The Man Who Planted Trees
Jean Giono’s beautiful allegorical tale is legendary. Written in the 1950s, its message was ahead of its time, inspiring readers to rediscover the harmonies of the countryside and prevent its wilful destruction.
The narrator, journeying by foot across the barren plains of the lower Alps, has his thirst assuaged by the well water drawn by the shepherd Elzeard Bouffier. Here begins the subtle parable which Giono weaves of the life-giving shepherd who chooses to live alone and carry out the work of God. Over forty years the desolate hills and lifeless villages which so oppressed the traveller are transformed by the dedication of one man. All with the help of a few acorns.
Giono’s hope was to set in motion a worldwide reforestation programme that would rejuvenate the earth. The Man who Planted Trees is a hymn to creation and a purveyor of confidence in man’s ability to change his – indeed the world’s – lot.
“In Giono’s work what every sensitive, full-blooded individual ought to be able to recognize at once is ‘the song of the world.'”Henry Miller