In the depths of the forest lives the tallest of all trees. Its thick, leafy branches extend across the blue sky and provide us with oxygen to breathe. The trunks are quite wide and many of these magnificent and giant trees have been part of the forest for hundreds of years.
These majestic trees are known as the Mafumeira and there are many stories that claim that the Mafumeira has a spirit that protects the forest. One of these stories was told by an old man named Adam. One day, a long, long time ago, Adam and two young friends decided that they would earn their money by cutting trees in the forest and selling the wood to local farmers and builders.
The three friends built a small hut in the forest and one morning they went out to cut their first tree. A tree provided enough wood to live comfortably for the rest of the month. The farmers were satisfied and the builders were satisfied. And for each tree they sent down, the three friends planted two shoots that one day would grow and become a majestic Mafumeira.
“This is how we keep the forest healthy and happy,” said Adam with a smile whenever he planted a sprout in the earth. – If we take care of the forest, the forest will take care of us. Adam and his friends were happy in the forest. They loved their little cabin and enjoyed their work. They only cut one Mafumeira a month and always insisted on planting shoots to show respect for the forest. It was then that, without Adam realizing, things started to change.
Adam’s friends began to look at trees differently. One of them asked: Why do we cut only one tree a month when we could cut much more? Adam was very distressed to hear his friends talking in that way because he respected the forest and did not want to cut more trees than were necessary. But he was unable to convince friends who saved money and bought a large tractor and more cutting equipment.
They set off towards the forest with their new equipment and started cutting trees, one after the other. The imposing trunks fell to the ground one after the other and, as the forest was flooded with sounds of shock and lamentation from the Mafumeira trees, Adam’s heart was filled with sadness. What are you doing, my friends? He asked. – We cannot disrespect the forest in this way.
But the two friends would not listen to him; instead, they continued to slaughter them, strip them, and load them onto the tractor, one after the other. They could only think about money; they no longer cared about the forest. The two friends became so adept at cutting down the majestic Mafumeira trees that, in a short time, Adam was no longer able to replace the felled trees with enough shoots. He knew that what his friends were doing was wrong but he could not get them to stop, as they were blinded by greed.
He was sure that he was walking alone in his objective to prevent the forest from being disrespected and was rapidly losing heart. But he was not alone. The spirit of Mafumeira was watching and listening, and he was very angry that they were cutting down the trees so disrespectfully.
That night, while Adam was lying and awake in his bed, in the small hut, he heard the noise of the majestic trees fanning in the forest and was sure that he felt a strange presence. In the breeze, I could decipher words whispered in the night. «You will not treat the forest like that. You will not go unpunished. I am the spirit of Mafumeira and I am here to protect and preserve trees and animals.
The next day things did not go as planned for Adam’s friends. They both woke up with a terrible stomach ache and nothing they did seemed to ease the pain. But despite all the discomfort, greed pulled them out of bed and made sure that they took the equipment and that they were prepared for the day that awaited them. But, the tractor didn’t start.
“I don’t care about the tractor,” said one. – I’m still going to cut trees today. And I don’t care about the stomach ache,” said the other as he took the ax and prepared to send down the Mafumeira closest to him. Poor Adam begged his friends to stop what they were doing and to spend the day planting shoots in the forest, but none of them listened to him.
As soon as the axes were raised, a strong wind invaded the forest. The Mafumeira trees swayed, creaked and groaned in the wind, and suddenly it started to rain heavily. Wind and rain destroyed the cabin and turned the tractor.
Then one of the friends dropped the ax and made a bad cut on his leg. The wind was blowing stronger and stronger until there was nothing left of the hut except a few loose boards. The tractor was taken by the waters of a river that passed nearby, which climbed the banks, and it was then that the friends of Adam suddenly began to be very afraid.
– We have to get away from here! They shouted. – The forest destroyed all the equipment, we have nothing left! The two friends fled the forest as quickly as possible and never returned. Despite fearing for his life, Adam stayed where he was and let the wind push him and let the rain fall on him, soak his clothes and keep him cold, all hurt and hurt.
“I won’t leave the forest!” He shouted loudly. – I will be here to plant new shoots to replace the trees that my greedy friends sent down! I would do this until I die and nothing will move me! It was then that, suddenly, the wind calmed down and the rain stopped abruptly. The clouds disappeared and the sun started to shine and dried the land.
Adam was grateful and happy with the end of the storm and as soon as he regained his strength and dried his clothes he began to plant shoots in the earth. He worked hard all day and hummed all the time. He planted many shoots and each time he did he prayed that the shoot would grow and become a majestic Mafumeira.
Adam worked in the forest all day and all night, planting shoots until he couldn’t take it anymore with so much tiredness and hunger. He was afraid because he was exhausted and needed to eat and shelter and he remembered with sadness how the cabin had been destroyed by the storm. But when he returned to the clearing, it was with surprise that he found his small hut intact, a fireplace burning, and a modest meal on the table.
Adam knew then that it was the spirit of Mafumeira who had created the storm, just as the hut had returned. The kind man sat down to dinner and looked at the fire with tears in his eyes.«And I will only cut one Mafomeira tree per month, as it is enough.»
And that is exactly what he did. It is said that Adam lived for almost a hundred years and that he breathed his last in the forest. It is said that his spirit joined Mafumeira, like all the others who died in the forest and who help protect the magnificent forest from those who disrespect their trees and animals.
This is the legend of Mafumeira and that is why it is so important to preserve and respect the world’s forests.