The parable of the trees

Once there were two people living in a primeval forest. They were innocent, and had no notion of laws or property. Now, Adam liked apples, but they were hard to find in the forest. One day he invented the idea of farming. He realized: if I cut down some of the trees, that will create a clearing. Then I can plant an apple tree there, and then eventually it will grow and produce apples. So, he chopped down some trees (luckily he had an axe handy), planted some apple seeds, and went on his way.

Eve came along. Eve did not particularly like apples. She thought: how lucky to find this nice clearing, but how unfortunate that there are apple trees growing here, and not yummy plums! Then she had a flash of creativity, and invented the idea of farming. She thought: if I tear out these apple trees, then I can plant some plum trees, and then eventually they will grow and produce plums. So she did, and proceeded on her way.

Later on, Adam returned to the clearing. Seeing the plum trees, he was puzzled. I know I planted apples, he thought. Hmm, that's odd. He tore up the plum trees, and planted apples.

Later on, Eve returned to the clearing. Seeing the apple trees, she was perplexed. I know I planted plum, she thought. Oh well, whatever. She tore up the apple trees, and planted plums.

The next spring, Adam returned to the clearing. Seeing the plum trees, he got a little angry. Someone else is tearing up the apple trees! This time I'll hang out here so I can guard the trees. So he pulled up the plums and planted more apples, and he made his camp there.

A couple days later, Eve came to the clearing. She said to Adam: what have you done to the lovely plum trees I planted here? He said, I tore them up. I like apples. Well, she said, I like plums. So she tore up his apple trees. He tried to stop her, but being innocent he could not force her to stop, and she darted around him to get the trees. He said, If you plant plums, I'll tear them up. Well if you plant apples, I'll tear them up, she shot back. They glared at each other.

Then she had an idea. She said to him, how about we both plant trees? I'll plant a plum tree over here, and you plant an apple tree over there? (Eve was known for uptalking even then.) Adam said OK, so they both planted a tree.

Later that week, Eve returned to the clearing and pulled up the apple tree, and planted a plum tree. After all, she didn't like apples.

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