Once upon a time, as happens to all beings, the King of the Tree Spirits died. King Sakka, ruler of the Heaven of 33, appointed a new King of the Tree Spirits. As his first official act, the new king sent out a proclamation that every tree spirit should choose a tree to live in. Likewise it was stated that every tree was to be pleased with its resident spirit.

There just so happened to be a very wise tree spirit who was the leader of a large clan. He advised his clan members not to live in freestanding trees. Instead it would be safer to live in the forest trees near him. The wise tree spirits settled down in the forest trees with their leader.

But there were also some foolish and arrogant tree spirits. They said to each other,

Arrogant Tree Spirits: “Why should we live in this crowd? Let us go to the villages, towns and cities inhabited by human beings. Tree spirits who live there receive the best offerings. And they are even worshipped by the superstitious people living in those places. What a life we will have!”

So they went to the villages, towns and cities, and moved into the big freestanding trees, looked after by people. Then one day a big storm came up. The wind blew strong and hard. The big heavy trees with old stiff branches did not do well in the storm. Branches fell down, trunks broke in two, and some were even uprooted. But the trees in the forest, which were intertwined with each other, were able to bend and support each other in the mighty wind. They did not break or fall!

The tree spirits in the villages, towns and cities had their tree homes destroyed. They gathered up their children and returned to the forest. They, complained to the wise leader about their misfortune in the big lonely trees in the land of men.

Wise Tree Spirit: “This is what happens to arrogant ones who ignore wise advice and go off by themselves.”