All of a sudden the Lone Tree bursts into flames. A golden hue flickers all around. A gentle whistle breaks the stillness of the night.
The others, alarmed, roused from their sleep, crowd around for a better look.
There is no sign of a fire nearby, the dampness would not allow one to be lit.
They watch, fascinated. A tree is on fire right before their eyes – yet its leaves on which the hungry flames lick are still green, its trunk is still healthy and young. It is in no pain, in fact its eyes glow with suppressed ecstasy.
One of them cautiously leans forward, curious and frightened, reaches out to touch the fire and pulls back with a gasp. The others cower in fear. The flame that caressed the edge of its branch was warm, but not enough to singe.
They gape at the Lone Tree. Join me, it seems to be saying.
They do nothing but stare. Some of them step back at the invitation. What they don’t understand scares them.
“Join me,” the tree says, “Experience the Joys of Self-immolation.”