Translation:The High Mountains/36

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The Stripped Pine

The forest ranger arrived in the evening.

His first task was to go down to the place Costas had shown him. The children followed him. For the first time they saw a stripped pine tree.

A notch went from the middle of the trunk down to the roots. It was like an open wound, the biggest wound that you could have imagined; it would never heal. And if it had wanted to close over, other axe blows would have kept it open.

They had almost denuded several pines. They had left very little bark on the trunk. They were like suspended carcasses. From these abrasions ran white resin. The resin followed a notch and dripped into an expressly hollowed-out bowl in the ground between the pine roots.

All of this massacre for the resin, for the few drachmas that the Yeusois would put into their haversack if they sold it.

The stripped pines die in a short time. They're blown down by the first gust of wind or they dry up because they have no more sap.

They understand their end is near, but nevertheless they sing; they sway and rustle like the others, the healthy pines.

With the piece of trunk which is left they drink in from the ground as much sap as they still can. They become green, have a shadow.

Even so vandalised they can refresh passers-by. Their nature is to do good, that doesn't change.

Oh Trees, so beautiful and proud!.