The Dying Tree

 Once upon a time a tree stood in the middle of a wood, dying. It was not only the blossoms that slipped, too pale and faded, from its branches, but the very branches themselves, which were brittle and cracked. The trunk seeped sap from deep crevasses and in the very middle of it, brown with decay, was a great split.

    One day a little girl wondered the wood and came upon the tree. When she saw its circumstance, she wept, for the tree looked so very broken and it could not be long until it met its end.

    'Why do you cry, child?' the tree asked the little girl.

    'I am sad because you look so old and tired. And I know that you will die,' she said, her eyes bright from her tears.

    'Ah, I know, too, that I will die,' said the tree, 'But I am content, for I mean to have a good death.'

    'What does that mean, 'a good death'?' the little girl asked.

    'For one, I have met you, and for another, well, you shall see,' the tree replied.

    The next moment the tree died with a smile in its bark, for it had not been alone. 

    As the little girl witnessed the life leaving the tree, she saw from within the decayed split a seedling being to grow.

    All at once she knew the meaning of 'a good death,' and carried that knowledge with her out of the wood where it stayed in her heart forever.

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