“You’re mistaken, sir. The gardener said, but a few days ago, that he should plant a vine just like myself at your trunk if your foliage was not better, so that you might present a finer appearance by the mingling of the vine’s soft leaves, and be more ornamental to the garden.”
“I’ll save him that trouble if my life is spared. I have no desire to be decked in borrowed leaves. The oaks have always kept up a good appearance; but oh, dear me, vine, didn’t that blast take your breath away? I fear I shall die; but, if I do live, I’ll show the gardener what I can do. But, vine,” and the voice of the oak trembled, “tell the gardener, when he comes in the morning, if—if I am dead—that—that the dreadful tempest killed instead of helped me.”
The wind made such a roaring sound that the oak could not hear her reply, and he tried now to become reconciled to death. He thought much in that brief space of time and resolved, if his life was spared him, that he would try and put forth his protecting branches over the beds of flowers at his feet, to protect them from the blazing sun, and try to be more kind and friendly to all. Deeper and deeper struck the roots into the earth, till a new life-thrill shot through its veins. Was it death?
The oak raised its head. The clouds were drifting to the south. All was calm, and the stars shone like friendly eyes in the heavens above him.
“That oak would have surely died but for the tempest which passed over us,” said the gardener, a few weeks later, as he was showing his garden to a friend.
The gardener stood beneath the branches, and saw with pleasure new leaves coming forth and the texture of the old ones already finer and softer.
“It only needed a firmer hold on the earth. The poor thing could not draw moisture enough from the ground before the storm shook its roots and embedded them deeper. If I had known the philosophy of storms before, I need not have lost the other oak.”
Here the old gardener sat beneath the branches of the oak, and they seemed to rise and fall as if bestowing blessings on his head. That spot became his favorite resting-place amid his labors for many years. The oak lived to a good old age, and was the gardener’s pride. Maidens gathered its leaves and wove garlands for their lovers. Children sported under its boughs. It was blessed and happy in making others so. It had learned the lesson of the storm, and was often heard to say to the young oaks growing up about it, “Sunshine and balmy breezes have their part in our growth, but they are not all that is needful for our true development.”
Truth and error.