In the middle of one deep forest, there stood an mighty old oak tree. It had a beautiful crown, and its leaves were talked about far and wide. Its trunk was so huge that not even ten adults could circle it together with their arms. It had stood there for many years. And because it was so old, it was the wisest tree in the forest. Animals from all around came to it. Squirrels would come ask where the best nuts were, bears would come to complain about disobedient children, and birds would beg for permission to build their nests in it. None of the animals could imagine the forest without it.
One day early in the morning, a loud sound rang through the forest, as if an earthquake was coming. All the animals ran out of their dens, plugging their ears and looking for the source of that horrible noise. They didn’t know what it was. They didn’t understand what was going on. So they all ran to their wise tree, to see if it might know anything. But when they arrived at their oak, an unwelcome surprise awaited them. A red tape was tied around its mighty trunk. Terrified birds flitted above its crown, calling out: “Help, help, what are we going to do? The woodcutters are here. They want to cut down our oak tree. Our nests are in it and it’s ours! Help. It can’t defend itself. Help.”
Suddenly the biggest bear went to stand in front of the tree and said: “If it can’t defend itself, then we will defend it! There’s more of us than of them.” “Yes!” All the animals shouted. And so, the mission to save the tree began. Everyone put their heads together and concocted a plan. They didn’t have much time; they didn’t even know when the woodcutters might be back to cut down the tree. That’s why they didn’t waste any time. They didn’t want to allow the woodcutters to set a single foot in the forest. So the squirrels gathered nuts and then hid themselves in the trees with their supply. Skunks held in as much of their stinky smell as possible, preparing for an attack at the edge of the forest. The bears painted their mouths red by using red raspberry dye to make it look as if they’ve just eaten someone, and they practiced walking on two legs and roaring at the same time.
As the woodcutters approached the forest, the mighty oak gave a signal, and the men couldn’t believe their eyes. Nuts were cascading down on the from trees at incredible speed. Out of nowhere, bears appeared, their mouths red, and they walked on their hind legs and roared. As the woodcutters backed away, they tripped and fell to the ground. This was the cue for the skunks, who leapt forward and released their stink directly into their faces. The men didn’t stand a chance. Completely dazed, they ran away. “Hooray, we did it!” the animals cheered and ran to take the red tape off their oak tree.
The oak tree still stands there today. If you ever walk through a deep forest and see a beautiful, mighty tree, remember how important each of them is. Not just to the animals, but to each of us.