Written by Matt Birkenhauer

Saturday, 9 August 2014

image for The "Giving" Tree: A Children's Story About the Koch Brothers

With apologies to Shel Silverstein

Once there was a tree . . .

she loved
little boys
named Charles and David.

And every day
the boys
would come

and they would gather her leaves

and make them
into crowns
and play king of the world.

They would climb up her trunk
and swing from her branches
and eat apples.

And they
would play

And when
they were tired,
they would sleep
in her shade.

And the boys loved the tree . . . .
very much.
And the tree was happy.

But time went by,
and the boys grew older.
And the tree was often alone.

Then one day the boys came to the tree
and the tree said: "Come, Boys, come and climb
up my trunk and swing from my branches
and eat apples and play in my shade and be happy."
"We are too big to climb and play," said the boys.
"We want to run things and have fun.
We want lots of money.
Can you give us lots of money?"
"I'm sorry," said the tree, "but I have no money.
Anyway, aren't you supposed to inherit
millions of dollars
at some point?
I have only leaves and apples.
Take my apples, Boys, and sell them
in the city. Then you will have money
till your rich pappy dies."

And so the boys climbed up the
tree and stripped her
of all her apples
and carried them away.

And the tree was happy.

But the boys stayed away
for a long time . . .
and the tree was sad.
And then one day
the boys came back
and the tree shook with joy
and she said, "Come, Boys,
climb up my trunk,
and swing from my branches
and be happy."

"We are too busy to climb trees,"
said the boys.
"We want a mansion to keep us warm,"
they said.
"We want a wife and we want children,
and so we need a mansion.
Can you give us a mansion?"
"I have no mansion," said the tree.
"The forest is my house,
but you may cut off my branches
and build yourselves mansions.
Then you will be happy."

And so the boys cut off
all her branches
and carried them away
to build their mansions.

And the tree was happy.

But the boys stayed away
for a long time.
And when they came back,
the tree was so happy
she could hardly speak.
"Come, Boys," she whispered,
"come and play."
"We are too old and sad to play,"
said the boys,
"since we spent our middle years
raping the earth
and advocating
for earth rapists
to make lots of money and have fun.
Now we want an ocean liner that will
take us away from here.
Can you give us an ocean liner?"

"Cut down my trunk
and make an ocean liner,"
said the tree.
"Then you can sail away . . .
and be happy."

And so the boys cut down the trunk
and made an ocean liner and sailed away.

And the tree was happy . . .
but not really.

And after a long time
the boys came back again.
"I am sorry, Boys,"
said the tree, "but I have nothing
left to give you--

My apples are gone."
"Our teeth are too weak
for apples," said the boys.
"My branches are gone,"
said the tree." You
cannot swing on them--"
"We are too old to swing
on branches," said the boys.
"My trunk is gone," said the tree.
"You cannot climb--"
"We are too tired to climb," said the boys.
"I am sorry," sighed the tree.
"I wish that I could
give you something…
but I have nothing left. I am just
an old stump. I am sorry…"

"We don't need very much now,"
said the boys,
"although we never pass by
an opportunity to make a few more
bucks, being good Libertarians."
"Well," said the tree,
straightening herself up
as much as she could,
"well, an old stump is good
for turning into biofuel briquettes
to sell at inflated prices
to developing countries.
Come, Boys, go get
a stump grinder
and make briquettes
out of me."

And the boys did.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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