In great writing that has inspired many to help keep Earth green with trees, some see only the opportunity to acquire more 'green' (money) for themselves.

The US copyrights of The Man Who Planted Trees, by Jean Giono, have unfortunately come under the control of a publisher who feels that "If works are worth reading/using etc. they should be paid for." [But see below for links to off-site copies of Giono's uplifting tale.]

It is sad that in this case it seems that greedy people have trumped Giono's desire to leave this wonderful story as a FREE gift to the world. That this was the author's wish is supported by the following excerpt from a text by Professor Norma L. Goodrich:


Giono ran into difficulties with the American editors who in 1953 asked him to write a few pages about an unforgettable character. Apparently the publishers required a story about an actual unforgettable character, while Giono chose to write some pages about that character which to him would be most unforgettable. When what he wrote met with the objection that no "Bouffier" had died in the shelter at Banon, a tiny mountain hamlet, Giono donated his pages to all and sundry. Not long after the story was rejected, it was accepted by Vogue and published in March 1954 as "The Man Who Planted Hope and Grew Happiness." Giono later wrote an American admirer of the tale that his purpose in creating Bouffier "was to make people love the tree, or more precisely, to make them love planting trees."

Giono interpreted the "character," as an individually unforgettable if unselfish, generous beyond measure, leaving on earth its mark without thought of reward. Giono believed he left his mark on earth when he wrote Elzeard Bouffier's story because he gave it away for the good of others, heedless of payment: "It is one of my stories of which I am the proudest. It does not bring me in one single penny and that is why it has accomplished what it was written for."

Norma L. Goodrich (Professor Emeritus of French and Comparative Literature at the Claremont Colleges)


The above was printed in the 'afterword' of the nicely illustrated (with woodcuts, by Michael McCurdy) edition of this story, which was first published by Chelsea Green in the mid 1980s. Chelsea Green still offers this book and can be found by following the hyperlink. These people ARE NOT the publishers who are trying to remove free Internet access to this story.

The publishers who are apparently far more interested in artificial greenery than trees offer The Man Who Planted Trees with illustrations from an animated movie, which was produced in Canada.

Fortunately Jean Giono's story is still present on the web in locations that I hope are beyond the reach of these people, whose behavior seems to be the antithesis of Giono's giving character, Elezeard Bouffier. Also good to learn is that planting trees does really work in the way Giono suggested.

bobk 04/21/99

Trees for the Future