The apple tree – a story from the Hindu tradition

There was an apple tree on a hill near the village. It had stood there for as long as the inhabitants could remember, and it was a large, gnarled, strong tree with a thick trunk and a broad crown, which gave much good fruit.

The apple tree – a story from the Hindu tradition

A child in the village liked to go to the tree. She climbed the hill almost daily to greet the tree, sit at its feet and play. Often the tree would play with her, waving its branches in the wind, allowing her to pick an apple, and sometimes dropping one in front of her. That’s how it went for years in the rhythm of the seasons.

Until one day something seemed to have changed. The tree saw the girl climb the hill with bowed head and drooping shoulders, and said, “Hey, what’s going on? I’ve never seen you come to me like this.” The girl sighed and said, “Ah, I don’t know, I just feel a little sad.” To cheer her up, the tree said, “But we can play, maybe you’ll be a little happier”, and he waved his branches, the leaves of one branch brushing softly against her cheeks. “Oh no, I don’t feel like playing,” the girl replied. “I need money to buy things I need.” “Well,” said the tree, “I have no money, but you can take my apples and sell them in the market. Then you will have money and you can buy the things you need.” And so it happened for a number of years and the girl, who slowly grew into a young woman, was able to meet her needs with the money from the apples. For a number of years she was happy with that.

Until one day things went completely differently. The apple tree saw his girlfriend climb the hill with bowed head and said, “What’s the matter with you? I don’t know you like that, did something happen?” The young woman shrugged and said, “Yes, I don’t know, I’m not satisfied anymore.” The tree replied, “Maybe I can help you, tell me what’s going on.” The young woman replied, “I need wood to build a house for myself and my partner. We’ve been able to save a lot of money, but it’s not enough, and wood is expensive.” “Oh,” said the tree, “but I can help you with that. Take my branches, they are thick and strong enough.” And the thick, strong branches were sawn off and so the young woman could have the house finished and begin a life for herself. The tree was left with some small branches on the hill, and again the woman was happy for a while.

One day, many years later, he saw the now grown woman climbing the hill with a heavy step. “Hey, nice to see you again, how are you?” “Oh, I’m fine,” was the somewhat forced, light-hearted reply. “Well, that doesn’t sound very happy, has something happened to you? Can I help you?” the apple tree asked. “Well, I don’t know, but you know, my family has grown up and all the children now live on their own. And I suddenly realized that I have never been further away from home than this village and the surrounding area. I would like to go out, sail the seven seas and get to know other cultures. But then I’ll need a boat.” “Oh, but I can help you with that! Take my trunk, you see how thick it is. You can easily make a boat out of that, and you can sail anywhere.” And so it happened, and the apple tree left a broad, strong stump on the hill near the village.

Many, many years later, a stooped figure came up the hill where the stump of the apple tree had waited patiently. Not a child’s step, or a woman’s vigorous gait in the prime of life, no, it was a dragging, faltering step now and then. And the stump spoke to the old woman: “Hey, how nice that you are coming to visit me again!” for he recognized the child of that time in the now old woman. “How have you been since the last time?” There was no more than a whispered sigh in response. “Come a little closer, I can’t understand you,” said the tree, “but take it easy, take your time, I’m not in a hurry.” The sigh grew heavier and the woman approached very slowly. “What do you want, do you want apples from me or wood?” The answer was, “No, I don’t need anything, I’d like a place to rest.” Then the stump said, “Oh, come sit here on me, I am a good resting place for you, for I see that you are tired.” And around the woman young twigs of silvery white blossoms grew up toward the sunlight.



A personal interpretation of Bhagavad Gita 18

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Share this article

Don't Miss Out

Would you like to receive updates on our latest articles, sent no more than once a month? Sign up for our newsletter!

Our latest articles

Article info

Date: November 8, 2021
Author: Winnie Geurtsen (Netherlands)
Photo: Corina Rainer on Unsplash CCO

Featured image: