The Three Trees

Three Trees

“Ok. Once upon a mountaintop there were three little trees.   The first tree looked up  at the starts in the sky and said to the other two trees ‘When I grow up, I want to be covered in gold and jewels and hold the greatest treasures in the world.’  The second tree looked at the nearby stream and said, ‘Well,  I, um, I want to grow up to be big and strong.  And I want to travel the mighty waters carrying the greatest kings.’  And the third tree, well the third tree looked down to the valley and saw all the people and said, ‘I want to stay here on this mountain and grow tall.  And when people look at me their eyes are pointed to heaven and they think of God.’

And then many years passed. And one day three tree, I mean, woodcutters climbed up the mountain and say the three trees. The first woodcutter saw the first tree and said, ‘This tree is so beautiful. It is perfect for what I have in mind.’ The first tree was so excited because he knew he was going to be made into a beautiful treasure chest.

The second woodcutter saw the second tree and said, ‘this tree is so strong. It is perfect for what I have in mind.’ And with his sharp axe he cut down the tree.  The tree was so excited to finally become a boat that could carry kings.

The third woodcutter saw the third tree and said, ‘well, this’ll do. I don’t need anything special.’  The third tree’s heart sank as the woodcutter chopped her down, she wanted to stay on the mountain pointing to heaven.

The first tree was taken to a carpenter shop.  He was so excited to finally be made into this beautiful treasure chest, but instead the carpenter made him into a feedbox for animals.  He was filled up with hay and put in a barn.

The next tree was taken to a shipyard.  He celebrated as he thought he was about to be made into a great ship.  But instead, he was made into a humble fishing boat and put into a lake, not the mighty waters he had dreamed of.

And the third tree was tossed in a lumberyard.

Years passed and the trees almost forgot their dreams.

One night, a young woman laid her newborn baby in the feed box.  Her husband said that he wish he could have made a cradle for the baby, but the mother replied, ‘This is perfect.  This manger is beautiful.’  And as the starlight shone down on the first tree, he was overjoyed, uh, because he was holding the most precious treasure in the world.

Years later, a very tired traveler and his friends came onto the fishing boat.  The traveler fell asleep while the fishing boat sailed out into the lake.  And then this, um, huge storm came.  You know, lightening and thunder. And the second tree was so scared because he knew that he was not strong enough to support all of these passengers.  But then the passenger woke up and raised his hand and said, ‘Peace’, and the lake calmed and the lightening and thunder stopped.  And the third tree knew he was carrying the king of heaven and earth.

Weeks later, the third tree was picked up from the, uh, lumber one Friday morning.  She was scared as she was thrown on a man’s back as the crowd around him yelled and shouted at him.  She was placed on a hilltop, and the man was nailed to her.  She felt ugly and cruel as this man was crucified on her.  But everything changed that Sunday, God made the tree beautiful through the man’s resurrection.  And she knew that whenever people looked at her they would think of God.  This was better than any of her dreams.”

The informant heard has heard this tale many times.  He recalls hearing it often at church and at his summer camp.  He says that this piece of folklore is shared at church gathering and with Christians to remind them that God has amazing plans for their lives – plans that far exceed their greatest expectations.  The informant also believes this is a great story to share with people who are not Christians.  He really likes the story because of its message.  He likes the idea that three humble trees can carry the King, Jesus.

This tale is a widespread piece of American folklore.  It is shared throughout people across America.  One interesting aspect of the tale is that it involves three trees.  Three is a very important in American and Christian culture.  For instance, three beings – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost – make up the trinity and Jesus rose from the dead three days after he was crucified on Easter Sunday.

Another reoccurring motif this story employs is the use of trees.  Often trees are seen as spirits within folklore.  And in this story the trees are personified. As we all know, tree cannot think but in this story the trees represent mankind, while telling the story of the life of Jesus.

The cross is a very important symbol to Christians.  This story reminds Christians of the meaning of the cross and the death and resurrection of Jesus.  I also grew up hearing this story.  I, personally, like the story.  I think provokes thought while still being simple enough to get its point across. The tale of the Three Tree has been retold and published in a book.  The citation for the book is as follows:

Hunt, Angela. The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale. 1st ed. Colorado             Springs, CO: Cook Communications, 2004. Print.