The people of the country followed a strange custom. The land close to the boundary was left untouched. Lots of trees and plants grew on that land and it resembled a forest. Nobody was supposed to cut any trees or pluck fruits. All the residents followed there strict rules. The people were only allowed to pick the ripened fruits which fell on the ground. Trees were cut down for their timber only if they died.
Ranga found these rules quite absurd. He always thought why should one wait till the fruit ripened and got rotten. So he stealthily went to the edge of the farm, plucked the fruits and brought them home. One day he needed wood to build his house. He cut down few trees and brought the wood home. Many people saw him bringing the wood and informed the king. The village headman was ordered to bring Ranga to the court. Everyone feared that Ranga would be sent to jail for two to three years.
The Headman and Ranga reached the king’s palace quite early in the morning. There were four other culprits who like Ranga had felled trees in the forest. They too stood waiting at the palace gates. All the village headmen were called inside the palace leaving the sentries with the offenders. Hours rolled by. There was no news from the palace. The day was getting hotter and hotter. The offenders were unable to stand in the heat. Their throats were parched without water to drink. Neither did they have food to eat. The offenders had to suffer till they were ordered to come inside the palace in the evening.
All the five offenders stood in front of the king. They were in a pitiable condition. ‘What happened? Why are you all looking so frail and weak?’ asked the king.
Ranga immediately replied, ‘Your Majesty, we did not drink water since morning. We were standing out in the heat all day. We had no food to eat. That’s why we are looking miserable.’
The king asked, ‘What wrong did you do? ‘We cut down trees, your Majesty,’ said Ranga.
‘Now you know the consequences of cutting down trees. If trees are cut down then everyone will suffer like you all did today. There will be no shade and no food. We made you stand in the sun to make you realize that,’ said the king.
The king continued, ‘Forests grow and expand due to the pollination of seeds, fruits and flowers which fall upon the ground. Seeds help increase the area of the forest. Did you think of where birds will build nests if you cut down the trees? What will they eat? The forest gets its natural fertilizer from the droppings of the birds. You know the punishment for this. You will stand in the sun for one week. You will have to hold seeds and sprinkle them for the birds to eat. So, this is your punishment,’ declared the King and closed the day’s proceedings.

Many areas in our country had a number of ‘sacred gardens’ but now each of them is disappearing slowly.
The present generation finds customs like worshipping and circling around trees like the banyan, neem, Bengal quins, peepal, amla etc. quite absurd.
Such customs signify the respect given to trees, animals and the natural resources. They save them from being destroyed. One can see the trees and animals being venerated even today in many villages. The ‘scared groves belong to such principle’ - these groves are said to be favorites of the gods or abode of village gods. These sentiments retain the sanctity of these places and keep them safe. Nobody goes near the trees in the sacred groves or even tries to harm them since beliefs like one may die coughing blood, one’s family may perish are enough to keep people away from damaging them. These beliefs save the biodiversity present in these ‘sacred groves’ irrespective of the truth factor.