Guide to Moral Living in Examples: Maple Syrup

Hyacinth drilled into the maple tree and tapped a spile into the fresh hole. She hung a bucket from the spile, covered up the bucket so that rain wouldn't dilute the sap. While Hyacinth gathered her things, the maple reached down with a limb, creaking like old floorboards as it went, pulled spile out, and jammed it into Hyacinth's back.

"Oww," Hyacinth said, standing bolt upright. The spile didn't break the skin, since trees have very little upper body strength, but it still hurt. The bucket banging into her back didn't feel very pleasant, either.

"That hurts, you stupid tree," Hyacinth said, feeling where it had hit.

The maple stuck a branch into the sap hole.

"You think that'll work?"

Another set of branches came from above and snatched her drill and hammer. The tree dangled them overhead, just out of reach.

"Give 'em back. All I want is a little sap. If you don't drop them right now, I'll go get the chainsaw."

The tree lowered the tools. When Hyacinth reached upward, it yanked them out of reach.

"I'm not even kidding!"

The tree lowered them again. This time, she sprang upwards but the tree jolted upwards with surprising speed. Hyacinth vowed to throw away her cat toys when she got back to her house.

"This is your last warning before I get the saw."

The tools came down. Hyacinth didn't move. The tree lowered them further.

She lashed out with a long hook that caught the branch is it jolted upwards and with a grip that came from years of hauling sap buckets and climbing trees for fun, she was lifted with the tool. The branches rose, and then stopped. Hyacinth, however, did not, and rocketed straight up into the boughs of the tree.

Snap, snap, snap, they went against her head, until she crashed into a particularly heavy branch and bounced back towards earth, dazed and disoriented.

The tree boughs caught her and deposited her on the ground.

Branches brought the drill around and pointed to another part of the tree.


The tree tapped the drill against the bark.

"You want me to drill there?"

The branches repeated the motion.

Hyacinth stood up and went to drill there. The branches brought the bucket beneath the drill.

"I won't need that until I put the oh dear," she said. Sap began to flow out of the side like a spigot, even without a stile.

The branches relaxed like a great itch had been scratched, and fell still once again.

Nobody at the sugar house believed Hyacinth, and the tree never acted that way towards anybody else. But each year when it came time to tap the tree, she'd hand the drill to that maple and let it choose the spot where the sap would flow.

The Moral: pet trees can be pretty sweet.

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