The Little Forest by the Sea

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Story File
8.6

Values

Teamwork and solidarity

Main Lesson

An allegory about how doing good and helping others is an attitude that spreads.

Setting

A village and a forest by the sea

Characters

Village inhabitants, their enemies and a forest

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The Little Forest by the Sea

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A short story about helping each other in solidarity

There was once a little village separated from the sea and its great cliffs by a forest. That forest was the village’s best defence against the storms and furies of the sea, that were so ferocious throughout the region that it was only possible to live where the village was. Yet the forest was constantly in danger, because a small group of wicked beings came every night to cut down some of the trees. The villagers could do nothing to stop the felling, so they were forced to constantly plant new trees to replace the fallen ones.

And for generations, such was life for the tree planters. Parents taught their children how to plant, and the children, from a very early age, spent all their free time planting new trees. Each family was responsible for replanting a particular area, and had been since time immemorial. Failure of any family to do this would have brought the community to ruin.
Of course, most of the planted trees were lost due to a thousand varying reasons, and only a small percentage reached full growth. But so many were planted that the protective forest managed to maintain its size, despite the great storms and the cruel felling of the evil beings.

But then, there was a great misfortune. One of the families died out due to lack of descendents, and their area of the forest began losing more trees. There was nothing to be done, the tragedy was inevitable, and in the village the people prepared to emigrate after so many centuries.

Even so, one of the young men refused to abandon the village.

-“I won’t go,”

he said,

-“if needed, I will start a new family that will look after that area, and I myself will go to work on it from day one.”

Everyone knew that no one was capable of looking after a replanting area all on their own and, as the forest would take some time to thin out, they accepted the young man’s proposal. Yet, by doing so, they had accepted the greatest revolution ever seen in the village.

That young man, loved by all, had no trouble in finding people to help him replant. But those helping hands all came from other areas, and soon his own area wasn’t the only one in need of extra help and more trees. These new areas were helped by other families and soon no one knew whether they should look after their own area or someone else’s: so to simplify things they just planted trees wherever they were needed. But they were needed in so many areas that the villagers began planting even during the night, despite their ancestral fear of the wicked tree cutters.

Those nocturnal plantings meant the planters came across some of the fellers, only to discover that those “wicked” beings were nothing more than the frightened members of a tribe that hid themselves in the labyrinthine cliff caves during the day. They would surface at night to get some wood and food, so they could survive. As soon as these “beings” got to see how good it was living in a village on the surface, having food and water, and knowing how to plant trees, they begged to be accepted into the village.

With each new night, the village gained more hands to help with the planting, and there were fewer cave-dwellers cutting down the trees. Soon, the village filled with grateful “night-beings” who mixed happily among the old families until they became indistinguishable. And so great was their influence, that the forest began to expand. Day after day, year after year, almost imperceptibly, the forest got bigger and bigger, and it provided more and more protection, until finally the descendants from that village could live anywhere they liked in the region.

And they never would have known that, a long time ago, they had their origin in a village protected by a few trees that were on the point of disappearing.


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