Once upon a time, there lived a big mango tree. A little boy loved to come and play around it everyday.
He climbed to the tree top, ate the mangoes, took a nap under the shadow… He loved the tree and the tree loved to play with him.
Time went by… The little boy grew, and he no longer played around the tree.
One day, the boy came back to the tree with a sad look on his face.
“Come and play with me,” the tree asked the boy.
“I am no longer a kid, I don’t play around trees anymore.” The boy replied, “I want toys. I need money to buy them.”
“Sorry, I don’t have money… but you can pick all my mangoes and sell them so you will have money.”
The boy was so excited. He picked all the mangoes on the tree and left happily. The boy didn’t come back. The tree was sad.
One day, the boy grown into a man returned. The tree was so excited.
“Come and play with me,” the tree said.
“I don’t have time to play. I have to work for my family. We need a house for shelter. Can you help me?”
“Sorry, I don’t have a house, but you can chop off my branches to build your house.”
So the man cut all the branches off the tree and left happily. The tree was glad to see him happy but the boy didn’t come back afterward. The tree was again lonely and sad.
One hot summer day, the man returned and the tree was delighted.
“Come and play with me!” The tree said.
“I am sad and getting old. I want to go sailing to relax myself. Can you give me a boat?”
“Use my trunk to build your boat. You can sail far away and be happy.”
So the man cut the tree trunk to make a boat. He went sailing and didn’t come back for a long time.
Finally, the man returned after he had been gone for so many years.
“Sorry, my boy, but I don’t have anything for you anymore. No more mangoes to give you.” The tree said.
“I don’t have teeth to bite,” the man replied.
“No more trunk for you to climb on.”
“I am too old for that now,” the man said.
“I really can’t give you anything… the only thing left is my dying roots,” the tree said with sadness.
“I don’t need much now, just a place to rest. I am tired after all these years,” the man replied.
“Good! Old tree roots are the best place to lean on and rest. Come sit down with me and rest.”
The boy sat down and the tree was glad and smiled.
By Shel Silverstein
Original version here
The tree in the story represents our parents. When we are young, we love to play with them. When we grow up, we leave them and only come back when we need help. Parents sacrifice their lives for us.