Where's the enemy?
The animals that used to visit the magnificent tree were asked if they had any idea what was going on. Some, deeply puzzled, answered:
"I don't know what is going on. Not even in years of drought has the Great Tree stopped being greenish."
"It must be that its time has passed. It is already in the heaven of plants."
"Don't ask us. Ask the newcomers, we don't know their ways."
A great debate then broke out among the animals. The new ones and the old ones. All tried to solve the mystery of the tree, but none was certain.
Finally, the new faces were asked.
"No. Not us. We're just passing through."
"We dig the earth, not the trees."
"We just got here this morning. Mmm, that's a hit tasty mango. Wouldn't you like some, buddies?"
None of the new visitors seemed to have hurt the Great Tree.
The tree, amidst all the talk and tension, became even more saddened and several of its branches fell like rhinoceroses to the leaf litter. Such a spectacle caused some to run screaming like madmen; others to embrace each other while sobbing.
In the midst of the commotion, one of the spider monkeys spotted a large yellow animal from the top of the tree. An animal that, although far away, made more noise than an enraged elephant. A quick monkey sounded the alert and then the giant tortoise exclaimed:
Many birds immediately flew away. Rodents and small reptiles escaped just the same. But the large mammals decided to stay and face what was left of the tree.
The giant tortoise, who had already outlived them all, asked:
"Don't you know that this tree is only the survivor of a forest that humans themselves destroyed?"
"We don't care."
"We will defend it at all costs."
"There are hundreds of us. He is only one."
And with similar phrases the defending animals took courage.
The tortoise turned around and in half an hour the yellow animal that was tearing up the ground and deafening the sky was as big as the tree itself. But as lions, elephants and rhinos were about to act as the first line of defense, all were shocked to see how the human driver continued on as if the great tree nor any of them existed.
This fact was celebrated, but no solution to the problem was found afterwards. A few days passed and the remaining animals had no choice but to say their last goodbye to the Great Tree. With tears in her eyes and legs placed on her chest, the chief of the hissing cockroaches said:
"Farewell, home of all!"
The sun that day seemed more merciless than ever. The sand blew, punishing the forced passage of the helpless animals. Thirst and hunger increased unceasingly. At one point in the journey, a baby elephant fell half fainted and its anguished mother quickly sought to lift it up with her powerful trunk. The animals passed by her and she noticed that the hissing cockroaches were nowhere to be seen. She alerted everyone to this and soon they decided to send a hawk to check the area.
The hawk searched around and found that the Great Tree was covered with lively cockroaches that agitatedly lifted leaves and fruits that the tree once bore. This was a sight of horror to the hawk. He almost exploded with helplessness, but flew back to warn everyone, instead of eating the dastardly cockroaches one by one.
A few miles away, the hawk spotted the group of animals. But he was surprised when he saw that they were all still. Still around the yellow animal.
He hastened his flight, foreseeing the worst. To his surprise, the hawk found the animals listening very attentively to the human. He was telling them that he was not coming to destroy trees. Instead, with his vehicle he intended to disinfect the area of the dangerous hissing cockroaches. His mission was to protect the Great Tree, which was Heritage of the Earth. The only one left. Then, the human emphasized:
"This is not the first time they have done this. They have been attacking for millions of years, according to findings. They intend to take over the world and there has been no one to tell them off or stop them because the other animals lose their livelihood trees like you and die."
The mother elephant from before asked indignantly:
"And you humans who attack everything, why haven't you attacked and disappeared them?"
"Simply because they are too slippery and resistant", answered the human.
The hawk landed on the back of a buffalo and told what he had seen. Everyone was petrified at the confirmation of the betrayal. Then the hawk flew back over the herd and circled in search of the giant tortoise. When he spotted it, he swooped down like a flash and asked him:
"You who know everything, why didn't you warn us the hissing cockroaches were of this ilk?"
The old reptile answered calmly:
"I would never think so of the oldest visitors to the Great Tree. Compared to them, I know nothing."
Then the human warned:
"They must disappear before they disappear us."
With the remaining energies of all the animals, there was a counterattack. Primates and birds went for the cockroaches celebrating above among grayish branches, and elephants, rhinoceroses and buffaloes for those lying below around the trunk in a shattering stampede.
When some of the cockroaches thought they could escape by hiding underground, the moles surprised them. One after another.
Finally, the animals of the great tree celebrated this triumph and the human collaborated to water the Heritage of the Earth. This mega-survivor regained its colors and flavors in the following days since everyone loved it.
It seemed to attract to itself the freshest winds and, as if that were not enough, its shade sheltered even the most respectful creatures ever seen.