THE LAST TREE
BY Mark Russell
Once upon a time there was a very large forest. This forest covered many square kilometres and was filled with birds, animals and many other beautiful things like flowers, orchids, ferns and butterflies. A large river ran through the middle of the forest. On either side of the forest there was two villages. In these villages lived many happy people. They were happy for the forest kept them alive by supplying animals for food and wood for cooking their food as well as timber for building houses. Water from the river quenched their thirsts every day.
Over time, the villages grew as more healthy babies were born. Soon the villages became towns and as these towns grew so they needed more wood for houses and animals to feed hungry mouths. Slowly but surely, the towns spread into the areas of forest that had been cut down for timber. The towns grew and everybody was happy but alas, the people of those two towns did not notice that the forest was growing smaller.
Over more time, the towns became cities and the two cities slowly but surely took over the land where the forest used to stand. New inventions and mechanical farming methods ensured that the people of the two cities were kept fed and warm and everyone lived in huge apartment blocks where many, many people lived. Everyone was happy and boasted, “Look at the great cities we have built and the wonderful machines we have invented!” However, no one seemed to notice that the river had almost dried up and the forest was nearly gone forever.
Over more time, the two cities grew and grew until one day they became one big megatropolis city. By this time, the forest had completely disappeared however, in the middle of this huge concrete jungle there stood one last tree like a shining beacon of hope to all who stood around its base and observed it’s magnificence. Every day, many, many people would come and stand around the tree looking up at its branches and leaves for they realised that where they now stood there used to be a very beautiful forest filled with life. They also realised that everything was dead and gone forever. The people were sad.
One day the mayor of the megatropolis and his councillors came to look at the tree. They too were sad for they knew that unless they did something, one day this tree, too, would die and be gone forever. As they stood there with all the people looking up at the tree a child’s voice shouted, “Hey everyone, look, the tree has seeds. Maybe we can plant the seeds and grow some more trees?” The mayor and his councillors as well as everyone else thought this was a very good idea so they all collected as many seeds as they could find and planted them in pots. Soon enough, the seeds grew and tiny seedlings appeared. The seedlings became small trees and the mayor and his councillors transplanted the small trees back into the earth in and around the city. Once again, the people started to feel happy again.
Over time, the small trees grew and grew until they too became big enough to produce more seeds. These seeds, in turn, were also planted in pots and more seedlings became more small trees and later on these small trees were also planted around the city and grew into big trees as well. The people were happy for in many neighbourhoods there now stood a tree that the children of that neighbourhood could play under. Soon enough those trees grew seeds and the people of those neighbourhoods grew more and more trees until one day the people noticed that birds were coming back into the city. The people were now very happy for they had never seen birds before.
Over time, the trees grew more and more seeds and more and more trees were planted. Soon enough, the forest grew back and huge trees grew in-between the concrete buildings and over the houses once more. Birds were everywhere and the ferns, orchids and butterflies came back as well. Some areas of the city were cordoned off and in these areas no people were allowed to go. Over time the river started running again and for the first time in many centuries, the animals came back as well and lived in the cordoned off areas and down by the river. The people of this megatropolis were very happy indeed.