On his dying day, a hermit who had travelled the mountains all his life, spoke of a hidden valley that had trees of gold. But he also warned of an ice monster that guarded the valley. Before he could complete the map to locate the valley, he passed away. The news of this strange story spread like wild-fire and many an adventurer set out to find the promising treasure. They scoured the mountains, high and low. Through valleys filled with flowers and past slopes filled with dark green forests. They climbed over steep cliffs and cascades of waterfalls but found no sign of the treasure. After traveling for many months, a few of the seekers came to a valley that looked like a desert filled with tall mountains. A cold river ran through the barren landscape of sand, stone, and snow covered peaks, but nothing grew in this harsh terrain.
Disheartened, most of the treasure hunters decided to turn back and head home. But two of them chose to carry on. Their food was running out and so was their patience, but greed for gold is often more powerful than hunger and common sense. Both of them set out into the cold desert and travelled for many days without encountering any sign of life. One morning, in the distance they saw an orchard of poplar and willow trees, standing tall and magnificent in the barren landscape. They decided to camp under the beautiful trees and survive the winter that was fast approaching.
As the season changed, the trees changed color from green to warm yellow and the river turned from brown to cold blue. Ice storms began to loom on the horizon and the mountains cloaked themselves in capes of white snow. And then suddenly as if by magic, one day the sky was crystal blue. Everything became still in anticipation. Slowly the cold sun moved across the bright blue sky and shone upon the valley with the turquoise river and the yellow forest.Towards the evening a gentle but icy wind began to blow and suddenly the bright yellow leaves of the poplar and willow, caught the rays of the setting sun and began to shine as if they were made of gold. Awestruck, the two adventurers finally realized what the hermit was talking about.
The next summer, a search party was organized to find the two missing men. After tracking their trail across the ice desert for many days, the search party spotted the two men in the distance near a small green forest. When they came near, the rescuers found the two men were long dead, their bodies frozen in ice. But surprisingly both the men had a smile on their face. Their bodies were searched but no gold was found. The search party returned home empty handed except for the sad tale that would be told to their children for generations.
Moral: In our chase for wealth, we often forget to appreciate the precious gifts that nature has given us.
Amazing fact: Most leaves don’t actually “change” color. When the days shorten, they lose their masks of green chlorophyll and reveal their natural pigments.