The English Teacher

Sample Fable #2

The Story of the Island Oak Tree by Kendall D.

Once upon a time, atop a large grassy hill, sat an old oak tree. At the base of the hill was a wide and deep river, which had spit and bowed around each side of the hill and then joined into one river again - making the hill a sort of island from its surroundings. In this oak tree lived generations of squirrels and for as long as they could remember the oak tree had always been there. The squirrels called it the Island Oak Tree.

There were stories that the first squirrels in the tree had settled there long ago and when a great flood hit the valley, the river swelled, split, and isolated the residing population in the tree. Because of the width, depth, and current of the river, there was no way for the squirrels to cross or disperse into the surrounding forest. From that day forward the descendants of the early squirrels stayed on their island.

This was no problem though because, along with being the only oak tree around, it had the most plentiful and tastiest nuts. The squirrels feasted upon the nuts year after year and every year the nuts would come back - bigger and better. Running out of the oak tree's nuts didn't seem to be possible since there were so many and the tree had always grown enough to support the population. But, like all populations, the oak trees' grew, and like the population, the threat of running out also seemed to grow.

Some feared that one day their beloved tree might stop producing nuts and that the squirrels would have nowhere to live and nothing to eat. Aside from a few, most of the squirrels were still very wasteful with their share of the nuts. Instead of storing their uneaten nuts for the winter in case there was a shortage, some of the squirrels would just throw their excess away.

Soon, there were so many squirrels in the tree, eating so many nuts, that the tree was overwhelmed and could not produce enough nuts for everyone. Unfortunately, by the time this was realized it was too late. It was winter and the squirrels that had not conserved and stored their nuts died. The squirrels who had been responsible with their resources remained and had to depend upon their stores of food to survive until the spring.

When spring came, the nuts and leaves came back and life went on, but after the shortage the tree never produced the kind or number of nuts it had in the past. After what had happened the squirrels were forever appreciative and mindful of what they had and how they used it.

The moral of the story is that, like the Island Oak Tree, the Earth is our home. It feeds us and it gives us shelter, but for right now there are no means to leave it. To neglect our home - our inescapable island - with our growing population, is a very poor decision. Unless we conserve our natural resources, before we know it, we might either lose them forever or never get them back the quantity or quality that we once did.

The End

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