At one end of the farm there was a papaya tree. He was lonely as there was no other tree near him. There was a mango grove at the other end of the farm where lots of mango trees lived together. The mango trees were always happy and cheerful. There were lots of birds in the grove and passersby took rest under the shade of the trees.
The Papaya always looked towards the mango trees and wished he could also be as happy as them. He wished he had lots of friends and other trees surrounding him. The birds could make nests on his twigs and children could play under his shade, were his big dreams.
When the Papaya asked the birds to make their nest on his twigs, they laughed at him and flew towards the mango trees. They said, “you don’t have any twigs broad enough like the mangoes”. He asked the little squirrels to play and climb on his trunk, but they refused saying, “you are too slippery”. The squirrels ran towards the mango trees. He asked the passersby to rest under his shade, but they ridiculed him and said, “you are bare and there is no shade under you”. They also left for the mango grove to take rest under the mango trees.
The Irritating Donkey
The Donkey was the only visitor who came to meet the Papaya every day. Every afternoon, when the sun came up, the donkey would arrive to scratch his back on the Papaya’s trunk. In return the Donkey brought him nice stories from the grove. His stories were full of laughter and joy which the Papaya enjoyed very much. The stories made the Papaya tolerated the Donkey scratch his back against his trunk.
The Big Decision
One day Papaya took a big decision. He thought when the rain will come and the Farm will get flooded, he will leave his place and go to the mango grove. This will end all his misery and loneliness. He decided he will leave his lonely spot forever and have a happy life among his mango friends, birds and so many other beings who came in the grove. The Papaya eagerly waited for the rain.
His wait was not very long. Soon the monsoon arrived. The sky was covered with black clouds. It filled the Papaya’s heart with excitement and joy. In the afternoon when the Donkey came, Papaya told him of his plans. The Donkey became sad to know that his friend, Papaya, was leaving for the grove. The Papaya was the only friend the Donkey had. There was no one who liked his stories like the Papaya. No one tolerated when he scratched his back against them. The Papaya was so engrossed in his own thoughts that he did not see the tears in the eyes of the Donkey.
The Journey to the Grove
Finally, the rain started, Papaya became very excited. The rain poured and poured. It rained continuously for 2 days. The rainwater flooded the entire area. So much, that no one could tell the mango grove from the Farm.
The Papaya knew this was the right time. His roots were not very deep. After the rain, the soil was soft under his trunk. The Papaya was waiting for this moment. He pulled the roots from the soil. Slowly and gently, when all his roots were out, he started towards the grove. He walked some distance and then sailed in the flood water.
He reached the grove sometime in the middle of the night. Once at the grove, the Papaya searched for a nice place between the mango trees. Slowly, he pushed his roots in the soft soil and stood straight in the middle of the mango grove. The Papaya was very happy that at last his dream had come true. He would no longer feel lonely as there were so many trees around him now.
Next morning as the rain stopped and the birds started chirping, the mango trees saw a papaya tree among themselves. They were no surprises as there was a heavy rain last night and it might have uprooted and sailed inside the grove, they thought. The Mango trees were excited and did not initiate any conversation with the papaya tree. It came as a surprise to the poor Papaya, and he was taken aback that no one was even greeting him, let alone speaking to him.
As the day passed, the papaya tree became more anxious and sad. For a long time, he had been dreaming of the mango grove where he would laugh and sing with the mango trees. But now when finally he had made it to the grove after so much of patience and hard work, the mango trees were not even interested in talking to him forget about making friends with him.
Days went by and the birds still did not sit on his twigs, the squirrels still did not climb up his trunk, passersby still did not rest under his shade. They all preferred the mango trees.
A few more days passed but nothing changed for the papaya tree. During the day Papaya kept looking at the mango trees enjoying and laughing among themselves, birds and squirrels playing on their branches, passersby and children playing under their shades. At night he cried silently.
Papaya missed his spot at the end of the Farm. He wished he could go back to his old place. Everyone has a unique place on the farm, the papaya tree had realized now, and everyone has unique friends. He did not feel bad that the birds can’t make nest on his twigs, squirrels can’t climb on his trunk and passersby can’t rest under his shade. But at least the Donkey could scratch his back on his straight trunk. Suddenly he felt needed and useful. The Papaya wished he could go back to his old place. But he had to wait as there was no rain. The soil was hard, and he would not be able to pull out his roots. He could go back only when the rain came and filled the entire area with water, he kept thinking. He waited for the rain.
The Journey Back Home
One night the rain started again. It poured and poured for many days. The rain was so heavy that it flooded the entire area, the farm was under the water, the mango grove was under the water. With all the flooding, no boundary was left between the Farm and the mango grove.
Sometime in the middle of the night, slowly and gently, the Papaya pulled out his roots from the soil. Without making any noise he started his journey towards his spot at the corner of the farm. He firmly moved towards the place he loved now, a place where he will no longer feel sad and lonely, his real home. There were no regrets having Donkey as his friend, as he now knew the true value of friendship. He was not irritated at thee thought of Donkey scratching his back on his trunk. “Oh! the Donkey will be so happy to see me back”, he thought, as he sailed towards the farm.
Soon he reached his spot and pushed his roots in the soil again. The Papaya happily waited for the morning. He was eager to meet the donkey and tell him his story at the mango grove. At last, he had come back to his home and his true friend.