Once upon a time there was a forest filled with thousands of tall trees. The trees were strong and happy, with shiny green leaves on branches and roots spread inside the earth. They all belonged to a family, where all the trees were together, having a good time. Little did they know that there was one particular tree that wasn’t happy, and didn’t belong to a family. He was not in a lovely forest; he wasn’t even in an orchard! That tree was planted on a sidewalk, the only tree there. He was a baby tree, but unlike other baby trees he did not have any elders who could guide him and tell him about his duties. Since he had never met any other tree, he did not know what trees are there for, what his duty was. Therefore, he felt like a thick block of wood jammed in a spot, unable to move.
He was unhappy all the time, because everything else he saw around him had a job, except for him. The flowers were there to look pretty and smell sweet. The sun was there to shine and light up the world. White, fluffy clouds in the sky were also aware of their duties. They appeared every now and then to produce rain which washed away all the grime from the world and made everything, including the little tree, squeaky clean and shiny again. Even the small buzzing bees had a purpose; they would visit the flowers often and borrow a special liquid from them, which they then turned into yummy, thick, golden honey. He remembered this because a small bee, his only friend, talked to him sometimes when he visited the flowers with his friends and had told him so. But what was the little tree’s job? He wasn’t pretty enough to compete with the colorful, delicate flowers, nor could he shine like the sun or create rain like the clouds and honey like the bees.
The little tree grew more upset and gloomy as each day passed. He couldn’t help thinking, “Why am I so useless? What good is it being a tree? I can’t even move my feet if I want to! “
Some days would be particularly worse, when woodpeckers would arrive and start pecking at the little tree and wouldn’t stop, much to his annoyance. He didn’t like being pecked at; in fact he was sure no one in the world liked being pecked at. Their sharp beaks left small hollows in his body which he thought made him uglier.
The seasons passed by and soon the tree was 3 years old. One spring morning the little tree woke up and thought as if something had changed. His branches felt heavy, as if there was something on them. He didn’t feel little anymore. He was puzzled and couldn’t understand what was happening. A few days passed he kept feeling heavier and heavier. His confusion grew, but he still had no answer. Then one day, he saw two children running in his direction. As he stared in surprise, they kept running until they reached near him. Then suddenly, he saw the taller one stand on her toes and reach for something above. Suddenly the tree felt a jolt; it wasn’t painful, just a little ticklish. The tree the saw the taller child hand something to his friend; it was shiny and red, but the tree didn’t know what it was. As days passed, more people came and took the gleaming red things from the tree, leaving with big smiles on their faces. One sunny day the bee visited his friend the tree. The tree decided to tell his friend about his confusion, because he knew the bee was very wise and knew about a lot of things. “Bee, something has been troubling my mind,” said the tree. “What’s the matter, my friend?” asked the bee. “Lately, quite a few people have been coming up to me and they pick these odd things from my branches!” exclaimed the tree. “Are those odd things red and shiny, almost round?” said the bee knowingly. “Yes! Do you know what they are, and why they are on my branches?” the tree eagerly asked the bee. “Yes. They are apples, and they grow on specific trees.” The bee informed the little tree. “What are apples?” asked the poor tree. “They are fruits. People eat them because they are juicy, healthy and delicious. Didn’t you know dear tree? That’s your job, to provide apples,” said the bee to the little tree.
At last, the tree understood that his job was to provide apples! He was proud of his job and took it very seriously. Now that the tree was no longer sad he produced shinier and bigger apples, which made everyone happy. Everyone who walked by the little tree praised him and said “What a beautiful, magnificent tree! It has such big, shiny apples on it.” Thus, the tree never felt ugly or useless again!