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  • Writer's pictureLES HENSON

The Parable of the Proud Little Lemon Tree

Wapke Henson

In a faraway country, where the sun always shines, there grew a little lemon tree. She stood in the middle of an orchard together with lots of other fruit trees. Some of the other trees were tall and thin; others were thick and bushy. None were as beautifully shaped as our small lemon tree.

"Look at me", she used to shout happily. "Aren't my leaves shiny and my branches, just right? I am the most fantastic tree in this orchard."

"Huh", said the other trees, "What makes you think you're so special?" "You can't see as far as I can, I can see further than any other tree", said the tallest and thinnest one. "There is no place for the birds to hide in you, they love my big bushy branches", grumbled another one. Most of all, they would tease the little lemon tree because she had not yet grown any lemons. Their branches were heavy with oranges, apples, pears and plums, and they were especially proud when the farm helpers came to pick their fruit. At such a time, the little lemon tree sighed, because indeed, she did not know how to grow lemons.

Then one day, the farmer and his boy walked through the orchard and stopped in front of the lemon tree. They looked at her and talked about her, but the trees could not understand their language.

"What are they going to do to me", whispered the little lemon tree in a frightened little voice. "Don't be afraid", said the others. "Will they cut me down", asked the little tree.

"Oh no", hummed the wise old apple tree, "this farmer loves all of his trees."

Then they held their breaths as the farmer started to cut some of the little lemon tree's branches. "Ouch, ouch", cried the littlest tree, but the farmer didn't hear because he did not know tree language. Then the farmer's boy hammered nails into the trunk of the tree near the ground. After they left, there were lots of lemon tears, but only the other trees could see them.

"Look at me now, nobody will think that I am very special", she sobbed. All the other trees were silent; only the wise old apple tree spoke: "Don't be sad, something very exciting will happen to you soon, but only if you don't move your branches and don't say anything at all." It was very hard for the little lemon tree to be still and not move, but she managed it for a long time.

Then one day, the other trees heard her say: "Oops." "What is the matter", they asked. "I don't know", shouted the lemon tree, "but something is happening to me."

She said "Oops" a lot of times that week.

Then the farmer and his boy walked through the orchard and stopped by the lemon tree. There were smiles on their faces, and they said how beautiful the tree looked and what a lot of lemons were growing on her branches. After they left the little lemon tree almost burst from excitement. "See my lemons, my beautiful lemons", she shouted at the top of her voice. "Told you so", said the wise old apple tree and all the other trees nodded their branches and went on to grow the most delicious fruit in the country.

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