King of the Trees

One day, the trees decided to elect a king. They thought and thought and thought. Finally, they went to the olive tree.

"Be our king," they said.

The olive tree refused, saying, "Should I quit producing olive oil that honors both God and men, just to wave back and forth over the trees?"

The trees went back to thinking. They thought and thought and thought. Finally, they went to the fig tree.

"Be our king," they said.

The fig tree also refused, saying, "Should I quit producing my sweet fruit just to wave back and forth over the trees?"

The trees thought some more. "Who can we make king over us?" They thought and thought and thought. Finally, they went to the grapevine.

"Be our king," they said.

But the grapevine replied, "Should I stop producing the wine that cheers both God and man, just to wave back and forth over the trees?"

The trees were beginning to get discouraged. "Who will be our king?" they asked. And they thought and thought and thought. At long last, they went to the thorn bush.

"Will you be our king?" they asked.

"If you truly want to make me your king," the thorn bush replied, "come and take shelter under my shadow. If not, let the fire of the sun devour you."

So, the trees planted themselves by the thorn bush. The thorn bush grew, and wrapped its branches around the trees. The limbs of the thorn bush strangled the trees, and soon it towered over them, waving back and forth over them. The trees never got any sunlight, and they could not produce any leaves or fruit. The weaker they grew, the stronger the thorn bush grew.

One day a prince of men came walking by, and he saw the trees overgrown by the thorn bush.

"What an ugly looking grove," he said.

"Help us," the trees cried. "We made the thorn bush our king, and now he is chocking the life from us."

The prince thought about this for a moment. He could burn the thorn bush but burning the bush would kill the trees. Taking his sword, he began to cut away at the thorn bush. He hacked and sliced, pulled and untangled, until he had all the trees free of the thorn bush. Then, he drove his sword into the earth and dug up the roots of the thorn bush. Putting all the branches and roots of the thorn bush into a pile, he burned them.

"Oh, thank you," the trees rejoiced. "Thank you for freeing us from the thorn bush. We never should have made him our king."

"You were foolish to do so," the prince replied. "You should have made the sun your king, for he is the one who gives you life."

And so they did. The trees made the sun their king, and they grew tall and strong. They grew new leaves and bore much fruit.