Jesurgislac’s Journal

April 1, 2008

The Giving Tree Regendered

Filed under: Feminism,Torture — jesurgislac @ 4:34 pm
Tags: , ,

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein: a charming story about a boy’s mutilation of a loving tree.

I had never read this before today, and, well, yuck. But, inspired by a discussion on Slacktivist, I regendered it.

I don’t know if the link will work, because Slacktivist is currently suffering from a horrible pagination error which bunches all comments into groups of 25, won’t permit links to exact comments, and requires a special fix to get to the end of the thread without lots of paging:

1. Go to foot of first page:
2. Click on “Next”:
3. In the URL, a page number has appeared, in the format page/n/#comments
4. Edit the value n to 42.
5. Press “Return”.

If the thread is 42 pages or longer (a minimum of 1026 comments!) this would take you to page 42. But if the thread is shorter than 42 pages, this will just take you directly to the last page of the thread.

(42 is the Answer, as always. I know where my towel is!)

Anyway, the story regendered:


    The Giving Tree

By Shel Silverstein Regendered

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

But time went by. And the girl grew older. And the tree was often alone. Then one day the girl came to the tree and the tree said “Come, Girl, 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 girl. “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, Girl, and sell them in the city. Then you will have money and you will be happy.” And so the girl climbed up the tree and gathered his apples and carried them away. And the tree was happy.

But the girl stayed away for a long time… and the tree was sad. And then one day the girl came back and the tree shook with joy and he said, “Come, Girl, climb up my trunk and swing from my branches and be happy.”

“I am too busy to climb trees,” said the girl. “I want a house to keep me warm. I want a husband 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, but you may cut off my branches and build a house. Then you will be happy.” And the girl cut off his branches and carried them away to build her house. And the tree was happy.

But the girl stayed away for a long time. And when she came back, the tree was so happy he could hardly speak. “Come, Girl,” he whispered, “come and play.”

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

“Cut down my trunk and make a boat,” said the tree. “Then you can sail away…… and be happy.” And so the girl cut down his trunk and made a boat and sailed away. And the tree was happy…. but not really. And after a long time the girl came back again.

“I am sorry, Girl,” said the tree, “but I have nothing left to give you—-” “My apples are gone.”

“My teeth are too weak for apples,” said the girl.

“My branches are gone,” said the tree. “You cannot swing on them”

“I am too old to swing on branches,” said the girl.

“My trunk is gone,” said the tree. “You cannot climb”

“I am too tired to climb,” said the girl.

“I am sorry,” sighed the tree. “I wish that I could give you something—— but I have nothing left. I am just an old stump.”

“I don’t need very much now,” said the girl. “just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired.”

“Well,” said the tree, straightening himself up as much as he could, “Well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting. Come, Girl, sit down. Sit down and rest.” And the girl did. And the tree was happy.


  1. […] read more […]

    Pingback by The Giving Tree Regendered | gilbertoreamonn — April 3, 2008 @ 5:05 pm | Reply

  2. This is much better than the original.

    Comment by monkay — April 5, 2008 @ 12:16 am | Reply

  3. Hi Jes. This story always makes me cry. I remember it from childhood.

    By the way, I am waving hello from my hotel in London — I’m visiting my daughter who is in the British American Drama Academy — end of term performances are this week so here I am.

    Comment by ral — April 9, 2008 @ 2:48 pm | Reply

  4. Hi Ral! I’m nowhere near London, but congratulations to your daughter! Hope she gives a splendid performance.

    Comment by jesurgislac — April 9, 2008 @ 10:28 pm | Reply

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