This is our translation of a legend from the Jambi Province.

The Little Boy and the Apple Tree

(Kisah Pohon Apel)

This story is often told to Indonesian children. It reflects the parent’s willingness to give all they have for their children’s success in life.


A long, long time ago there lived a little boy who was known to play below an apple tree every day. He loved to climb that tree, clear to the top and eat the apples while sitting on its branches. While eating the tree’s apples he enjoyed the shade from the tree’s thousands of leaves. That little boy loved that apple tree, and the apple tree very much loved that little boy.

The little boy playing in the apple tree.

After many years had passed and the little boy was now fully grown, he no longer climbed or played around that tree anymore.

“Hey, come here and play with me,” said the tree to the little boy.

“I’m not a little boy anymore. And I no longer climb trees. What I really need is money to buy some things I need,” responded the little boy.

The apple tree replied, “I’m really sorry you don’t have any money…but you may take all my apples, sell them, and then you’ll have some money. Then you can buy whatever will make you happy.

The little boy picking apples.

The little boy was very happy when he heard that, so he picked all the apples that were on the tree. However, after that the little boy didn’t return to the tree. The tree was very sad and lonely.

After a long period of time the little boy returned to the apple tree again. The tree was very happy to see him.

“Hey, come and play with me,” said the apple tree to the little boy.

“I don’t have time. I have to work for my family. We need a home in which to live. Can you help me?” asked the little boy.

“Oh, I’m sorry you don’t have a home. If you really need a home, you can cut down all my branches and make a lot of boards. From them you can build yourself a home,” said the apple tree.

The “little boy” telling the apple tree that he can’t play because he has to build a home for his family.

With great excitement and joy the little boy expressed his gratitude then cut down all the branches. He then departed with them and built a home for his family.

The apple tree was very happy to be able to provide what the little boy needed, but the tree was also sad, because the little boy didn’t come back for a visit. The apple tree was very, very lonely.

One year, during the summer, the little boy came again to the apple tree, and the tree being excited to see him again, excitedly welcomed him back.

“Hey, come and play with me,” said the apple tree to the little boy.

The apple tree after being cut down by the “little boy” so he could make a ship.

“I’m sorry, I can’t. I’m much too old. And I just want to relax in my latter years. What I really want to do is go on a long vacation, maybe a cruise to see other parts of the world. Can you give me a ship so I can go on a cruise?” asked the little boy.

“I’m sorry,” said the tree. “But, you can cut down my trunk, and with that you can make yourself a ship. Please do so and enjoy yourself on your vacation.”

Being totally thrilled that his dream vacation would become a reality, the little boy cut down the trunk of the apple tree and made a ship. He and his family then departed for their much longed for cruise. But, the little boy didn’t come back to play around the apple tree.

After many, many years that little boy came back to the tree again.

When the apple tree saw the boy, he said, “I’m sorry. I don’t have anything left to give to you.”

“It doesn’t matter. I don’t have teeth anymore, so, even if you did have apples I wouldn’t be able to eat them,” replied the boy.

“I also don’t have any branches for you to climb,” said the apple tree.

“It’s okay, I’m really much too old to be climbing trees,” said the little boy.

“I really don’t have anything left to give you. The only thing remaining is my roots, but, they are very old and are dying,” said the apple tree, as tears were forming in his eyes.

The “little boy” after he was very old, came back and just rested by the apple tree.

“You don’t have to worry about that, I only need a place to rest. I’m very happy and pleased with all that you have left me,” said the boy, with a heart full of thanksgiving and gratitude.

“Oh, thank you! You do know, don’t you, that my roots are actually the best place in the world for lying down and resting. Come now! Lay down and hug my roots and get all the rest you need,” said the tree with a heart full of love for the little boy.

The little boy then lay down, hugging the roots of that apple tree and was filled with great contentment and peace.

A huge pleasant smile came over the face of the apple tree. Joy filled his heart and tears of happiness flowed from his eyes.

August 11, 2012