Children

A king’s welcome

Illustrations: Sreejith R. Kumar  

The palm tree stood tall and erect. It refused to heed the mocking words of the olive, cedar and oak trees. They teased him all the time. Today, was no different.

As the sun came up over the horizon, he heard their words of greeting.

“Good morning, Tall-eeee,” said the cedar, loudly.

“Why are you wasting your breath on that scarecrow early in the morning?” laughed the oak.

“Oh! Just give him a break. After all, he is out on a limb,” sniggered the olive.

The palm tree listened to their jibes. He was hurt, as always, but that didn’t help in any way.

For as long as he could remember, he had been standing beside the cedar, the oak and olive on the eastern side of the old city wall.

But this morning felt different. There seemed to be a tension in the air, a kind of excitement. Finally, unable to take their taunts in silence any longer, he said, “Say what you will. My day will come.”

The other three trees burst into loud, raucous laughter. The palm tree ignored them and looked out into the horizon.

Turn of events

A king’s welcome

“That’s strange,” he thought. “There seems to be a lot of dust in the air. It’s moving too.”

“Ummm…er…” he said trying to get the attention of the other trees. But they were still busy laughing at him. He shrugged and continued watching. The ball of dust seemed to be coming towards the eastern gate. It was going into Jerusalem. “Whatever can it be?” he wondered.

As the column of dust drew nearer, he could see a man on a donkey. Behind him came others. As they neared the eastern gate, there was a cry of salutation.

People rushed out of the gates, plucked the leaves off the palm and began to wave them in front of the man on the donkey. The cedar, olive and oak watched in stunned silence.

Then the oak revived. He was old, and had seen many winters and summers. He was also wise and strong. He said, “Kings and conquerors used to be welcomed with palm leaves, in olden times. Also, palm leaves signify goodness, well-being, grandeur, steadfastness and victory.”

The olive tree was overcome with shame. “I should have known better. After all, I am a sacred tree, and I symbolise peace and friendship. But, I have ignored my heritage and mocked the palm.”

The cedar too was ashamed of his behaviour and apologised to the palm. “Who is that man? He doesn’t look like a king or a conqueror,” wondered the cedar.

The olive tree said, “That is Jesus of Nazareth. He is making his triumphant entry into the city. It has been written in the holy book.”

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 1:47:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/a-kings-welcome/article34191571.ece

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