Once there was a beautiful magic forest where sparkling streams flowed under the hanging leaves of willow trees. In this forest, many types of animals lived in harmonious abundance. Vibrantly colored birds flitted about singing jubilant songs while gentle deer grazed peacefully in the meadows, and fragile butterflies floated on the wind. The magic of the forest was that violence and hatred had never touched it. It was a magic as pure and innocent as freshly fallen snow.
One day a travelling man entered the forest in search of gold. He came to a clear, serene lake at the forest’s heart, where he splashed his face with its cool water. Across the lake, on a bank of soft, green grass, grew a magic flower with delicate, luscious petals of pure gold. Legend was, that any man who should come across the flower, and, captivated by her beauty, should pluck her for his own, would plunge the magic forest into darkness forever.
When the man caught sight of the flower, he was enraptured with her golden petals and in his eagerness, flung himself into the lake and swam across it, sending great ripples of distress through its calm waters. He pulled himself onto the bank and grasped for the flower, desiring to feel the power of holding her glory in his own two hands.
Suddenly, a stern black crow landed between the man and the flower and spoke.
“Do not touch this flower,” the crow warned, “Her magic is strong, for it is the power of goodness, and it brings life to all this forest. However, her body is fragile, and if you pluck her from the ground, she will die, and her vital magic shall be drained out of this forest forever.”
The man was unaffected by the crow’s message, for he was selfish and greedy. Drunk with lust and feeling entitled to all the flower’s golden splendor, the man ripped her roots from the ground and crushed her frail stem in his merciless grasp. The flower drooped, and her golden petals wilted and turned a sickly, dull brown.
The sky darkened and deathly silence descended on the forest as every last creature weakened and died. The willow trees lost their leaves and became skeletons of branches, and the lake and sparkling streams ran dry as bone. The birds’ joyous song no longer echoed through the breeze, and in its place a hollow emptiness pervaded everything that was once good and pure.
“Look at what you have done. The forest’s magic is now forever lost,” the weight of the crow’s words hung over the now-barren landscape, but failed to touch the man’s cold heart.
“The flower is to blame!” the man shouted in his rage, ‘She tempted me with her golden beauty!”
“Beauty is to be admired, not exploited,” said the crow severely, “You held a clean soul in dirty hands. You selfishly took that which was not given to you willingly. This flower did not ask to die. Her pure light burned with goodness and love, and so will you burn in your hatred and greed.”
The dead remains of the magic flower suddenly caught fire in the man’s hands, and he cried out in agony as the flames engulfed him. Swallowed up in the fire of his own terrible wrongdoing, the man burned to death still feeling no remorse for what he had done. At last, like the magic forest, the man was reduced to ash and nothingness.