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The Oak and the Reeds

A tall Oak grew on the bank of a brown river. The Oak tree held itself up high and mighty. It reached out proudly to Sky with broad green fingers and looked down with scorn upon the Reeds way down below, so thin and small. The Oak muttered to itself as the wispy little Reeds began whispering in the breeze.

The Reeds tried to talk to the big oak but he pretended not to hear them. They chatted and chattered in the ever-changing winds, passing around thoughts and theories about the world around them. Though the little Reeds tried to include the Oak in their conversation, he would not be drawn in and scoffed at them.

“What would they know?” The Oak muttered to Sky. “I have lived many years and acquired more knowledge than they, in their brief little lives, could ever hope to achieve. From this deeply rooted foundation of fact I have bathed in the light of heavenly information, spreading my wings in every direction to soak up illumination like water in a sponge. I have a broad trunk of wisdom, solid and true, with branches into many different domains and directions. Ahhh…..” The Oak groaned. “The miserable little Reeds do not appreciate the pages of the grand book that flourishes in the verdant tips of my fingers.”

Sky was silent, as usual. Then it's one good golden Eye flared!

Soon time later a cold wind swept over the Reeds and the Oak. Thunderheads rose over the horizon and heavy rain fell till the river swelled growing swifter and the ground was sodden and soft. A great wind blew and with a terrific groan that almost matched the echoing timpani of thunder, the Oak was torn from the Earth and fell with a thud among the Reeds and rushing waters.

The next day, as the Oak lay in the mud dying and the Reeds began to spring back up, the Oak asked them.
"How is it that you who are so puny and small stand undamaged whilst I have been destroyed in the glory of my strength?"

The Reeds murmured among themselves before replying.

"We think it is because you stood tall and strong and stubborn and fought against something more powerful than yourself." The Reeds said, swaying in the breeze. "We little beings are supple and flexible. We yield before the waters and the winds that blow and the wrath of the tempest passes over us."

The Oak lay dazed and puzzled.

"How can you little beings be so smart? I have lived for hundreds of years yet you have lived but a few."

"Communication!" The Reeds all swayed in unison. "One generation passes it around and then to the next generation who and the next and so on."

"Oh Yes!" Replied the Oak, remembering a time long ago when he had been a sapling and talked to the reeds that grew beside the River. "Forgot about that." The Oak said, before dying.

Sky was silent, as usual....


Author's Note:
Based on a Fable passed down from generation to generation and accredited to a 6th century BC Phrygian slave by the name of Aesop.

Like the grasses showing tender faces to each other, thus should we do, for this was the wish of the Grandfathers of the World.

Black Elk


The following comments are for "The Oak and the Reeds"
by Smithy

it's likeable
I thought this gave a good moral. It is rare to find a good quality children's lit piece here, but you have done pretty good with this. It can be marketed.

( Posted by: brickhouse [Member] On: January 4, 2006 )

more thoughts
Here is what really worked for me: First of all, your title was a real hook. It was enough to make me want to read it and find out. The next greatest detail was the supple reeds. Finally, the silent sky was a wonderful symbol throughout.

( Posted by: brickhouse [Member] On: January 4, 2006 )

thanks Brickhouse
Thank you for your comments Brickhouse. The Oak and the Reeds is a good title because of the contrast I think. Of course, I didn't come up with that or the reeds but I did add in Sky and the description of the Oak and the entire part about communication.

I wondered. Hmm? Is it a bit verbose and the language too sophisticated (mainly in the description of the Oak) for children? I am trying to weave a physical description with intellectual thread and the best thing is that it didn't put you off there. I like to talk up to children, beleiving they will get the gist if not an entire understanding.

Glad you enjoyed and thankyou for taking the time to point out those aspects which caught your eye.
That is always helpful.

I see a mistake in the 3rd last paragraph. The word "who" should not be there. I'll edit it out once this story passes from the front page.

( Posted by: smithy [Member] On: January 5, 2006 )

rustling in the rushes
Hi Pen. Thanks for your comments. I feel the same about that word "commuciation." It doesn't quite fit in, but I had started writing the Reeds response like a Greek chorus in a Shakepearean tragedy and in the end grew frustrated because it was getting too long. So I chopped it and thought what is the simplest way of saying it?
Now. I have a better idea I think. Instead of communication, "tradition" (eg. like the oral tradition).

Also I understand what you are saying about the characteristics being in one way superior and inferior. In fact that's what I changed from the original story I had read. Here I have tried to make it so it wasn't the charcteristics of strength and inflexibility that made one superior and one lesser. It was that the Sky (symbolising divine authority or God) saw the Oak had grown to feel superior and used an appropriate power to bring him down. Had the Reeds become superior then he could have caused a drought, drying the river and the reeds would have wilted and died.

It was indeed pride that came before the fall. Glad to see you still around. Pen.

( Posted by: smithy [Member] On: January 6, 2006 )

thanks bob
Hi Bob. Thanks for your kind comments. I have tried from time to time to get back on and keep up with the Tangled Tapestry, but as I am using a freind's computer my time is limited for the moment. Anyways it is good to be back and I will definately see you in the blogs sooner than later. I may have to print the Tapestry out and read it hardcopy.
Glad you enjoyed. Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment.

( Posted by: smithy [Member] On: January 6, 2006 )

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