In a valley deep in the mountains, autumn had begun to set in. A cold wind had started to blow. The flowers were losing colour and leaves had started to fall.
Unmindful of the change in the season, young evergreen pines were growing taller, except for one, which had suddenly decided to stop growing. It was the leanest among the pines and did not require a lot of nutrients to grow.
“Why do you want to stop growing?” asked the thick pine to its right.
The thin pine said: “Winter is coming. I will cease to grow till the winter passes.”
The pines to its left and right laughed.
“Do you not know we are evergreen?” said one of them. “We grow in all seasons. Harsh weather can do us no harm.”
The thin pine wasn’t troubled by the laughter as he knew the other pines were right.
He knew they were evergreens and did not shed leaves in the autumn.
But he also knew that trees need strength to withstand the winter and he was aware of his weakness.
“I am weak. Winter will kill me. The new branches I may grow can never bear the load of the snow,” said the thin pine.
“Harsh situations can harm anyone no matter how brave and strong we are. It is wise to be cautious when confronted by grave danger. Winter will pass and I can grow again,” he said.
The laughter grew stronger as no one agreed with his words. His companions thought he was a coward. They felt proud of their strength and bravery.
Then, the winter arrived with loads of snow and freezing winds for many months.
Snow accumulated over all the pines. Their new branches were too weak to withstand the load of the snow and crumbled. Pines to the left and right of the thin pine were crying for the loss they had suffered.
The heavy snow could cause the thin pine no damage. He was the only one who had strong branches to face the winter as he hadn’t let the new ones grow just before the winter. His respect for the harsh and unfavourable season had saved him.
It was his time to laugh at others but he chose not to.
When the winter was over, the thin pine was ready to grow again, while the other pines were busy repairing their damage.