ONCE UPON A TIME there was a kingdom full of rich, beautiful forests and green plains, which was governed by a king that was fair and wise. This king loved trees and nature very much, and enjoyed taking his walk outside and breathing fresh air. One day, however, and as he was taking a walk with his horse, he noticed that the farmers had cut a large number of trees from the borders of the forest so as to add to their fields. He then got very sad, realizing that the forest was in danger and that if they went on, soon very few trees would be left.
So, he put out an order, which he made sure every subject of his kingdom would be informed of, that they should stop cutting trees from their beautiful forest so as to spare it from destruction.
The farmers obeyed the order, however, one cunning farmer who wanted to add more to his field was found, who thought of the following trick: every night, and after the sun had set, he took an axe and only cut one tree so as to go unnoticed, not close to his field but deep in the forest where a clearing was to be found. He then took the trunk with him, cut it into pieces and threw them in the fireplace. A couple of days later, the trees in the clearing had gotten so sparse that only roots where to be found in their place, as well as a few branches. “Little by little, nobody will take notice of me”, he thought and then planted cabbage seeds so as to harvest them in a few months.
When one day the King saw clearing that was filled with cabbages and realized that his orders had been disobeyed, he got furious. So, he promised that whoever caught the trespasser and saved the forest would be given a thousand gold pieces as a reward.
A clever hunter then appeared, who had seen the farmer cutting trees but had little proof, as his face was barely visible in the night. So, the last night before the cabbages were ready to be picked, the hunter threw magic nettle seeds on the ground, which grew into stinging nettles within a matter of minutes. After planting them, he hid in a corner and patiently waited for the farmer to show up.
Just a few minutes before sunrise he appeared to harvest the cabbages, but as it was still dark, he took no notice of the nettles. As they started stinging him, he initially felt a slight itching. Soon enough, however, and with each new sting, he felt an irresistible urge to scratch. He felt itching all over his body, but the more he scratched, the more he scarred his skin until he was full of red spots all over. In the end, he started screaming with pain and running to the village to get help.
The hunter then came out of his hideout and arrested him just before he reached the doctor. When he presented him before the King, the farmer admitted his misdeed. The King allowed the doctor to heal him, yet forced him to make up for what he had done by planting a hundred small trees in the clearing the next day, and to water them until they became strong, tall trees.
And so the hunter took his reward, and the cunning farmer his lesson. Since that time, there has never been a subject of the Kingdom to hurt a tree from the forest again. Quite the contrary, they took pride in the beauty of their forest and thanked their King for the fresh air they breathed.