The Trees and the Axe

Before you read the story

The world has big problems. The climate is changing. There are not enough jobs for young people.

  • Is there a problem that worries you?
  • Where did you hear about it?
  • Do you try to find a solution?
  • Do you leave it to other people to sort out?

Now read the story

One day, all the trees in the world had a big meeting.

"We are in trouble," the oldest tree said to the others. "Years ago, we used to live in peace. There were trees everywhere. They covered the whole land. But where are they now? Axes have cut them down."

"You are right," another tree said. "The axe is our enemy. Axes cut us down, then they prepare us to make houses, and ploughs, and furniture. They even chop us up to burn on the fire!"

"The axe!" the other trees shouted. "The axe is our enemy! We must kill the axe!"

"But how can we kill the axe?" the smallest tree asked.

The trees talked together for a long time. None of them could find an answer. Only the eucalyptus said nothing. He watched and listened.

"The axe is too strong for us," the trees all said at last. "We are too weak. We can never kill the axe."

The eucalyptus waved one of his branches.

"My friends," he said. "Listen to me. The axe isn't our enemy."

The other trees were angry.

"What do you mean?" they cried. "Of course he is our enemy!"

The eucalyptus waited again. 

When they were all quiet, he said, "What is an axe made of? The head is made of metal, but the handle is made of wood. And where does the wood come from? It comes from us, the trees!" 

The other trees began to nod their heads.

"He's right," they said. 

"But only bent wood can make axes," the eucalyptus went on. "If we grow straight, there will be no more bent wood. The axes will not have wood for their handles. Then, there will be no more axes! I tell you, my friends, from today, I'm going to grow straight. There will be no bends in my wood! Wait, and you will see."

The eucalyptus kept his promise. From that day, he grew straight, and there were no bends in his wood. But the other trees didn't listen to the eucalyptus. They grew in the old way, with bending trunks and branches.

And so the trees did not kill their enemy, the axe, and the axe continued to cut them down.


Exercises for The Trees and the Axe


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