OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — A photo of a tree stump in Oakland has gone viral on social media after a mystery artist evoked a classic children’s tale, “The Giving Tree,” with an inscription from the book on the stump.
It’s all that’s left of this sidewalk tree on an Oakland street near Lake Merritt; a stump carved into a chair that someone has inscribed with a tender message for a world passing by.
The words are taken from author and illustrator Shel Silverstein’s book, ‘The Giving Tree.’
“‘I don’t need very much now,’ said the boy. ‘Just a quiet place to sit and rest,” Lissette Lastra said, reading the quote from the book to her five-year-old son, Oliver.
“The story is about the tree that gives and gives to the boy. He gave him shade, he gave him fruit,” she explained to Oliver.
An unknown artist wrote the last passage of the book the Oakland tree, the climax of the story when all that was left of the tree is a stump and the boy – who is by then an old man — needs a place to rest.
The passage reads, in part, “‘Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.’ And the boy did.”
“We try to raise children who are going to be like that with the world,” said Lastra. “And I think I will go home and read it to him.”
Pictures of the tree are popping up on Reddit and getting thousands of comments.
Adults now revisiting the classic children’s book, with one writing a comment that the story, “always makes me a bit emotional.”
“With that story, he takes and takes and eventually everything he wanted was all gone,” said Oakland resident Eric Kopczick, who stopped as he was passing by the stump.
“As soon as you are a parent, that is inherent,” said Lastra. We give and give and give, but I don’t think we practice that with each other as human beings.”
The tree stump and the unknown artist’s thoughtful inscription is providing both children and adults with a lesson in giving — and kindness — no matter what stage of life they are in.