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O, what a lovely season spring is! Early spring maybe even more so, for at that time the snow has melted, the grass has already wakened, the leaves are budding, and all the creatures are either waking from their long winter sleep, or rejoicing that the snow they never thought would leave has been driven away by Lady Spring.
It is also at this time that wonderful things are conceived in the heartwood of trees, when they send forth their sap and blossom their leaves in the hopes that very from tree to tree. But I will be focusing your attention on an old apple tree, in the center of a forest, who was the father of thousands upon thousands of round, rosy apples.
This year, as he had every year since he was a seedling, the old tree felt his sap stirred with in him by the warmth of Lady Spring. He shook his stiff boughs, the bare branches rustling against the other trees that pressed close around him. He felt all his warmth and energy creep up his thick trunk and fill his branches, and the gentle feeling of tiny buds overjoyed him. The old Father Tree spoke gladly with older Mother Earth , and they both agreed that this was a wonderful spring, perfect for raising little apples.
So, as spring began to creep through the first weeks, Father Tree’s leaves grew larger, spreading out and catching the sunlight. Then one, glorious day, a soft pink blossom peeked out at this fresh, green world. Father Tree shook his limbs with pride. This little flower was his first born, and he would watch it with just a little extra pride and carefulness. For there was a tradition among the apple trees; the first born of every tree would be taken, planted, and grow to be yet another tree.
In the cozy shelter of the blossom sat the beginnings of an apple. From this nook, the world was framed by the soft petals of the flower. This little apple was perfect in every way. He was a beacon of spring to all who saw him. This was the world that the young apple would look on with pride and wonder all through the summer. This would be his world until the day came.
As the sweet, cool days pranced by the apple’s rosy view, brothers and sisters were given to him. They, too, spread their rosy petals and gazed on the green earth with wonder.
One day a light humming reached Little Apple, and he glanced around curiously. Was someone coming? The humming grew louder, until Little Apple found himself face to face with a large bumble bee.
Little Apple cried out with fright. “Father, Father! What is it Father?”
“It is a bee, Little Apple,” replied Father Tree gently. “He will not hurt you. He will help you to become a large, beautiful apple some day.”
Little Apple cringed as the bee reached past his petals. But the bee did not harm Little Apple. Instead, it tickled, and Little Apple began to laugh!
“Ah, was that so bad, Little Apple?” chuckled Father Tree.
“No,” he giggled. Oh, how he wished that the bee would come back!
And the bee did come back, many times, and Little Apple watched and laughed with his brothers and sisters as they discovered how much fun the bees were. But soon the fun ended, when Little Apple’s petals fell to the ground. But Little Apple was not sad, for Father Tree had been whispering to him all he would need to know when he became a Father Tree himself.
He explained that one day, when Little Apple was large and red, he would be taken from Father Tree, and carried far away, and would be placed in Mother Earth and grow to be a magnificent tree.
So Little Apple enjoyed the warm summer days of flitting birds and frolicking deer, and the cool nights of winking stars and a smiling moon.
Then, one day, Little Apple looked down at himself, and found that he was large, and round, red, and juicy. He was everything one would look for in an apple. At that moment, Little Apple knew that he would soon be leaving Father Tree. Little Apple was sad to be leaving him, but he knew that better things awaited him.
The very next day, Little Apple heard voices that were unlike anything he knew. They were loud and gruff, not like a dove’s call. Their feet pounded on Mother Earth, whom Little Apple had come to know and love, making him cringe. He had always felt that Mother Earth was being caressed when the deer’s cloven hooves picked their way through the forest, but these animals lumbered over her with no respect or care.
“Hurry, Mother! I can just smell the apples!” The voice grew louder, harsher, closer.
“Hold on, now, Becky! They can’t go anywhere!”
Two large creatures, taller than a deer, came through the trees. They walked on two legs, like a bird, but there the similarities ended. Their coats were strange and bright, rather like a cardinal.
With great fear, Little Apple watched as the shorter animal began to climb the limbs of Father Tree, her eyes fixed on him. Then her hand reached out, grasping him. Everything went by like a blur. Little Apple felt the creature turn him, wrenching him from Father Tree.
Little Apple felt himself repeating the fearful words of early spring. “Father, Father! What is it Father!”
Vaguely, he heard the warm, comforting voice of Father Tree. “Goodbye, Little Apple. Remember what I have taught you.” Then, Father Tree lost his grip, and Little Apple fell into the hand of the smallest creature.
As Little Apple was taken through the slow walk, he was drowning in his grief. Many times they stopped, and he felt more and more bewildered in this new part of the forest. There were still the colourful leaves everywhere, and that was the only thing to comfort him. Then they came to a field, rather small, with the grass cut severely short. He hardly noticed. Another of the creatures came out, holding a long, shining rock in his hand. Still, he was unaware. Even as the rock sliced away his flesh, Little Apple could only think that he would never see Father Tree again.
But when Little Apple was brought to a slight hole in Mother Earth, he looked up. Suddenly, he recalled all that Father Tree had told him, and was overjoyed. Now he would be a father tree himself! And as his beloved Mother Earth surrounded him, Little Apple thanked these creatures, and knew that he could look forward to years of shading these graceless, yet kind animals.