I bought a field in Kriti where grew an olive tree,
I watered it and pruned it with assiduity,
Until I found I owned the ground
But did not own the tree.
So I bought the tree, for weeks I thought
The haggling would not stop.
Now I can pick my olives, and start a little shop.
Oh No, they cried, you bought the tree but not the olive crop.
At least I can sit under it, a little seat I made,
Where I could smoke a cigarette and drink some lemonade;
But no, although the tree was mine
I did not own the shade.
In my despair, I cut it down, if not for shade or food,
It might provide a cheerful fire
If that was all it could . . .
Alas, although I had the tree, I did not own the wood.
Anon, as far as I know.
An Olive Tree
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