The Gourd and the Pine Tree
ONCE there was a very tall, old pine tree that had been growing for many years in the quiet woods. The tree had grown quite slowly and carefully through the years. It was nearly the oldest tree in the forest. The tree raised its head high above the other trees toward the sky like a very king of trees. Even though it stood high above the other trees, the old pine never bragged or said anything bad about the other plants in the forest.
One spring day the wind brought a little seed and dropped it at the roots of the pine tree. It was a proud little seed. It swelled and puffed out to see how quickly it could burst its hard coat and begin to grow. It sent out two green vines that grabbed at the bark of the pine tree. It was going to be a gourd-vine.
"I will climb to the top of the tree," said the little gourd-vine. "I will show everyone how quickly I can grow. I refuse to grow slowly like these other trees."
The gourd-vine tugged and pulled at its roots until they were nearly pulled out of the ground. It kept calling down to them: "Drink more, drink more, I say! I must grow faster." It held on tightly to the pine tree and climbed and climbed. It climbed until it was way up to the highest branch.
"Look at me!" cried the little gourd-vine, loudly. "You have been growing for a great many years, and I only began this summer. See how high I have grown!" Day after day the little gourde-vine bragged to the other plants. “I will soon be the biggest plant in the forest. I will grow much taller than all of you!”
Summer passed, and every day the little gourd-vine bragged to the other trees. But the old pine tree just rustled its leaves and said nothing at all, for it knew a thing or two.
Fall passed, and even the little gourd-vine slowed in its growing. Then winter came. A huge storm came upon the forest. A mighty wind swept through the trees, bringing the snowflakes. The flowers began to hang their heads. The birds flew south. The old pine tree did not mind the cold in the least, for it had seen many storms during its life.
But, the poor little gourd-vine! It had grown so fast that it had forgotten to grow carefully and well. Its roots were weak. Its stalks were soft. One cold night the frost touched it, and it fell in a heap on the ground. Not even the old pine tree could hold it up. And that was the end of the proud little gourd-vine.
All the bragging did not help it survive when times became hard.