There was once a young boy by the name of Manu. He lived in a small village and worked for a carpenter. He would work during the day and would go to the village school at night to study reading and writing. He had no family and sometimes he wished he had a family so he could just go to school like the other kids, instead of working.
Manu worked at the village carpenter’s shop. His job was to go to the forest and cut some fresh wood when the wood ran out in the shop.
So as it happened one day, the wood ran out, and the carpenter told Manu to go to the forest to cut some more. So Manu went to the forest with his ax. He saw a nice big tree and raised his ax to cut the tree. Suddenly he heard a voice “Please don’t cut me.” Manu looked around but did not see anyone and raised his ax again. He heard the voice again “Please don’t cut me.” This time Manu asked “Who said that?” The voice said, “It’s me, the tree.” Manu was a little surprised, so he looked at the tree and asked, “Are you speaking to me?” The tree said, “Yes.”
A talking tree?!! Manu was now really surprised. The tree said again, “Please don’t cut me.” Manu said, “But I need the wood for the carpenter who will pay me money so I can go to school.” The tree said, “Please don’t cut me.” Manu asked “Why?”
The tree said, “I am big and so I am home to many living things. I have moles and rabbits living near my roots, birds nesting in my branches, animals taking shade from my branches and enjoying my fruits. If you cut me, what will happen to all those?”
Manu thought to himself, yes – that is true, I will be destroying a whole system. So he said to the tree, “I will not cut you, but then how will I go to school?” The tree said, “I understand. I will tell you about one person who can tell you about a place where there is enough treasure that you don’t have to work anymore and then you can do whatever you want in life.” Manu said, “Please tell me where I can find this person.”
The tree said, “Walk along the path that goes by my side, keep walking until you see a field of flowers, walk through it, and you will see a river. Keep walking along the river towards where the sun rises. You will see a hut near the river. In that hut lives an old man. Talk to him and he will tell you where to find this treasure.”
Manu thought about all this. He had no one back in the village and he did not want to keep working in the carpenter’s shop, so he decided to look for the treasure. “Okay”, he said, and started walking along the path. For his journey, the tree gave him one of his branches so that Manu could use it as a walking stick, and to give him fruits whenever he was hungry. The tree told him, “The branch will also give you light when you need it and will never run out of fruits.”