The Truth Crushed Down
The Truth Crushed Down
Story

Once upon a time there was a very greedy king who had lots and lots of gold. But he wanted even more gold, so he decided he would order his army to attack the neighboring kingdom and steal all their gold.

The king called all his soldiers into his courtyard and told them his plan. The soldiers agreed to obey his orders. They drew their swords and lifted their shields and marched off to battle.

But the soldiers were not gone from the castle long before they began returning to the courtyard. Not one of the soldiers was carrying a sword or a shield.

“What happened!” screamed the king. “I told you to go fight a battle!”

“We were on our way, Sire,” said one of the men, “when we came across an apple tree and the tree spoke to us. It said:

‘All men are brothers and all women are sisters.
All the people of the earth are one family.
Be wise and lay down your swords and shields and study war no more.’

“It seemed to us that the tree made sense so that is what we did.”

The king was furious and he vowed to get rid of the tree that had ruined his plans. He waited until midnight and then he crept out of the castle, walking across the field until he came to the apple tree. The king took out his axe and chopped down the tree. But he was still so mad that he stomped on the fallen tree until it was crushed down into the earth. Then the king walked back to his castle with a smile on his face.

The next day the king called his soldiers to the courtyard. He gave them new swords and new shields and told them to obey his orders and go attack the neighboring kingdom. The soldiers were afraid of the king so they did as they were told.

But the soldiers were not gone long before they started returning without their swords and shields. This made the king furious.

“I told you to go fight a battle!” screamed the king.

“We were on our way,” said one of the soldiers, “but we came to the spot where we saw the apple tree yesterday. You wouldn’t believe it but there are twenty apple trees there today. And they were all saying the same thing:

‘All men are brothers and all women are sisters.
All the people of the earth are one family.
Be wise and lay down your swords and shields and study war no more.’

“And the trees made sense to us so that is what we did.”
The king was red with anger. “Those blasted trees!” he thought. “Tonight I will sneak out and chop down every last one.” And that is what he did. But he was still so mad after chopping down all the trees that he jumped up and down on them until they were crushed into the earth.
The next day the king called all the soldiers to the courtyard and gave them new swords and new shields and ordered them once again to attack the neighboring kingdom. The soldiers were afraid of the king so they obeyed him. But the soldiers had not been gone long when they began returning without their swords and shields.
“I told you to go to battle!” screamed the king. “Why did you disobey me!”
“Well,” said one of the soldiers, “you wouldn’t believe it but in the same place where there were twenty apple trees yesterday there is now an entire forest of trees and they are all saying—”
The king didn’t wait to hear the rest. He knew what those trees were saying. He ran out of the castle and there he saw a forest of trees that stretched as far as the eye could see.
The king began to cry and scream because he knew there was no way he could chop down so many trees.
“Can it be!” he screamed, “that a powerful king like myself can be stopped by a few trees!”
“Are you asking me?” came a voice from behind him.
Turning around the king saw an old man leaning against the castle walls. His hair and beard were long and grey and his clothes were well worn.
“Well,” said the king after a moment, “Do you have an answer? If so, please tell me.”
“Well,” said the old man and then he paused for a moment. “It seems to me that you are a very powerful king.”
“Yes, indeed I am!” agreed the king.
“And, since you are so powerful, you can take any tree that offends you and chop it into little pieces and crush it into the ground.”
“You are quite right there,” replied the king.
“But,” said the beggar, “the apple tree spoke the truth. All men are brothers, all women are sisters, and all the people of the earth are one family. You may be a powerful king, but there is no king on earth more powerful than the truth, for truth crushed to the earth will rise again.”

Storytelling Tip: This story ends with a quote by the Unitarian journalist William Cullen Bryant, “Truth crushed to earth will rise again.” This is a good story to have children act out as you tell it because there are lots of parts.

About the Author

  • The Rev. Chris Buice is minister of the Tennessee Valley UU Church in Knoxville, Tenn.

For more information contact worshipweb@uua.org.

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