Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Moon and the Banana Tree

In the old days of Madagascar it is told that the Great Spirit created the heavens and the earth, the stars and the beasts, the seas and great desert. And he also created the banana tree. He gave to each of these beings their own particular lives as well as their specific deaths. Finally, he created people. But to encourage their own creativity and free will, he decided to let them choose how they would prefer to die. "Do you choose to die like the moon," asked the Most High, "or will you pick the death of the banana tree?"

The moon begins each month full and round. Slowly it wilts, disappearing every fourteen days. But in the night of the fifteenth day, it begins to give birth to itself yet again. From a slim sliver above the sea, it increases until it returns to its full strength.

But the lifespan of the banana tree is finite: it begins as a seed. With nourishment and sun, water and care, it grows throughout the years, giving birth to great fruit. Finally, the wind scatters its seeds, and a new generation arises from the death of that one banana tree.

The people considered the question posed to them by their Creator. To die like the moon means to always return to your own complete perfection; but the death of the banana tree is nourishment for those that come after. And besides, the moon is lonely up there in the night sky, always seeking its mate the sun and so far away from its friends the stars. The people decided on the death of the banana tree so they would have their children and their children's children to accompany them throughout this short life.

Which would you choose?

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