It was the first day of vacation and I was at my uncle’s house. We were going to spend our holidays at his place in the middle of a forest. Uncle Marvin was a forest guard. I loved staying at his place.

“Uncle, will you take me for an elephant ride?” I asked, quite sure that he would say ‘yes’. Uncle Marvin said that he would and soon I was on an elephant. I was thoroughly enjoying the ride when my uncle gasped, “Oh my God!”

My dad asked if something was wrong. Uncle Marvin didn’t answer but pointed at something. I craned my neck to look at whatever he was pointing at. It was not a pleasant sight. All trees of one particular species were cut. “These are rare medicinal trees. They could heal any open injury,” said Uncle Marvin. “We have to return. I am sorry, but I have to find who did this.”

It was dusk and we had almost reached home when we heard someone shouting for help. We made our way toward the sound. A little further into the woods, a man was crouching beside someone who was unconscious. “Oh please help me! My daughter is severely hurt.”

Uncle Marvin ran toward the girl and checked her pulse. “My dear man, it’s too late. We will lose her in a few minutes.” He was right. The girl died in a few minutes. The man seemed maddened with grief.

“I killed my own daughter,” he moaned. “If only I had not cut those trees, I could have saved my daughter.”

We realised that he was the one who had cut the medicinal trees. Uncle Marvin did not have the heart to rebuke him. He felt the poor man had had his punishment.

Thousands of valuable trees like this are cut every day. It is our duty save them.

The writer is in class IX C, Jeevana School, Madurai