Talking tree

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Talking tree
Iskandar (Alexander the Great) at the Talking Tree.jpg
Alexander the Great (Iskandar) at the Talking Tree.
Grouping Legendary creature
Similar creatures Dryad
Country Greece
Region Europe

Talking trees are a form of sapient trees in mythologies and stories, most famously known as the Ents in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth stories.

According to Greek mythology, all the trees in the Dodona (northwestern Greece, Epirus) grove (the forest beside the sanctuary of Zeus) became endowed with the gift of prophecy, and the oaks not only spoke and delivered oracles while in a living state, when built into the ship Argo the wood spoke and warned of approaching calamities.[1]

The rustling of the leaves on an Oak tree was regarded as the voice of Zeus.[2]

Examples[edit]

Tree with what resembles a face and mouth.
  • The Indian Tree of the Sun and the Moon: Told the future. Two parts of the tree trunk spoke depending on the time of day; in the daytime the tree spoke as a male and at night it spoke as a female. Marco Polo is said to have visited this tree.[4]
  • The weeping Date palm tree: The Prophet Muhammad, when delivering his sermons used to stand by or lean on a date palm tree. When a pulpit was built elsewhere and Muhammad started to give his sermon from the pulpit, the tree began to cry like a child. Muhammad then descended from his pulpit and consoled the tree by embracing it and stroking it. The Prophet said, "It was crying for (missing) what it used to hear of religious knowledge given near to it." This incident is recorded in the authentic Islamic Hadith traditions and is said to have been witnessed by everyone present at the congregation.[5]
  • Oracular Trees are sometimes attributed with the ability to speak to individuals, especially those gifted in divination. In particular, Druids were said to be able to consult Oak trees for divinatory purposes, as were the Streghe with Rowan trees.
  • In the Old English poem Dream of the rood, a tree talks about being cut down and used as the cross on which Christ was crucified.
  • In Ireland, a tree may help a person look for a leprechaun's gold, although it normally does not know where the gold is.
  • The Forest of Fighting Trees in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz reside in Quadling Country. Dorothy Gale, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion had to go through the Forest of Fighting Trees in order to get to Glinda the Good Witch. Tin Man used his axe on the Fighting Trees. In the 1939 film version, apple trees become annoyed with Dorothy when she picks an apple from one of them. The Scarecrow helps by provoking the apple trees into throwing their apples at him, which Dorothy can then collect.
    • In Dorothy of Oz, there are a group of Talking Trees that grow on the banks of the Munchkin River in Gillikin Country and have known Wiser the Owl. Upon the advice of Wiser, Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion had to convince the Talking Trees their to donate their limbs in order to make a boat that can take them to Glinda. The Talking Trees agree to help Dorothy and also help to coordinate the construction of the boat that became Tugg (who then began to speak after Dorothy used paint made from water and berries to make a face for Tugg). Besides taking Dorothy and her friends to Quadling Country, Tugg also traveled the Munchkin River where he would later tell the Talking Trees what he has seen on his journey.
  • The 1986 film Three Amigos features an encounter between the main characters and the Singing Bush.
  • In The Legend of Zelda series, the Great Deku Tree is a massive sentient tree who helps Link in his quests, and also serves as the guardian of the forest/earth.
  • In the Fallout video game series, Harold is a character who has, through viral mutation/radiation poisoning, become symbiotically combined with a tree. Harold is a recurring character in the series, and begins as a mutated human with a small tree growing out of his head, but later resembles a fully grown tree with a wooden human form embedded in it.
  • In Ugly Americans, the Treetures are a species of immobile intelligent trees that each has a very large network of roots under the ground.
  • In the 2012 Odd Future mixtape OF Vol. 2, talking trees are alluded to in songs including Analog 2 and White.
  • In the Saga of Seven Suns written by Kevin J. Anderson, a world-forest known as the Verdani reside on the planet Theroc. These living trees share a joint consciousness and commune with the human inhabitants through the transformation of some humans into "Green Priests".
  • The Yaqui have a legend of a talking tree. The tree told of the Christian God and the priests who would soon arrive to teach the people new beliefs and new ways.[7]
  • Artist Théodore Rousseau (1812-1867) is quoted as saying ""I also heard the voices of the trees … whose passions I uncovered. I wanted to talk with them … and put my finger on the secret of their majesty."[8]

See also[edit]

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