I gazed at my neighbor, amidst all those gnarls, with much fruit he was favored. I hung my leaves low and asked for forgiveness, He offered a smile and the right branch of friendship. The young dove nestled closer and whispered to me, “There’s no question my Lady, You’re a beautiful tree. Your branches are long and your bark is pristine, your trunk has no knots and your leaves large and green. But it’s the roots that determine, how much fruit’s on the tree.” “Your friend might be withered, tattered, and small but his roots go much deeper, or he’d also be tall.” This tiny white dove I thought so unwise had taught me a lesson to my great surprise! Her final words will be with me forever, “Never!” she said, “judge a bird by its feathers. You’ve spent too much time, being pompous and snooty I suggest you work on those roots and you too shall be fruity!” John Wark 2010.
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