Sexta, 19 de Abril de 2024
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The Lion, the Monkey and the Christmas Tree

In the distant African steppes lived a small group of lions. They hardly ever entered the dense forest once their favorite prey roamed the wider areas nearby where vegetation was low, what made easier to search for good food.

One day, however, the group of lions heard the intriguing rumor that, in December, in some distant places, certain pine trees arose and their branches showed dozens of small lights, colorful and sparkling. According to this rumor, these pines were related to a happy message, able to warm any chilled heart.

Curious, the group's leader who was also the king of the whole forest, decided to check. Then, one December afternoon he entered into the bush in search of the light pine. He carefully searched the woods for several hours in the pursuit of the glittering tree. Everything seemed normal though, except for the silence. The forest was pretty quiet in fact as all animals felt uncomfortable with the presence of the lion there.

At one point, though, the silence was broken by the hoarse voice of an old shrewd monkey.

— Excuse me, Your Majesty. I see it is been a long time you’ve been looking for something. Can I help?

Actually, the monkey wanted to suggest that the lion was gone soon, so the animals in the forest could relax again.

— Oh! Thank you, Mr. Monkey. In fact, I look for a tree.

The monkey gave a sly smile.

— Ow! Well... You see, there are several here... — said wryly.

The lion was not amused.

— The one I look is different. – he sighed – it is kind of a pine tree that produces many colored lights but that only thrives in December.

— How weird... I've never seen this tree! Not meaning to despise the knowledge of Your Majesty, but is there really a pine tree such as this? I live here ever since I can remember and I have never seen anything like this... Tell me something: what is this light tree for?

— Well, I've heard there is an old message attached to it… a message of hope, happiness or something. And such message changes hearts... I don’t know ... I want to find out if it's true.

— Hmm ... Let's do this: I am also a kind of king. Of course I am not the forest king like you, but I have some influence among the monkey because of my age and wisdom. I will call my people here and ask if anyone knows something about it.

The lion accepted the help and the old monkey started to scream out loud things like this:

— Attention, monkey folk! Come right now to the great concentration of the light pine! The sight of this bright tree will change your life and you will have bunches and more bunches of bananas falling from the sky and sprouting in the twigs you hang on!

The king of the forest was surprised as he realized a great rustling of leaves and a growing uproar coming from all corners of the forest.

— Hey! It is none of that! What invention is that? I just told you about a bright pine and a happy message. Who said anything about bananas?

The jaunty monkey laughed heartily.

— Majesty, I know well my people. If I do not say what I said, no one will come to our meeting. Rest easy because I know what I'm doing. Listen to the noise coming from the woods. In a moment everyone will be here.

In fact, it was not long until everywhere around was filled with noisy monkeys, jumping, screaming, laughing, grimacing and making strange sounds.

— What a muss! — growled the lion — Will we get any help in the middle of this mess?

— Majesty, we are monkeys! Our meetings are like that. What do you expect? A chorus of four voices? You know what? This is our way. We want to jump and shout and make faces. And with all due respect, to us, you lions are very bland. To tell the truth, the conversation going on between us is that you are weak and so cannot jump nor shout.

The lion did not believe what he was hearing and seeing. What stupid animals! They would come running after sky falling bananas! Acted like crazy and believed to be stronger than lions! No, that was not happening. The king of the forest was confused, not knowing what to say at such oddity. Anyway, replied impatiently:

— Look, monkey friend. I don’t want to discuss your ways. I just want information about the pine tree. Could your friends help me?

— I got it. Let's see it now!

Turning to the flustered animals, he shouted:

— Waha lhalha huhuhuuuuuu!

The monkeys went wild! Some closed their eyes and started making the same sound of their leader. Others hung on branches by the tail and started whirling. Others were thrilled and started crying frantically. What was confusing before became a full mess!

— What's happening? – The lion asked very scared (and to get to scare a lion things must be awful) — What did you tell them? Translate it to me.

— No idea. There is no translation. I was just screaming whatever came to mind. I just know they enjoy it and meetings always get more fun this way. Who cares about "translations"? You lions are really very boring.

— All right. I think I understand ... I just don’t know what help it gave me…

— Oh, you'll see now!

So the old monkey made up a voice to sound wise and told everyone:

— Welcome, noble primates! How beautiful and glorious is our gathering. I feel a simian force invading everything and all that energy you show reflects the strength of a million gorillas. And know that it was no accident each of you were brought here today. As announced, you will be given the opportunity to have the blessed vision of the enlighten pine and share that vision with others. There are animals here who have never seen the light of pine (at that time the old monkey glanced at the lion), but with the strength of the testimony of those who have seen it, a great change will occur today in the lives of those tired of fruitlessly searching for the sparkling tree!

The monkeys had no idea what their little king was talking about, however, some of them curiously came close saying they had seen such pine. Some said they had seen it in a dream, others said they had been caught up to the top of a mountain and spent several days and nights under the pine cones that tasted like banana; other ones said they saw the brilliant pine every night as it sprouted in a branch near where they slept. All these moneys said they became happier and more fulfilled monkeys after such visions, living in more beautiful trees.

Those who had never had such experiences were encouraged to bring bunches of bananas to the king of monkeys as he told them that this gesture would serve as a bridge to see the lighten pine tree. The lion asked what the bananas supply had to do with the pine tree, but the king of the monkeys only nodded showing impatience and making the lion feel naive and silly.

After all, when the meeting was over, the king of animals asked:

— Was that the help you had for me on my pursuit for the enlightened pine?

With a sly grin, the trickster monkey said:

— Sorry, Your Majesty. As I said, we are apes. What did you expect? A map showing how to get to the pine? We don’t even know whatever pine that is! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have all these banana bunches to load.

The lion left disappointed and confused, but all he had seen among the monkeys led him to no hopes about the existence of enlighten pines. "What a nonsense!" — He thought — "How could I believe a rumor like that? Pine, lights, message of hope ... Oh, please!”.

He turned back heading to the steppes and leaving the dark silent wood behind him.

Silent? Well ... Not so much. When the lion left, a snake that had heard it all came out of a bush and laughed out loud. What a fun afternoon he had! It saw all the spectacle from where it was hiding and now felt relaxed and humorous. It enjoyed the monkey’s show once it took away any sign of pessimism. Smiley and excited, it was all ready for a good night hunt. "No doubt," it thought, "I will have a happy night."

Pr. Marcos Granconato
Soli Deo gloria

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