In a distant land, there was a wisdom tree. It was so high that people believed that the crown of the tree held the firmament, and the clouds floating in the sky were the petals of its flowers. Berries grew on the tree, and those who ate at least one gained wisdom and the ability to understand the language of all living things. But here's the trouble, birds lived in the branches of the tree, which pecked all the berries and did not allow them to fall to the ground.
An evil and greedy khan ruled that country. Once he called a young servant to him and said.
- Get me the berries of wisdom, or your head will fly off your shoulders!
The servant became sad, wondered how to climb the tree? I thought and thought and came up with the idea of making iron claws, like a cat's. He went up to a tree, stroked the rough bark and whispered:
“Forgive me for having to injure you, I do not climb of my own free will, but at the behest of the khan.
Pinned claws and climbed up. He climbs, climbs - and sees that as soon as he pulls his claw out of the trunk, as the trace immediately tightened.
The servant thinks in amazement “What a wise and strong tree! The tree does not seem to notice that I hurt him, and remains just as beautiful. And finally he reached the branches of a tree. Grabbed for one, I jumped to the other ... Suddenly a thin branch broke, and the servant flew down! But before he had time to get scared, a huge bird descended from the sky, picked him up and carried him to the top of the tree.
The servant caught his breath, looks - the beauty around is such that it takes your breath away! And the bird speaks to him in a human voice.
- Who are you and why did you come to us?
The young man thanked the bird for his kindness and told his story.
“I can give you magic berries,” the bird said when the story was over. “But you should know that they do not give wisdom to everyone. If a fool eats the berries, donkey ears will sprout out on his head. If a person is cruel, then he will be covered with wolf's hair. And if he is greedy - will walk with a pig's patch. Berries give wisdom and the ability to understand the language of all living things only to a kind and honest person. Are you sure that the khan will benefit from berries?
“I don’t know,” the servant replied. - But if I return empty-handed, will blow off my head.
- Okay, - said the bird - You will get berries, but on condition that you yourself eat one. I need to make sure you're honest.
- What are you, I will turn into a cowardly hare - the servant was frightened.
“Either eat, or go with whatever you came with,” the bird said firmly.
The servant sighed and swallowed the berry. At that very moment he heard dozens of thin voices, it was the veger humming about something, the clouds chattering and the leaves of the trees whispering. Then the bird wrapped a bunch of berries in a large leaf and held them out to the young man with a bow. And then she gently picked him up with her beak and lowered him to the ground.
And then a servant came to the khan and began to tell how it all happened. The khan heard how easily the wounds healed on the tree, and broke into a smile.
- It was for my sake that the tree endured.
And when he found out with the kind bird, he exclaimed:
- It could not have been otherwise! All for my sake!
And even when he heard about the ability of berries to turn dishonest people into animals, the khan was not afraid - he was so sure of his greatness. He only spoke to the servant with a grin.
- Now I know for sure that you did not eat my berries, otherwise you would have already become a donkey!
With these words, he grabbed the package and eagerly put the berries in his mouth. At the same moment, the khan became covered with wolf hair, his face turned into a pig's snout, and instead of arms and legs, hooves appeared. The beast-khan howled in a terrible voice and dashed away from the palace. And soon people asked a wise and honest young man to become their ruler, and he agreed.
Not everyone can understand the wisdom tree.