On the outskirts of a village there was a forest and in its centre was a clearing, where right in the middle there stood a single giant oak tree. It was over two hundred years old and for the villagers it seemed impressive but at the end of the day it was just a tree to them. But when you looked closely, there was something different about it.
What was seen instantly was the trunk, some roots, branches and not to forget the leaves. But what you could not see, is a similar concept like the part of the iceberg that lies underneath the surface. Because the roots of a tree are sometimes the double length than their branches are visible. The roots gave the tree stability and just like the leaves they gave nutrition to the tree and kept it alive. No one ever really considered this and most of the time the leaves were praised for their work. Therefore, the roots were often quite sad and sulked below the ground.
However, the roots had someone to cheer them up. Underneath the earth there were mostly mushrooms and insects but under this particular tree there lived a large mole family. Of course everybody thinks that moles are blind and because they live under the earth they don’t have a clue what’s going on. But this is not true. Moles have a very good sense for feelings and know exactly what’s happening around them. Because of this sense they always knew just how to comfort the roots and stroke them with their big mole claws. The roots were a part of the tree and had to be consoled. But there were also some roots that grew just above the earth. Normally, roots have an outward appearance of being very gristly and stocky and for mice it’s the perfect place to live. The tree offered them cover and comfort. And the acorns that fell from the tree served them as food.
And where there were mice there were cats. The cat of the close by farm liked the tree for five reasons. First, the cat liked to play from time to time and the acorns were a perfectly fine toy. Second, the bark of the tree was the perfect material to sharpen the cat’s claws. Third, the cat liked to sneak around the tree and looked for the mouse family to hunt them. But the mouse family were smart enough to stay underneath the protection of the roots. Besides, the cat liked to sleep underneath the tree. There was shade and like all cat friends know: Cats like to sleep. And finally, even the cat didn’t really know why but it was just so lovely to sit underneath the tree and listen to the whisper of the wind and the whisper of the leaves. The cat just felt good here.
Let us leave the cat and the mouse family and let’s take a look in between the cat’s paws. There some very important animals crawled around: The ants. Their personal forest was the green grass but such a successful ant company like the one under the tree was also expanding into ventures heights. On the lowest branch of the tree there was no ladybird to be found. Here the ants protected the aphids and in exchange the aphids gave the ants their juicy milk. The aphids ate the leaves of the tree and then produced their milk. These thousands of leaves formed the tree’s character every year. Fresh green in spring that exploded into summer, then fell into a colourful autumn and finally went to sleep in winter to wake up in spring again.
Apart from the leaves on the lowest branch all leaves were healthy thanks to the ladybirds. They got hold of every aphid on the upper branches because that was the part of the tree they ruled over. Below them, on the lowest branch and on the grass there was the kingdom of the ants.
The heart of the tree was the owl. She lived in a hollow of the tree. She was one of the oldest inhabitants of the tree and everybody came to her to seek good counsel when there was sorrow or any problems.
A little bit further up in the tree there was another hollow where a squirrel family lived. The sparrow family were their best friends and the squirrels jumped with them from branch to branch from sunrise till sunset. The two sparrows who bred three eggs every year were not only friends with the squirrel family but also with the swallow. Although the swallow did not live on the tree she was always a welcomed guest. Sometimes the sparrows, the swallow, the squirrels, the owl and the mice had a great feast and even the ants, aphids ladybirds and moles took part in it. The leaves as well as the roots listened to the music of the celebration. The swallow would then always tell stories about what was happening out of the tree’s reach as the inhabitants hardly ever left its shadow. Late at night the owl recounted myths and legends of the tree and the forest. For the owl was the only other inhabitant who would venture out and explore the world a little.
On the other side of the tree where the branches were thicker and the families didn’t go that often because it was a darker side of the tree there lived two ravens. They were black as night and because of their strange dialect no one understood them properly and were therefore avoided by the others. But once a year the two ravens visited the other side of the tree and tried to understand the brighter part of the tree. Then also the others tried to understand the ravens but they did not succeed every year. This is why the ravens always remained a mystery to the rest of the tree’s inhabitants.
Above all these stories, creatures and its history sat a golden bird on the treetop. He was not always there but when he rested on the tree all the others would know. He sung a beautiful song, praised the tree and spread happiness. The roots, the ants, the aphids, the owl and the families felt his joy. Sometimes he was away and sometimes he did not sing and no one knew where he went or where he came from. But his presence was persistent enough to let the inhabitants know that the tree belonged to him.
And so it came, one special morning when the sun was already shining high above the trees when all the animals were busy, four villagers were approaching the tree. This was quite unusual as humans normally never came to the tree. It was three men and one girl. One of the men was holding a chainsaw.
“ This is the greatest tree in the forest. His wood can heat the village through the winter. “ One of the men said.
“ It is a beautiful tree… Do we really want to cut him down? “ The little girl asked.
The man with the chainsaw patted the little girl on the shoulder and said “ Yes, it is a tree just like any other. Look around, there are trees everywhere. We need the wood for the winter and after all it is just a tree. “
Holding the chainsaw he walked towards the tree. The little girl looked at the man questioningly and then she looked up the tree, as if she would demand something from it. The chainsaw cut deep through the trunk of the tree. The branches started shaking, the trunk waved and because of the height and the weight of the tree it was uprooted. Within this moment the roots ended their sorrow, the mole family was thrown out of the earth and ended their consoling. The mouse family ran wildly around, without protection. Fearfully, the cat ran away. Ants, aphids and ladybirds where thrown off the leaves and disappeared in the grass. Full of shock the leaves glided to the ground. When the trunk hit the grass the owl and the squirrel family were buried within the trunk of the tree. The ravens, sparrows and the swallow managed to fly away, homeless. The little girl looked up because she was the only one who could see the golden bird ascending into the air crying out full of pain and then disappeared within the blue sky. None of the three men noticed any of this. The little girl on the other hand looked at the fallen tree. As if she would expect an answer. But there came none. The tree rested on the clearing. Dead. She looked at the three men again wondering if she should ask them again why they cut down this particular tree. She wondered about the golden bird and if the grown ups had seen it too. But she remained silent.