The Priceless Tree
“Who is that near my tree? Is it someone bad?”
Locker had gone to the forest to cut some wood. When he heard a sound he walked towards it.
Aurora, who had come to check if all was fine in her enchanted forest, got distracted while talking to a squirrel, fell down, and hurt her leg. Mia, who was washing clothes, heard a sudden silence in the forest. Then the animals’ chatter, and the flutter of butterflies and the cawing of the birds could be heard, rushing towards the sound.
There, she saw Aurora, fallen down and deeply hurt, unable to move. Aurora appeared normal to Mia. Aurora requested Mia to help her reach the cave. Mia helped Aurora reach the cave. That’s where Locker was cutting wood. He saw Aurora taking the flowers from the tree, crushing them and applying the essence to her leg.
The wound vanished. He then heard Aurora telling Mia that she was a princess from the enchanted forest and saw Aurora in all her splendour. He heard about the Priceless Tree. As soon as Mia and Aurora left, Locker rushed inside the cave to search for the tree. He couldn’t find it. Just as he was almost about to give up for the day and go home, he tripped on something. It was the Priceless Tree itself. It was not huge, as he had imagined, but very small.
As the last rays of sun fell on it, it glittered and gleamed. The trunk and the branches were made out of gold and diamonds. The leaves were paper thin and shiny. Locker was filled with joy. He never expected such a windfall, and it was quite magical!
Aurora returned with her new found friend, Mia, who liked her. Mia was a very kind-hearted soul. She loved everything to do with nature.
Suddenly, Mia stopped in her tracks and said, “Who is that near my tree? Is it someone bad?“
Aurora and Mia rushed towards the cave. They felt wind on their faces. The thin branches gave way as they ran, but the thick roots and stumps made them trip. They managed to reach the cave with only a few bruises, but they stung. They saw the gaunt, bald, short man digging with his shovel and trying to uproot the Priceless Tree.
Now it was Mia and Aurora, versus the bald man with a shovel. Aurora and Mia came up with a plan. Mia went near the man and asked, “My good man, what’s your name?” Locker was shocked. He recognized the princess from before in the cave.
“I am Locker. I am poor, short, bald and gaunt with hunger. I need the tree trunk. Its branches will make me rich! The leaves will give me a head full of hair if I turn it into a powder and sprinkle it on my head. The roots, if made into a locket, will make me a tall and handsome man. I overheard you girls speaking, so you can’t lie to me about the tree!”
Aurora decided on the best approach and hoped Mia would understand. She replied, “Locker, I can grant you a wish! You can think and choose well. But if you destroy the tree, the enchanted forest will fall. All the creatures and the trees will be destroyed. Can you live with yourself after that?” she asked.
Locker thought about it and could feel the rocks beneath his feet. He felt the anticipation.
“Princess, what is a wish compared to all that this tree can give?” Locker asked. Aurora and Mia felt their heart sink. They were cold and worried.
“My dear man,” Mia said, “Maybe there is a way to get all you want in that one wish, but you have to promise, over the Priceless Tree, that you will protect it. Only then will the wish be granted.”
The girls waited for Locker’s decision with their hearts in their mouths.
“You may tell me how I can get everything in one wish,” the man arrogantly said. “ If I’m satisfied, I will promise to take care of the tree.”
“Make a wish that goes something like this” Aurora said, “I wish to be a person who loves himself and all of nature. Then finish it with a promise made over the Priceless Tree.” Locker smiled and got his wish, and finished it with a promise to protect the tree. Aurora, Mia and the tall handsome Locker stepped out of the cave and went towards the castle.
The queen was waiting for Aurora, and was surprised to see strangers with her. Aurora explained everything, to which the queen replied, “You have proved you can be our next Queen! You have managed not to use your magic and still solve the problem.”
Mia and Locker looked at each other and said, “The princess did use magic while granting the one wish.”
Aurora replied, “That was not my wish, but for the Priceless Tree. Whoever pledges to protect it will get one wish, and the royal treasury will give them riches so they don’t have to walk anymore. As nature loves you, you will never run short of food! So all your wishes were granted when you chose the right path. I realised that you were a good person when you didn’t attack us with the shovel.”