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The Ash Tree

He had a small house. So small it was easily dwarfed by the 40-foot ash tree that stood regally not 20 feet from the house in the backwoods. When people came down his driveway, they oohed and aahed over the sheer size and graceful stateliness of the arbor. Storms couldn’t budge the tree, but they caused the man to worry about his house, for should the tree fall, it would destroy the house and everything in it. Of that, the man was sure.

And one day the mother of all storms raced across the countryside. Warnings started a week in advance. People were told to evacuate from the lower areas closer to the water. The man had to leave his house and find shelter elsewhere fearing the worse. For 4 days he sat in a shelter listening to the winds and rain pummel the building, raising images of the tree cracking and swooping down on his home. He didn’t sleep for those 4 days, so sure was he that the tree had crushed his house and destroyed his belongings. On the fifth day, he was allowed to leave and return home.

When he got there, he saw, to his great relief, that the graceful, beautiful ash still stood watch over his house and no damage was sustained. The man ran up to the great ash and hugged it and thanked it.

And in celebration of the tree not falling on his house, the next day he had it cut down, so he would worry no more.

The Gardener

There once was a man who loved to garden. Year after year he would work in his gardens. At first his gardens were quite ordinary, but as the years went by they developed a certain maturity. His neighbors, unbeknownst to him, would throw small parties so that others could appreciate his gardens. His gardens, over the years, became the talk of the county. Everyone he passed on the street, if they recognized him, would remark to him how beautiful his gardens were. He would thank them and say wait till next year. And next year would always be better.

As time went by, the gardens became a place for wildlife to take refuge and enjoy. Bees, butterflies, birds and hummingbirds, deer, rabbit, the occasional fox, wolf and coyote would all stop by and admire the man’s handiwork. Often while gardening, a monarch or hummingbird would stop to enjoy his garden and put on a display of appreciation for him. He took to bringing a camera with him when he worked in his gardens, but was never able to get a shot of them in his gardens. They proved to be too elusive.

Truth be told, while the man loved his gardens, he hated weeding, but understood it to be a necessary evil. Every day he went out to weed, he would think of friends who were out playing and feel a sense of jealousy however briefly. But he knew he loved what he was doing and he knew he loved the results. So he toiled relentlessly in his gardens, always planning for next year, creating visions in his mind of how things could be improved.

One day while gardening, the man experienced a perfect moment of peace: there were no issues, no problems, his mind was as clear as the sky, his eyes as radiant as the sun.

At that moment of peace, he laid down in his garden and peacefully died. His camera fell from his pants pocket and flipped on. From nowhere butterflies appeared and covered his body. The elusive hummingbirds came in droves as well as bees and other birds. Deer, rabbit, fox, raccoon, wolf, opossum and others all gathered beside his gardens and knelt before the man. Only a baby rabbit, not knowing any better displayed some disrespect and started eating at a leaf, but he was quickly slapped by his parents for not showing respect.

After a few moments, the flyers picked up his body and flew it away, leaving his perfect garden in perfect harmony.

And a camera with the most amazing shots of nature’s displays of affections.

The Unscrupulous Rickshaw Driver

Based [loosely] on a true story

There once was an unscrupulous rickshaw driver who gouged unsuspecting tourists charging them hundreds of dollars for very very short rides. He explained that the extra money was taxes he had to assess.

Word spread and the city began to experience a decline in tourism. When news of the unscrupulous rickshaw driver reached the ears of city officials, they had him arrested. There was a long drawn out trial but eventually an unrepentant rickshaw driver was thrown in jail.

The charge? Not giving the city the taxes he collected.

The Incompetent Mayor

 (The Simplicity Tales)

The Mayor of Simplicity was frighteningly incompetent yet the townsfolk adored him and would blindly re-elect him for the rest of his days, simply based on his ineptness. It hadn’t always been like this; Simplicity had once been a paradigm for selfless foresight in all matters civic and personal. But time, pettiness and greed, like rain, had a way of dulling folks’ minds when choosing candidates and unsavory intimations of resuscitating long-forgotten discretions had a way of making good candidates stay at home. A once simple town with simple standards was now unnecessarily unfathomable, boorish and divisive. A paradigm had fallen on hard times and it didn’t take all that long for it to fall so far.

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