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  • Writer's pictureFolkloristan

On Olives and Figs

In the idyllic landscape of the Swat Valley, where emerald-green hills embrace quaint settlements, the Olive Tree stands as a symbol of sanctity, reigning as a sacred and divine blessing. The significance of as to why is so is shrouded in the mystique of centuries-old traditions.

n a testament to this reverence, the hand of the axe is stayed, and Olive Trees stand sentinel in numerous plantations, both meticulously cultivated and wild, dotting the quaint villages.

The saga extends beyond the realms of the living. A belief, deeply rooted in tradition, whispers that the planting of Olive Trees in burial grounds not only honours the memory of those who have departed but also ushers in a benevolent aura of good fortune.

In a whimsical dance between life and the afterlife, some villages further intertwine their destinies with the wild Olive Trees that thrive in the heart of ancient forests, where cemeteries are built, and gravestones rise amidst patches of these untamed Olive groves.


In Nowshera, the Fig Tree emerges as a celestial gift, bestowed upon the earth as a precious offering from the heavens. To lay an axe upon its sacred trunk is not merely a transgression but a sin. In the realm of legends, whispers weave tales of an elusive flower, a botanical marvel that graces only the exceptionally fortunate, promising boundless wealth to those bestowed with the rare vision to find it.

Folklore also reveals an intriguing guardian of these majestic fig trees—the serpent. Not just shaded by broad leaves but also protected by slithering custodians, children are cautioned against climbing the fig tree, for it is said to risk offence to the slitherines that dwell among its branches.

Whilst the memory of villagers spending the night under fig trees, hoping to find a flower is now fading, it is one to remember, for here's what's funny: Fig Trees don't have any visible flowers! Figs are pollinated by wasps, inside the fruit. As for the snakes, they are likely to hide in trees to shelter from the scorching summer heat in Pakistan's plains.

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