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The Legend of the Rain Tree

Once upon a time, when the world was new, a terrible drought spread through the rainforests of Venezuela and Colombia. Day after day the sun burned its way into the very ground…until all of life was scorched and parched.

During this "Time-of-the-Cloudless-Sky,” a native chieftain called upon his wisest advisor. “Have we offended our rain spirit? He cried. “Are our mouths no so choked with dust that no one hears our pleas?”

The Wise One pit his fingers to his lips, stared at the brutal sun and through cracked lips came his whistler…”Rain Tree.”

Not another word would the Wise One utter, though the chief spent many hours waiting for an explanation

As the weeks passed into months flowers and trees turned brown, then black, and disappeared into the baked clay of their roots. Crops blew into the distant horizon. Animals sought shade refuge in their own shadows, as there was no other. For humans, life itself was at stake, and the only thing they could depend upon was the unrelenting consistency of the sun.

The chief watched this time unfold with increasing desperation. And as he sat, pondering this awful mystery, he noticed a strange sight. Struggling against the heat, a group of strangers was making its way toward him. Crawling, falling, stumbling across the vastness, they at last stood before him.

"Oh, no" thought the chief. "My own tribe is barely alive. Must I now be responsible for complete strangers?”

Finally one of the outsiders spoke. "We do not ask for water, for we know there is none. We ask for a place to rest a few hours before continuing on our journey —and this we ask because there are some very young among us, who must have sleep."

Touched almost to tears, the chief replied, "It has been a long, hard time… and I have forgotten that above all else, hospitality and friendship must come first."

With that, he directed the group to his own lodging—and after making sure that they were as comfortable as circumstances would permit, he slept under the blackened branches of a burned out tree.

Next morning, he awoke, shivering and astounded. For he was lying in a pool of—could it be? No, it couldn't. Yes, it was!—WATER!!!

He looked up, and overhead, was the most magnificently beautiful tree he had ever seen. From its leaves drops of life-giving moisture were still trickling down into the pool below.

And, suddenly, he remembered the words of the Wise On. “Rain Tree!''

But how? Why? What did it mean? He hurried back to his ancient advisor.

The Wise One motioned the chief to sit. And then he said, "My son, the Rain Tree is a gift that could only be received by giving. When you offered complete strangers your hospitality, in spite of the clouds of your desperation, the clouds formed leaves.

“When you reach out your hand in friendship, in spite of your sorrow, your unwept tears became water.

"The black trunk of the Rain 'Tree serves as a constant reminder of the “Time-of-the-Cloudless-Sky," so that man will never forget that which is truly important!"

And so it is — even today.

Unlike other trees that grow together forming forest stands, the Rain Tree grows alone. From Venezuela and Colombia, the Rain Tree was imported to the West Indies. It has pink bottle brush flowers with crimson stamens.

And legend or fact, the natives will still tell you that-"It always rains all night...under the Rain Tree!"

At the Raintree lnn, we believe in legends — and we believe that "hospitality and friendship must come first!"