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Misleading Motives: The Money Tree's Secrets


by mike2003ekim

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Everyone in Neopia has at one point heard of a magical tree that leaves donations of Neopoints or items under its branches, allowing the poorest of Neopians a second chance. No one ever doubts the generosity of such an entity: then again, who would? Sometimes, the lucky Neopians can even get 100 or more Neopoints, or some good items.

The Money Tree is one of Neopia's most well known inhabitants, along with others like Coltzan, Taelia, Tiki Tack Man or even Queen Fyora. He sits right in the middle of Neopia Central, beside the Rainbow Pool, the Kadoatery and the Auction House. There are two different Money Tree stamps (regular and deluxe), as well as a collectable card (highly sought after at the Wishing Well, and often rewarded) and a book (Secrets of the Money Tree). There is even a Neopedia article dedicated to the Tree's "generosity". I'm sure that you could find some other homage to the Tree, such as a guild dedicated to it.

With all of this generosity and fame, how could anyone ask the question, "Is the Money Tree evil?"

I suppose I'll have to tell you, then.

There are quite a few reasons why the Money Tree can be viewed as "evil". First, let's look at a definition of evil, care of Webster's dictionary:

Evil

e-vil

1. a: morally reprehensible; sinful, wicked (an evil impulse)

b: arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct (a man of evil reputation)

From this definition we can begin our review of the Money Tree's stance on good or evil. We'll begin by creating a list of the Tree's evil tendencies, and evaluating each.

1. Money Tree Ghosts

The TCG card "Money Tree Ghosts" gives the caption, "They rob from the rich and give to the... erm... Money Tree." The link given from the Money Tree page labelled "wandering ghosts" leads directly to the Gallery of Evil. Hmm...

How many times have you been ambushed by a ghost who takes 100 or so Neopoints from you? It is one of the more common random events, and has happened to me at least two or three times a week for quite some time. But is all of it donated to the Tree? Possibly... But, as the TCG card seems to imply foul play, I highly doubt that it is.

Nevertheless, whether it's spent or given away, the Neopoints under the Tree are clearly STOLEN rather than donated. What does stealing usually result in? Dire consequences. I ask you now, why are Neopians punished for stealing, while this Tree flagrantly gloats about his "special privileges"?

2. The so-called "Spoils" under the Tree

Whenever you visit the Money Tree at any given time, what do you think you will find? If you answered "Sand, Sludge, and an assortment of other JUNK", you're correct. 95% of the items "donated" to the Tree are junk. They're Bottles of Sand, Omelettes, cheap Spooky Food... Donations tend to be the things that experienced, weathered Neopians have no need of. When was the last time you saw a Hidden Tower item budding from the branches of the Money Tree?

The rest of the items that are donated will cause an insane amount of conflict as hundreds of Neopians jump for that... 300 Neopoints? Bones will be broken as thousands of new players fight for... a Blue Flotsam Plushie? And hundreds of thousands of bruises will result in the scramble for the grand prize of... a Negg?

While injuries commence, the Money Tree grins evilly in the background, dangling another piece of violence-inducing merchandise over the heads of Neopians...

3. Giveaways

Every so often, there are a few Neopian citizens who decide to put a number of items under the Money Tree. Why does this show the Money Tree is evil? It wouldn't normally, except that the ones who donate are Balthazar and Health Frog.

Let's start with Balthazar. Where can you find the Lupe? The Gallery of Evil. Balthazar is an evil entity, making it seem odd that the Money Tree would side with him. Having such connections raises suspicions about the Tree's motives. But the Tree does not stop at just an alliance with Balthazar... He allows horrid items to be placed beneath his branches! All of those helpless Faeries, which Balthazar captured and jarred (effectively ending their freedom), are accepted by the Tree and given away to Neopians.

Now the Health Frog. Neopets generally prefer ice cream, chocolate and candy to radishes and carrots. However, the Health Frog pushes health food on Neopets anyway, against their free will. The Money Tree at one point saw that pets hated health food, so he asked Health Frog to join him in tormenting the lives of Neopians. Health Frog gladly took the opportunity, loving the free advertisement to his shop.

4. Living Trees

When you look around Neopia, how many trees can you spot that can talk to you? I may have counted wrong, but I get 2: the Money Tree and the Brain Tree. They seem to be cousins or something.

The Brain Tree is quite clearly evil. If you have it, check Defenders of Neopia Mission 5 for details about his evilness. The Brain Tree lives in the Haunted Woods offering quests to Neopians who will help him out. He'll reward you if you tell him when and where someone died. Who is his greatest friend? The Esophagor. Their quests go hand in hand (but that's another story). The Esophagor is quite clearly evil. He is one of the bosses for Neoquest II in the Haunted Woods. In fact, he is the main boss who orchestrated the bad stuff happening in that level.

Even if they aren't in some way related (which I doubt...) the Brain Tree and the Money Tree have a lot of similarities. Aside from the fact that they're both trees, anyway. They both have dangerously evil friends, and they both offer Neopians some sort of prize at a cost. The Brain Tree may be the lesser of two evils though: he wants historical information. The Money Tree wants you to be, well, hurt.

Now that I have made my point and presented 4 arguments all leading inevitably towards the Money Tree being evil, it is time for you to make the choice yourself. Do you see the Tree as being a "good guy", helping out the poor Neopians, or do you see him as a "bad guy", doing everything he can to torment pets that come anywhere near?

Perhaps we will soon see the Money Tree making an appearance in the Gallery of Evil, next to his friend Balthazar.

 
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