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“Once, there stood a tree by the road. High… proud… strong. It stood away from everyone, doing neither good nor harm to anyone. It had never loved anyone, nor had it ever flowered. It was dependent on no-one, and no-one was dependent on it. The tree knew how to keep everyone at bay. The forest, the field… and the road with all its travelers. And it had always been like this. “Say, tree… are you alone here?” asked the cat. “Completely alone,” answered the tree indifferently. “And you are not lonely?” “Not lonely at all,” rustled the tree just as indifferently. “And you never experience sadness, fear or loneliness?” “Never” “I don’t wait for anyone. I don’t need anyone.” “Ah…” said the cat, “how I wish to be independent, live alone, and not grieve for anyone.” “Well now,” said the tree with dignity, “this is not too hard to learn.” “Live with me, observe…” “and when you learn, you will leave and be able to live alone.” “Thank you,” said the cat, and she stayed there. “Where are you going?” moaned the tree. “Goodbye! Now I can live alone,” answered the cat. “Don’t go! You have taught me a lot.” “Stay…” And that is the whole story about the tree. Or rather, about the tree and the cat. Because if not for the cat, the tree would not have had a story to tell.”
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— The Tree and the Cat, Written by I. GLEBOVA,