Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, a tree stood tall on top of a small hill in the middle of the forest. There was something in him that made him strikingly different among other trees. The tree had a dream.
The tree sighed, not from his tiresome awkward posture, and he said, "I'm lonely."
He stretched his stiff branches up higher and wiggled his now-numb roots under his bed. From his line of vision, he stared west at the oddly-looking, shining, shimmering blocks towering the busy crowds below. His eyes caught a bunch of kids in their school uniform and backpacks. All of a sudden, he said, "I want to go to school."
The next day, the tree, for the first time in forever, left his bed and went to the city. He was struck in awe upon seeing how different city life is from his once serene solitude. He walked and walked. The farther he went, the heavier he felt. He rested in front of a wooden board which read
"School," he heard himself whispered in air.
He went to school, learned the language of the city men who taught him its beauty and fell in love with it. Then he said to himself, "I want to be a teacher."
Day by day, he came to learn the wonders of science and discovered many splendored things. And he said, "No, I want to be an engineer."
He went to college, loved his new friends, and learned some more about city life. Later on, he finished engineering and landed a good job.
At work, he met more city men. He looked at how strange they talked to each other upfront and behind closed doors. He frowned and said to himself, "I feel lonely."
He worked til wee hours of the morning. He worked and worked harder. The harder he worked, the more he got praises but the heavier he felt. Suddenly he said to himself, "I want to be an engineer no more."
He wandered around the city and saw a bright-looking man in his flashy car. He watched this man closely. This man, all smiles, sat carefree on his seat. Then he said to himself, "I want to be rich."
The tree cut his large branches and sold them. He bought a town house which caught the envious eyes of all passers-by and drove a model car around the city which earned unexplainable looks from men on the streets. But then, he asked himself, "Why do I still feel lonely?"
He cut more of his branches to buy all riches of the earth. Branded clothes. Hi-tech gadgets. Antique furnitures. With more branches he cut, he grew richer but the heavier he felt.
One day, while driving his way home, he saw an old man and a child, both in dirty ragged clothes. When he stopped his car, the old man approached him and begged, "Please, young sir, help us! We haven't eaten for days." The tree looked at their pitiful state. He got out of his car and told the old man before leaving, "Take my car and sell it! Go, get your child a sumptuous meal and buy a warm house."
The next morning, the tree woke up from sleep on his soft king-size bed and heard noises outside. A pile of city men and women with a couple of children, all in dirty ragged clothes wrapped around their thin frail bodies, gathered outside his gate. All reached out their flailing hands when they saw him on his door. "Sir! Master! Please save us from hunger!" shouted all.
The tree opened the gate and welcomed them to his house. He watched how every city man ran crazily, stumbled on one another, took every valuable thing his hands run into and never left empty-handed. His once luxurious house now looked gloomy, barely standing. He roamed his eyes once more before he went to the "kitchen". At the corner were two children with wide bulging eyes and big oddly-looking bellies, busy rummaging the trash can. They stopped when they saw him and the boy spoke, "Sir, forgive us! My little sister here is sick. We've been walking around the city for weeks now."
The tree looked at them and sighed. He cut his remaining branches and spoke, "Take this, my child, and buy meal and medicine. You can have my house and stay for the rest of your life." With that, he left.
The homeless tree walked where his feet took him and rested only to sit beside a fountain. He never felt much heavier than before he had to carry his large sturdy branches. He felt something in him and finally, murmured to himself, "I want to go home."
He barely found his way home. But when he did, he slumped on his bed. His eyes started to grow heavier. He took one last chance to look at the big ball of fire slowly disappearing on the horizon before he finally succumbed to the heaviness he felt. Then, there was darkness.