Once upon a time there was a farmer. He lived in a village, up in the hills, beside a forest. In his farm where he grew many kinds of vegetables, he also had an apple tree. For many years the farmer and his family had enjoyed the tastiest apples from the tree. As a boy, the farmer and his friends played under the apple tree. They played hide and seek around the tree. They climbed the tree and swung on it and in season they plucked and ate the apples.
As the years passed the boy grew into a man. He took over the farm and continued to enjoy the fruits from the tree. In the meantime many small animals and birds started living in the tree. The man’s children and their friends started playing under it. The large and shady apple tree now grew old and was bearing fewer and fewer fruits. It was nice to sit under its shade in the summer but nothing grew under it. The farmer felt the space could be used to grow some vegetables. He also felt he could use the wood to build a new room in his house. Therefore, he decided to cut the tree. He did not think about the wonderful times he and his friends had playing around the tree or the delicious apples they ate. Rather he felt the tree had outlived its usefulness and should be cut down.
When the farmer took his axe and began chopping the tree, all the little animals, birds and insects that lived in the tree came rushing down. They started running around in alarm, chirping and squeaking all over the place. The farmer was adamant. He raised his axe and the uproar grew.
The farmer, however, forgot his childhood and his animal friends. He began to chop the tree harder. All the little animals became desperate, and wanted to protect the apple tree at any cost. They ran around in circles making a huge commotion.
This brought the children out. The farmer’s daughter and her friends began to plead with him. They gathered around the farmer and said, “Please don’t cut the tree. We play here just like you did. These small animals live here. If you cut the tree where will they go? You can enjoy the shade when you become old. It is a beautiful tree.”
All of a sudden, the farmer noticed a small fruit hanging from a branch. It was an apple and looked as delicious as the ones he ate as a boy. He plucked it and bit into the juicy fruit. The memories of the fun he had had as a boy came rushing back. When his daughter saw the changed expression in her father’s face, she started pleading harder.
The farmer put down his axe. He understood that the tree was home to many lovely animals and provided them with so many things. He wanted his little girl to have the childhood that he had had. He threw away the axe and said to his daughter, “I promise that I will never cut this tree. You and your friends will have your tree and your playground.”
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2019). Term-1 English Standard-6. The Apple Tree and the Farmer (pp. 125-129). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.