The Giving Tree I’d Like to read

There are days here at HLAC where I will tell you a story and attempt to convey an important lesson or biblical truth.

This is not one of those days.

If you’ve been following along for more than a few months, you are well aware that I am NOT a fan of Shel Silverstein’s book The Giving Tree. The following is not an attempt to address what I feel is a warped and self-serving view of God. It’s just me being snarky…

The Giving Tree
By Katdish

Once there was a tree…and she loved a little boy. And every day the boy would come and he would gather her leaves and make them into crowns and play king of the forest. He would climb up her trunk and swing from her branches and eat apples. And they would play hide-and-seek. And when he was tired, he would sleep in her shade. And the boy loved the tree…very much. And the tree was happy.

But time went by. And the boy grew older. And the tree was often alone. Then one day the boy came to the tree and the tree said, “Come, Boy, come and climb up my trunk and swing from my branches and eat apples and play in my shade and be happy.”

“I am too big to climb and play,” said the boy. “I want to buy things and have fun. I want some money. Can you give me some money?”

“I’m sorry,” said the tree, “but I have no money, I have only leaves and apples. Take my apples, Boy, and sell them in the city. Then you will have money, but don’t be fooled into believing that money will make you happy, or that it’s okay to simply take from one who provides for you without any sense of gratitude. Because while I give you these apples as a gift, how you use this gift will speak volumes to me and the rest of the world about your character. And so the boy climbed up the tree and gathered her apples and carried them away. And the tree was hopeful.

But the boy stayed away for a long time…and the tree was disappointed. And then one day the boy came back and the tree was happy to see him and she said, “Come, Boy, climb up my trunk and swing from my branches and be happy.”

“I am too busy to climb trees,” said the boy. “I want a house to keep me warm. I want a wife and I want children, and so I need a house. Can you give me a house?”

“I have no house,” said the tree. “The forest is my house. What did you do with the money you made from selling the apples? Did you squander that money away on yourself? Did you do anything with that money to help anyone else?…I will take your silence to mean that you did much of the former and none of the latter. Had you given freely to someone else as I have given freely to you, I was prepared to offer my branches to you in order that you might build a house for yourself. But clearly, you have learned nothing about gratitude and are still the selfish little boy that I knew so many years ago. So sorry – you’re on your own.” And the boy was not happy, but the tree had had enough.

And the boy stayed away for a long time. And when he came back, the tree said, “Come, Boy. Come and play.”

I am too old and sad to play,” said the boy. “I want a boat that can take me far away from here. Can you give me a boat?”

“CAN I GIVE YOU A BOAT?!? What have you been doing for the past 60 years? Have you spent your life as a human parasite living off the generosity of others while offering nothing in return? And finally, at the end of your miserable existence when everyone else has refused you, you have the audacity to come here and ask me for a boat? A boat my ASS!”

And the boy hung his head. After all of those years he realized how he had wasted his entire life trying to make himself happy. Thinking the world revolved around him. And he realized what a complete tool he had been. And he hugged the tree and thanked her for all she had done for him. This time he was truly grateful and truly remorseful. And he asked if she would be so kind as to allow him to be buried underneath her so that he could be close to the only one that had ever loved him.

And then he died.

The End.

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35 Responses to “The Giving Tree I’d Like to read”

  1. Kathleen February 18, 2010 at 2:09 am #

    >Have you just got done re-reading Boundaries? Sheesh.

    Bahahahaha. Dang you're a tough love junky. I'm ruined for life now. Nobody could have done justice to the re-do like you. Was he a fool or a tool of Satan? 🙂

  2. Bridget Chumbley February 18, 2010 at 2:24 am #

    >Your ability to read between the lines is uncanny!

    I'm so happy to see the tree grew a pair and took care of that douchie and ungrateful kid.

    I love happy endings…

  3. Phoenix-Karenee February 18, 2010 at 2:55 am #

    >That's a good tree! *laughs*

  4. Bina February 18, 2010 at 2:58 am #

    >…I have no other words out side of: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!


  5. Shark Bait February 18, 2010 at 2:58 am #

    >Uh… Okay.

    I've never actually read The Giving Tree, but I'm pretty sure I like your version better.

    The only way it would have been cooler is if the tree had fallen on him at the end, just to teach him a lesson. 🙂

  6. Glynn February 18, 2010 at 7:28 am #

    >I like this. At first I thought he was going to cut down the tree to build his boat. Whew.

  7. Beck February 18, 2010 at 9:39 am #

    >Yes. YES! The Giving Tree was the worst piece of hippy balogna every balogna-ed. AWESOME.

  8. Candace Jean July 16 February 18, 2010 at 9:41 am #

    >What do you mean "This is not one of those days?" Au contraire, my friend. This was a Deepdish Katdish day. Love it! (and I'm with you on The Giving Tree). Pffft.

  9. Nick the Geek February 18, 2010 at 9:47 am #

    >I think you should get this illustrated and published for children. "A boat my ASS" will become the new catch phrase from all across the land. Also, kinda accurate since … well … tree …

  10. JML February 18, 2010 at 10:09 am #

    >. . . I will take your silence to mean that you did much of the former and none of the latter. . . AND THEN HE DIED!!!!

    Isn't that how it truly happens?

    Kathy, you are one of my favorites.

  11. JML February 18, 2010 at 10:10 am #

    >Oh yeah. and I'm with Candy. You concealed your depth with the word ass, but we all know it's there 🙂

  12. Gina Deeming February 18, 2010 at 10:28 am #

    What's next for you?
    Revamp "The Lorax" perhaps?

  13. Jewda February 18, 2010 at 10:35 am #

    >Within a couple of lines, you employed, "A boat my ass," and the word tool. This is the kind of children's book I want to read to Jakob. Is it being published?

    Also, I thought he was going to hang himself from the tree at the end.

  14. Marni February 18, 2010 at 10:36 am #

    >"And then he died"…yes. That's how I wanted the book to truly end. I think I was 9 when I read it the first time, and even then, I recall being all "WTFT Shel? This isn't how we treat the tree?" (I was an advanced snark, even then).

    I love your version. Truly. I'm printing it and gluing it into my copy (that I never read to my kids because this book sucks) and I'm going to pretend this is how it really is.


  15. Marni February 18, 2010 at 10:47 am #

    >Oooh, I love Sharkbait's proposed ending. Tree falls on the ingrate, but she somehow re-plants herself and lives. Awesomesauce.

  16. Helen February 18, 2010 at 10:56 am #

    >Thank you, Katdish. What that book always needed was an epiphany. It's lack of epiphany left a scar on my soul when it was read to me 34 years ago that I am sure has been healed by the balm of your rewrite.

  17. Robin Arnold February 18, 2010 at 11:08 am #

    >I'm a teensy disappointed the tree didn't Tweet.

    I've lived in a woods long enough to know trees intentionally throw limbs, so that would have been an option. Not so much as to break a commandment but more to scare the stuffing from that all-about-me guy.

    Very styly work. (Note word learned hanging out watching snowboarding.)

  18. SarahBeeCreations February 18, 2010 at 11:18 am #

    >Sniff, sniff….it's beautiful

  19. ~*Michelle*~ February 18, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    >Not sure what made me laugh more…..your version or all these great comments!

  20. jasonS February 18, 2010 at 12:37 pm #

    >Simply wonderful. And I realize I'm showing my little boy sense of humor again, but Kathleen commenting about a "tool of Satan" made me laugh.

    I also agree with Shark Bait that the tree falling on him would make a great ending…

  21. Erin February 18, 2010 at 1:30 pm #

    >I am laughing my butt of at Bridget– the tree grew a pair. Maybe THAT could be the subtitle of your book.

    "The Giving Tree, or The Tree That Grew a Pair."

  22. L.T. Elliot February 18, 2010 at 3:18 pm #

    >A much BETTER story! =]

  23. Carrien February 18, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    >That was brilliant.

    I've never been here before but I am today thanks to Beck and twitter.

  24. Kimberly February 18, 2010 at 5:23 pm #

    >This was fabulous! Got your link from Beck.

    Always hated the Giving Tree. Almost as much as I hate Rainbow Fish.

  25. JeffHolton February 18, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    >Sometimes a tree is just a tree.

    And I like Rainbow Fish! Hmf.

  26. Steph @Red Clay Diaries February 18, 2010 at 8:49 pm #

    >Wow! I've been away all day and almost missed your masterpiece. I love it.

    Using my super branding powers, I came up with the perfect title:

    The Gonad Tree;
    The Tree That Grew A Pair.

    Seriously, your version is awesome with a side of awesome and an extra helping of awesome.

  27. vanityofvanities February 18, 2010 at 9:27 pm #

    >I love you, Katdish. This is awesome. 🙂

  28. Lisa Marie Mary February 18, 2010 at 9:30 pm #

    >Thank you and thank you and thank you. Whenever I read that book, I just kind of feel like … Huh? And I always wondered if it was just me. I didn't understand the sentiment…I didn't get the wonderful, beautiful vibe that the whole entire rest of the world was getting. Thank you – times a million – for setting me free!

    A boat my ASS!


  29. ♥ Kathy February 18, 2010 at 11:43 pm #

    >I didn't like that story either..

  30. Billy Coffey February 19, 2010 at 12:21 am #

    >I'm giving up writing, because I can't top this one.

  31. tsholo February 19, 2010 at 3:24 am #


    love it. this really is how it should have been written.

  32. Helen February 19, 2010 at 1:30 pm #

    >Instead of "growing a pair", how about making it a pear tree instead of an apple tree, and then have "growing a pear"? Parents reading it aloud to their kids would get it, but little ones would not be wondering "Huh?"

  33. Sarah October 12, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    LOL. Oh my goodness. You know, in a strange way, it reminds me somewhat of the parable of the prodigal son. I mean, your version and not Shel Silverstein’s version. Kind of.

    Maybe what I’m saying is that I think the story of The Giving Tree COULD work a lot better if it was told as if it was the story of the Prodigal Son.

  34. K-Man May 30, 2012 at 1:58 am #

    I’m laughing at this. You did a great job interpretting this. I have to say that I fully expected you to say that “And then the boy cut the tree down and made his beloved boat, while selling the apples. For this man was a lawyer and had sold his soul to the devil after going to college”

    Hehe. My wife would be aghast at hearing that and reading your post, but I love inappropriate humor and you pegged it. Great job.


  1. Pardon me while I rant incessantly: Celebrating mediocrity | - May 27, 2011

    […] their lives is because they deserve it and everything bad is someone else’s fault. (I blame Shel Silverstein and The Giving Tree for much of this, but that’s a whole other […]

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