The People Who Live In Trees
The world is divided it seems between those who live in trees and those who do not.
Hidden in the middle of a forest in a place that most of us don’t know about there are some magical trees. The trees are strong and beautiful. Their roots are firm and well nourished. Their trunks solid and eminently huggable. The branches of the trees are full of golden leaves that never fall and fruit that never goes mouldy. Rather the leaves and the crop grows and multiplies so that the value of the trees, and the comfort they provide, increases day on day. Only a few very powerful, and already rich, people live in the trees and thus it is only a small minority that have access to the magical benefits that the golden leaves and fruit provide. This ensures that these individuals are able to keep their power and that their lives are chock-a-block full of the things that they are able to exchange the leaves and the fruit for. Sadly though the magic does not always influence the tree people’s behaviour for the good and so whilst many of them do everything they can to ensure that they have more leaves and fruit than any one person can possible need they tend not to think much about those who have very little.
Away from the forest, in the rest of the world, life is very different. Increasing numbers of those who do not live in the forest of magical trees are struggling to survive. More and more of them are having to decide whether to spend what little they have on food or on heating, on accommodation costs or on clothes. This is true (although some of the tree people do everything they can to deny it) of many who are working, including nurses and police-officers as well as those who have jobs in shops and offices and elsewhere. Sometimes the problem gets so bad that the people who do not live in trees have to miss meals or rely on the help of others in order to feed themselves and their children. Some even lose their homes and end up living in cramped and unsafe buildings or have to make their home on the streets.
So when the people who live in trees tell the people who don’t that they need to manage their money better; prioritise their spending; and look after their pennies so that the pounds will look after themselves the people who don’t live in trees despair. For if all your money goes on the rent and on the bills and how can you possibly nurture pennies in the hope of discovering the self-sufficiency and self-care that pounds are supposedly capable of?
The solution of course is obvious. The people who live in trees merely need to tell everyone else where the forest is so that the trees can be shaken for the good of all, so that the magic can be shared. Sadly this seems to be too complicated a concept for the people who live in trees who instead spend their time trying to persuade the non-tree dwellers who have a bit more than others to give to those who have less.
This means that the divide between those who live in trees and those who do not is getting bigger, and bigger and bigger the country and the world over. It can’t go on.
NB: this story was prompted by (amongst other things) this year’s Evening Standard Hungry Children Appeal https://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/evening-standard-comment-help...