Today I read: About a beautiful garden

Sometimes it is so difficult to give an appropriate title to a post that I reluctantly write.

The draft session of my blog is full of unfinished stories. I am currently writing about the ancient banyan trees of old Clifton. My speed is slow. I can be easily distracted by thousands of things in my surroundings.

I am also getting timely inspiration from Quora groups. There’s recently in Quora I happened to stumble upon a question that I thoroughly enjoyed.

The question was unique in that sense it was about a beautiful garden…

In a beautiful garden, there is a lonely tree that produces very tasty fruit. Can you guess the fruit?

That’s a very poetic question and the person who asked this also happens to give a stunning explanation.

Here’s a screenshot that I manage to take for reviewing it here.

A pomegrante tree illustration by Walter Crane

I am not good at narrating a story but my quick response was something like…

If I have to illustrate a garden where there is only a lonely tree that tastes heavenly then I would like to take you back to my childhood days where I have left so many memories of beautiful trees behind.

Here, I would like to mention that I am from a South Asian background. And the climate was very hot where I used to live.

This means there was plenty of sunlight and the soil was also good in those old times. In summer with the arrival of the monsoon season, it used to rain a lot continuously for days. (Plenty of water as well)

We used to have a small garden in our house. My father is an ardent lover of fruit trees and he used to plant a variety of plants and vegetables in our old house.

There was right in the middle of our courtyard lies a lonely tree. Sometimes it came into my dreams and put me in a nostalgic state for days. It was a white variety of the pomegranate tree. They tasted very sweet and juicy. It was a very tall and shady tree.

Birds of all kinds were regular visitors of that tree. I remembered a pair of parrots frequently visiting this tree. Not to forget about bees with their buzzing sounds always defending their territory. They had built a hive there and considered the pomegranate tree as their home. I dread to go near that tree because of them. I was just a little school girl back then.

It was lonely in that sense there were no other pomegranate trees nearby to give him company.

Life goes on and we moved to another house but the love for pomegranate trees never dies. We also planted a pair of pomegranates in our new house. Hope I didn’t bore you lol.

That’s it for now. Thank you for reading and enjoying this post.


Also read: It’s a pomegranate time


Sources:

Quora post

Pomegranate illustration

Walter Crane
1845-1915
A Pomegranate Tree. Verso: Fragmentary sketches of two figures
1872
Watercolor and opaque watercolor, over black chalk, on paper; verso: black chalk.


Tree stories: The Olive Trees and the Driftwood

It is an interesting anecdote from ancient times when storytelling was considered an important element of everyday life. It was considered a source of inspiration for the general public gatherings of that bygone era.

The story I am intended to share today is from the life of Mullah Nasruddin Hodja who was a contemporary scholar and wise man of his time.

Olive trees on the hill

The Olive Trees and the driftwood

This is a short story of a farmer who asked a very decent question from Nasruddin whether or not his olive trees would bear fruits in the coming season.

Oh Hodja! Would my olives 🫒 bear this year?

“They will bear,” said the wise old Mullah.

“How do you know?”

“I just know, that is all.”

Upon saying that, he went away


Sometimes later, it’s so happened that the same farmer saw Nasrudin scurrying his donkey along a seashore, looking for driftwood.

(Driftwood is a kind of wood that has been washed onto a shore or beach, lake, or river by the action of winds, tides or waves)

“There is no wood here, Mullah, I have looked,” he shouted.

Some hours later, the same man saw Nasrudin treading his way home, tired out, still without fuel.

On seeing this, the farmer addressed him mockingly.

“You are a man of knowledge, who can tell whether an olive tree will bear or not. Why can’t you tell whether there is wood on a seashore or not?”

Upon this, Nasruddin wisely replied.

“I know what must be,” confessed Nasrudin, “but I do not know what may be.”

Final thoughts:

The term driftwood is used for a person who has difficulty making decisions quickly and firmly. The one who hesitates to take decisions on time. On the other hand, olive tree stands firm and grounded. It symbolize the eternal link between man and the earth.

Driftwood on a beach on a misty day

The driftwood also symbolizes the eternal connection of man with the ocean.

This is the contrast difference between an alive tree versus a dead traveling tree that is just going on with the flow. Finding driftwood depends on many factors as they mostly rely on winds and storms to be swept away on the beaches and shores.

Olive trees mean longevity because they are renowned for living for thousands of years.

On the other hand, driftwood reminds us that they are just woody remnants of dead trees that wind up progressing through rivers, lakes, or oceans.

The phrase I know what must signify a classic example of whatever is meant or predestined to happen will happen as indicated by bearing olives.

But I do not what may indicate uncertainty when you are not sure about something that may happen in the future as in the case of not discovering driftwoods along a seashore on that hot summer day.


Nasreddin Hodja is considered a philosopher, Sufi, and wise old man. He is remembered throughout the Middle East for his witty stories and anecdotes. Usually, there is the joke, followed by a moral message which brings the consciousness on the road to realization.


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THE BOASTFUL BAMBOO

A folklore from Fuji

Beneath the gleaming snows of Fuji lay a great forest.

There many giant trees grew, the fir, the pine, the graceful bamboo, and the camellia trees.

The balmy azaleas and the crinkled iris bloomed in the shade.

The blue heavens were fleecy with snowy clouds, and gentle zephyrs caressed the blossoms and made them bow like worshipers before a shrine.

Side by side there grew two bamboo trees.

One of these was tall, strong, and stately; and he reared his haughty head to heaven and bowed not to the North Wind as he passed.

The other was a slender bamboo, so slight and delicate that it swayed with every breeze, and moaned with fright when a storm swept down the wrath of the mountain.

The children loved the graceful bamboo, and named her Silver Mist; but the big bamboo looked down upon her with scorn.

“You bend and bow to every breeze. Have you no pride? It is not fitting that a bamboo should show fear. I stand straight and strong and bow to no one,” he said.

“You are going to be of some great use in the world, I am sure,” said the humble bamboo. I am only fit to trim the houses for the New Year’s feast. But you will become a beam in some great house or, maybe, even in a palace.”

“Do not think I shall be only that,” cried the boastful bamboo with a scornful laugh. “I am indeed intended for something great. I think I shall be chosen for the mast of a mighty ship. Then will the wings of the ship swell with the breeze, and it will fly over the ocean and I shall see strange lands and new peoples.

All men will behold me and will say, ‘See the stately bamboo which graces yonder junk!’ As for you, poor timorous one, you are not even brave enough to deck the New Year’s feast. You will be used to make mats for people to tread under foot.

The slim little bamboo did not answer back. 

She only bent her head and cried bitterly. The flowers felt sorry for her and breathed their soft perfume about her to comfort her.


As the days went by the slim bamboo grew prettier, and the children loved her more and more. They played beneath her waving branches, they made flower chains and garlands and hung them from her boughs.

“See,” they cried in childish glee. “This is the Lady Silver Mist. Let us tie a flower around her slender waist;” and they bound a girdle of flowers about her.


One day there came woodmen to the forest, and they chopped down many of the trees, trampling the grass and the flowers under foot.

When they saw the big bamboo they said,

“Here is a tall, straight tree. It will do for a mast. We will cut it first.”

“Good-by,” said the boastful bamboo to the slender one.

“I am going to see the world and do great things. Good-by, child, I hope you will not be used to make rain coats.

When I am on the bright and beautiful sea I shall remember and pity you!”

“Good-by,” sighed his little comrade. “Good fortune go with you.”

The big bamboo was cut down, and the hillside saw him no more.

When, however, the woodmen came to the little tree, they smiled to see it so beautifully garlanded with flowers and they said,

“This little tree has friends.”

Then the children took courage and ran to the woodcutters and cried,

“Pray do not cut down our tree! In all the forest we love it best. It is the Lady Silver Mist and it has been our playmate for many moons.”

“You must dig it up and bear it away if you wish to save its life,” said the chief woodman. “We are sent to this forest to clear it, so that a grand palace may be built upon the hillside where all is so fair and beautiful.”

“Gladly will we root her up and take her to our home,” answered the eldest child; and very carefully they dug her up, not destroying even a single root, for the woodman helped them, so kind was he and of a good heart.


They placed the slim bamboo in a lovely garden beside the sea, and she grew fair and stately and was happy. All around was calm and beautiful.

The sea waves lapped the coral strand. By day, the sun shone on the tawny sands and turned them to gold; the sky was blue as a turquoise, and pearly clouds floated across it like shadowy angel’s wings.

By night the moon goddess rose in silvery beauty and bathed the garden in light; it kissed the leaves of the bamboo, until the dew sparkled upon them like diamonds in a setting of silver.

Fragrant flowers bloomed at the bamboo’s feet: irises from their meadow home, azaleas, rare lotus lilies, and a fringe of purple wistaria wafting its breath in friendship upon her.

Here she grew in strength and grace. All things were her friends, for she gave to all of her sweetness; and to the winds she bowed her head.

“Great North Wind,” she said gently, “how thou art strong!” And to the South Wind she said, “How sweet and kind thou art!” To the flowers she gave shade and to the children, who still loved her, companionship.

 


One night she shivered and bowed her head very, very low, for there came a storm from the sea, a storm so fierce and wild as to frighten her very soul.

The waves of the sea tossed the white foam heavenward; they rose up in giant walls of fury until ships sunk in the troughs between and were dashed to pieces.

The beach was strewn with wrecks, and when daylight came, Lady Silver Mist gazed upon the scene.

She recognized her old friend, the great bamboo, prostrate upon the ground, while all around him lay bits of the junk over which he had reared his haughty head.

“Alas! my poor friend!” she cried. “What a sad fate is yours! Would that I could aid you.”

“No one can help me,” he replied with a moan. “Would that I had been made into a common coolie pole with which to push a country junk!

Then might I have been useful for many years! No, my heart is broken, Silver Mist. Farewell.”

He gave a long shuddering sigh and spoke no more. Soon some men who came to clear up the wreckage, chopped the mast up for firewood; and that was the end of the boastful bamboo.


Source:

Japanese Fairy Tales