Many of you had asked for the words to this story that the 2 Gregs and I performed at the talent show on fiesta night...and, here it is! (Finally! ...Sorry it took so long!) The Story of the Tree (beautifully written by Greg Rosen, aka. Serial Napper) complete with a short video clip on how to perform each "Heritage Sign".
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The Story of the Tree (by Gregory Rosen)
Once upon a time in a land not so far away, a giant craggy tree stretched its gnarled limbs over the small village of Paan-yah. The limbs attacked the villagers' cottages and gardens. The roots erupted violently from the ground to collapse walls and damage crops. The villagers fought the growth with bitter prejudice, struggling to hack and slice the ever encroaching behemoth. The monstrous weed was known as "The Tree of Repugnance".
The villagers became desperate. The darkness and roots of the tree threatened their very existence. As the adults continued their daily arguments on how to destroy the menace one little boy named "Banananana" timidly approached a much ignored village elder for advice.
Old, wrinkly, "Bobbarundum" grinned widely, with his weathered skin, long forked beard and rotted teeth. His warm gaze gave the boy confidence to come closer.
"Banananana, it's been so long since I've had company. Do come in and have some tea...and tell me what's on your mind." the old man said.
"It's the Tree of Repugnance! Haven't you noticed?! How can we save the village?!" the boy squeaked.
"Well, I'm just an old, forgotten pile of bones, but perhaps you could ask the River to the East...she's always been good to me in the past..." the old man said slowly.
"What?! What do you mean - 'ask the River to the East?!' Rivers don't talk!" the boy said, incredulously.
"You'd be surprised what talks back when you ask directly and listen with an open heart." the old man said, wisely.
Still a little confused, the boy said, "Alright Bobbarundum, I'll give it a try...Nothing to lose, I guess. Just, don't tell my parents; they don't approve of us kids meddling in their affairs." the boy said.
"Mum's the word." said the old man said as he watched Banananana trot off into the cool, moss laden forest to consult the River Spirit to the East.
The river tumbled and bubbled, frothed and fizzled and trickled softly in some places too. Banananana sat for a while on a log near the water's edge and, finally, in his most grown-up sounding voice said, "Mrs. River spirit...if it's not too much trouble, will you please drown the Tree of Repugnance to save our village?"
The river answered him sweetly, her voice smooth and flowing, "Dear boy, watch how I move with ease around the rocks and bends. I will not drown the tree you speak of, but instead ask you to consider working with nature, not against it. Look into my sparkly blue depths for a magic sign to use on the tree."
Peering into her waters, Banananana saw and practiced the magic sign while mouthing the words "Work With Nature, Not Against It..." The river then said "It is one of the heritage signs, once known by all of your people, but now long forgotten. The magic signs, used in combination, can bring great change. Now go seek the Soil Spirit for another magic sign."
Encouraged by the lesson the River Spirit had taught him, Banananana sped off back into the forest to a place where he knew the soil was a deep, dark, red-brown hue, teaming with life. On his hands and knees he implored, "Mr. Soil Spirit, show me the next sign so that I might help you suffocate and bury the Tree of Repugnance in an earthen grave!"
The Soil Spirit answered him in a low, rumbling, rocky voice, "I will not bury the tree you speak of, but instead urge you to consider how the plants, fungus, worms and bugs all live and work together. The magic sign I will teach you captures the power of how everything gardens."
Peering into the soil community, Banananana saw and practiced the 2nd Heritage sign while mouthing the words, "Everything Gardens." Beaming with pleasure, the Soil Spirit told the boy to find the next sign by talking with the sun.
Climbing the tallest hill he could find, Banananana let the blazing noon sun shine radiantly upon his young, naive face. Humbled by the blinding light he asked, rather meekly, "Sun Spirit, would you please show me your Heritage Sign and...torch the Tree of Repugnance with your mighty heat?!"
The Sun Spirit answered him in a booming, fiery voice, "I will burn NO such things! BUT instead will urge you to notice how my life giving rays touch the land, providing a bounty of infinite yield."
And, in the sun's rays, the boy saw the 3rd Heritage Sign and practiced it while mouthing the words "Infinite Yield".
The Sun Spirit then boomed, "Stay here and beckon the kind Wind Spirit for another sign."
Banananana did as the sun directed and called out, "Mrs. Wind Spirit, show me your magic Heritage sign and...blow down the nasty Tree of Repugnance!"
The wind answered him in a howl, "I will not blow down the tree you speak of, but instead will ask you to watch how the birds use little effort when flying upon my wind streams to dance, glide, coast and swoop! This is called, leverage."
Eyes searching the skies, Banananana started in amazement as a flock of crows flew in unison to show him the 4th Heritage sign. Banananana saw and practiced the sign while mouthing the word, "Leverage".
The wind then remarked, "There is a fifth sign I have heard of, but know not where it lies."
The boy thanked the wind profusely and decided to ask old Bobbarundum for advice once again. Filled with excitement and wonder at his adventures, the boy skipped happily to Bobbarundum's door, knocking loudly and vigorously, and shouting impatiently, "No time for tea, no time for tea! I've got to find the 5th sign!"
Bobbarundum eased his old, brittle frame over to the door and welcomed the boy in with his warm, rot toothed grin. "My, my! Your talk of signs does tickle my memory bone, but...can't say I know any more. Here now. There is always time for tea. So, settle down, have some tea and tell me of your splendid adventures.
Banananana eagerly shared his story and showed the old man the 4 Heritage signs he had learned, imploring Bobbarundum for advice on the 5th sign.
"Funny...but all I can muster is the image of a tree. Hmmmmm. Why don't you go down and show the signs to the tree in the village. Certainly won't make the situation any worse than it already is..."
Somewhat disappointed, Banananana thanked the old man for his delicious banana tea and headed back into the village, but with some confusion, caution and hesitation. Heeding the old man's advice, he timidly crept up to the horrid Tree of Repugnance, gathering his courage to address the massive monstrosity.
"Um, Mr. Uh, Tree...um, spirit? ...Behold my magic signs and fear them!!"
The tree spirit answered him in a deep, slow, baritone voice, "Well, well, my young friend, it's been a long time since someone has spoken to me. I see you have some magic and perhaps I can add a bit of my own...You see, I wasn't always the "Tree of Repugnance" Not so many generations ago, I was the "Tree of Abundance", and the people let my long lanky limbs stretch and grow to produce all sorts of delicious treats like, apples, cupcakes, tofu, roast beef and beer! After generations of cutting my branches back before they could fruit...(in order to protect their bland tasting mono crops), the villagers have forgotten my incredible bounty. It is here, standing before me that you can plainly see that your problem is the solution. My twisting branches can show you the 5th and final Heritage sign."
Banananana was enthralled by the tree's magnificent story. He watched closely as the tree performed the sign and practiced it while mouthing the words "The Problem Is The Solution."
The old tree then remarked, "When performed all together, these (5) Heritage Signs are a powerful, powerful force and resource to guide you in your journeys, my young friend."
Finally understanding, Banananana thanked the tree with his whole heart and ran off to relay to the villagers everything he had learned. With the help of old Bobbarundum, he convinced the still desperate villagers to let the tree grow and provide its tasty and nutritious treats.
The villagers all rejoiced and celebrated as they watched the Tree of Repugnance transform back into the Tree of Abundance.
From that day forward, the villagers never again forgot the uses of the Magic Heritage Signs and the wisdom contained within them. They joyfully taught this wisdom to all future generations as a tool to propagate harmony throughout the land.
As Banananana later told his children's children, "...with these 5 signs, go forth and spread beauty, life, love and compassion!"