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The Tale of the

BONSAI

AN ALLEGORY AND INVITATION BY 
 SHALON IRONROAD


• NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR •

A Bonsai tree is a miniature version of a full-sized tree. Most assume that Bonsai trees come from special Bonsai seeds. These tiny trees are actually grown from the exact same seeds as full-sized trees. The single factor that makes them small (or “Bonsai”) is the space their roots are given to grow. Bonsais are grown in small pots or trays, allowing the roots only a small amount of room to expand.


There once was a seed planted in a little pot. Little by little, she grew until her roots reached the sides of her elegant blue and white porcelain container. She was a beautiful little tree. She was a Bonsai. Little Tree would watch the trees outside and wonder how they grew to be so big. They looked like her…just much, much bigger.

She would watch the trees sway in the wind, casting shadows on the ground from their large canopies.

Among the trees was a Gardener. Little Tree watched him as he walked from tree to tree, tending to the needs of each one. The trees loved him so much, and she could tell that he loved them even more. Each time Little Tree watched from the window, Gardener would look up, smile, and wave at her.

Little Tree wanted to know him, but he was so far away! “If only he could come see me,” she thought, as she looked down at the rich wood desk she sat on.

Just then, the door opened, and in walked the Gardener. He smiled gently and Little Tree timidly smiled back. He sat down.

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“So, Little Tree,” he said, “what are you doing in here?”

Little Tree wasn’t sure what he meant.

“I’ve always been here,” she replied. “It’s where I belong…right?”

Gardener smiled and looked out the window.

Little Tree wondered what he was thinking. Gardener stood up and said, “I’ll come see you again tomorrow.” And he walked out the door.

“What am I doing in here?’ Little Tree thought.

She had always thought that she was meant to be a Bonsai.

But Gardener seemed to know something she didn’t. 3


Little Tree thought of the people who would come to see her. They seemed to admire the fact that she was small. In fact, they would sometimes go to great lengths to keep her that way – trimming branches that grew too high, and even using wire to shape her just the way they wanted. She was “perfect” to them, and there were other Bonsais that looked the same.

“If everyone wants me to be this way,” Little Tree wondered, “what did the Gardener mean?”

Morning came, and Little Tree watched as the sun poured around the leaves of the trees outside. She watched the mother birds fly into the nests that were tucked so safely in the branches. She admired the large trees for being able to provide shelter.

“I wonder how those trees got so lucky.” She said aloud.

A voice answered back, “Some of them were just like you.”

Little Tree turned and saw the Gardener. He had returned, just as he promised.

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“But I came from a Bonsai seed.” Little Tree argued, with a bit of sadness in her voice.

“There is no such thing!” Gardener explained. He motioned to the window. “You came from the same seed they did.”

“Then why am I so small?” The puzzled Little Tree asked.

“Only because of your pot.” Gardener replied. “I have to go now, but I will be back again tomorrow.” Smiling, he left the room.

“My pot?” Little Tree was baffled. How could it be so simple?

All her life, she thought she was small because she was created to be that way. She looked at the trees outside and wondered, “Could it be true? Could I really be from the same seed as they are?”

She looked down at her pot. It was so beautiful. It was ordered just for her. She was comfortable in it, and she enjoyed the attention she got when passers by admired it.

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Then her eyes wandered back to the window.

All day, she watched the trees outside and noticed they were not only beautiful and admired – as she was – they were providing goodness and resources to people around them.

There was the apple tree, with its crisp, sweet fruit that would grow soon. Then there was the maple tree with its sprawling branches that created shade and shelter. The oak tree was home to many animals, and the cherry tree (her favorite) had such breathtaking pale pink blossoms, the children outside couldn’t help but climb in her branches.

It seemed that each tree had something different to give.

Little Tree longed to be like them. She knew that she had the power inside to grow. Gardener said so.

“But how?” Little Tree pondered as the sun went down and she fell asleep.

As she slept, Little Tree dreamed of what it would be like to be a full-sized tree.

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Her roots sprawled for what felt like miles, deep into the earth.

Her branches reached upward, bringing the eyes of all who saw her to look toward heaven.

Little Tree felt the warmth of the sun on her leaves and she knew this was what she wanted. But the reality of her current size crept back in, and she doubted she would ever have the chance.

When she woke, Gardener was sitting there, with his warm, loving smile.

Tears came to Little Tree’s eyes as she pled, “please, tell me how I can grow to be my full size. I have lived my whole life as a Bonsai. Is it too late?”

Little Tree saw light in Gardener’s eyes as he answered, “It is never too late.”

“But…how?” She implored. 7


“With my help.” He said softly.

“You see,” he continued, “you came from a good seed. Your roots simply don’t have the room they need to grow. If you give your roots the chance, you will grow to your full size.”

Little Tree lit up. She wanted so badly to be a full-sized tree, and knowing that it was possible was very exciting to her.

But then she paused. She looked at the other Bonsai trees and wondered what they would think. Would they mock her for trying to be like the full-sized trees? And what if she failed??

Seeing her concerned expression, Gardener picked her up.

“Little Tree,” he said, “this is not going to be easy. Other Bonsais may mock you, and the wind will try to tear you down. But all of this will make you stronger. Trust me, and I will help you grow.”

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Little Tree looked at her beautiful, comfortable pot once more. She glanced at the other Bonsais and watched the people who gave her so much praise and attention. Could she really do this? Did Gardener really know what she needed?

She glanced at the large trees outside, took a deep breath, and looked at Gardener.

“I trust that you know what I need. I know it will not be easy, but I know that – with your help – I have the ability to bring so much more to people around me. With your help, I will be strong enough to grow.”

Gardener smiled, lifted Little Tree out of her pot, and walked out into the sunshine.

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If you connected with Little Tree and feel that there are areas in your life that are “Bonsai’d”, come join us in our journey to “re-plant” at www.nonbonsai.com

© 2012 Shalon Ironroad, all rights reserved. You have permission to share or quote this material, as long as you include the author’s name and website. 
 Changes or alterations to this publication are prohibited. 
 Please do not print without author’s written consent. x


You are a daughter of God. No one -- yourself included -- should treat you as anything less. People will try to tell you that you can't. Ignore them. People will try to stop you from doing great things. Don't let them. People will tell you that you're not pretty enough, not smart enough, not experienced enough, not creative enough. They are wrong. You are a daughter of God. That is more than enough. Take your divinity and create your own pocket of light in this increasingly dark world. You have special talents and gifts that are uniquely yours. Discover them. Grow them. Share them. People -- especially the ones who tell you that you can't -- need you. Help them. -Shalon Ironroad, NonBonsai.com

The Tale of the Bonsai  

Inspirational story about finding happiness, meaning, and purpose.

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