The Truth of the Tree

It was a massive tree and seemed to go right up to the sky. On a very high bough amidst delicious looking fruits which were untouched due to the tree’s startling height sat a man. His paunch was evidence of his lavish living and it was almost hidden by his skillfully designed clothes. He must have been old but the clever makeup and jet black dyed hair made him look quite young, though ugly.

He had plenty of fresh air. In fact, he had everything in immense quantities. Often, his mind would linger upon the prospect of imposing taxes on the poor and he would casually think of some methods that he might use to get his hands on more money. He was planning to build a ladder that would be long enough to take him higher up the tree. The man gazed down to look at the breathtaking view.

His eyes fell on another man far below who was sitting on a thin branch. This man had eyes that had an intelligent twinkle about them. He also looked untidy, as if he hadn’t left that particular spot for days.

He was busily writing away about fraternity, liberty, equality, freedom and revolution. There were a few birds and fruits around him, but he didn’t seem to be concerned about anything except his work. He was determined to stop the tyranny of the man above him. He felt that the tree belonged to everyone and that the man on top had no right to get the best of it. Everybody should share the resources equally amongst themselves, he believed. He was writing because what he saw below was heart breaking.

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Below our advocate of revolution was a very thin branch. It was creaking dangerously as a man tried to sit on it but had to stand up for the fear of breaking it. This man was coughing and breathing with difficulty due to the polluted air around him. He was used to breathing this kind of air. In fact, it was this type of hazardous air that had taken its toll on his lungs and affected his health but he just couldn’t stop working and take a break because after all he had a family of five to feed.

Not a single fruit was visible around him. No wonder! His thin and lean body was a testimony to his slow starvation and poor living. He was sweating as he made a ladder for the man on top of the tree.

The man on top never realised that one day in his greed to go higher and higher, he would finally scale the tree to its full length and then he would have to face the sunlight which would burn his dark soul and bring about a change – a revolution!

Everybody on the tree would be benefitted when he would be no more until another cruel leader would come or a new leader would turn cruel. Nothing is permanent – neither cruel despots nor true leaders.

Maliha Iqbal is a high school student from Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh.