A children’s story

I read a children’s story in class the other day, and I’m thinking that I understand the screwed up world view many here have. It’s a lovely story of a guy that wants a nice big house made of wood. He decides that he’ll go into the forrest and cut down some trees. He finds the blade to his axe, but he doesn’t have a handle. He goes to the forrest and talks to the trees. Now this is an important part of the story, the trees are sentient. The man explains that he needs a small piece of wood in order to make a handle for his axe. The trees agree to give him the wood as long as he goes away and doesn’t come back. He makes his axe handle and heads right back to the forrest. The trees are surprised and they ask him why he came back, he had agreed to go somewhere else. He explains that he really wants the house and where else was he going to get the wood? He proceeds to cut down all of the trees and the trees express regret that they helped him at all. The man builds his house and enjoys it…

What the hell kind of story is that to tell to kids? It’s OK to lie and to kill in order to get what you want as long as you have the weapon… Actually, this explains a lot, I wonder how many other stories are like this? I understand that many fairy tales have horrific and gruesome story lines, but there is a difference. In the fairy tales, the monster is always seen as evil and as such we expect them to be bad and to do bad things. In many stories, there is some sort of downside to being evil. This particular story involves a “normal” guy and there are no negative consequences to breaking his word or even of murder. Pretty scary…


2 replies on “A children’s story”

The Giving Tree…

Sounds surprisingly like a Popular kids story that you may have heard of. Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree”. Here is the wiki:

The first paragraph of the wiki gives the following synopsis.

The story is a short moral tale about a relationship between a young boy and a tree in a forest. It tells the account of how the tree loves the boy, and helps the boy with his needs throughout his life, from the boy’s childhood until his golden years.

At the beginning of the story, the boy plays with the tree all the time, climbing its trunk, swinging from its branches, and eating its apples. However, as the boy ages, he says that he can no longer play with the tree, and begins asking the tree for various things; first money, which the tree gives him its apples for; next a house for a family, which the tree gives up its branches for; then a boat, which the tree sacrifices its trunk for. By the end of the tree’s life, it has become a stump – a mere fraction of what it was physically; even in this state, the boy and the tree can enjoy each other’s company. When the tree says that it has nothing left to give, the boy (now an old man) says that he now only needs a place to rest, and so sits for a while on the tree’s stump, making the tree happy.

I think its a metaphor for parenthood. I often feel as if I could lop off my own arms just to make Em happy. Now where’s that axe…


Re: The Giving Tree…

The Silverstein story sounds quite a lot nicer than this one. In the one you described, the tree gives of himself voluntarily. In this one, the trees make a deal with the guy and the guy comes back and kills them anyway. It’s disturbing, especially how they imply that it was the trees’ fault. The moral, don’t help anyone, and on the flip side, if someone does help you, make sure you take full advantage of the situation. I’m hoping to read some better stories soon…


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