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The Fir Tree

The Fir Tree

The Fir Tree

Far in the deep woods there once grew a pretty Fir Tree. It was a bright place. The sun shone on the tree, the breeze kissed it and near it grew other fir trees, some young, some old.

But the little Fir Tree was not happy. He did not care for wind or sun. He wanted to be tall! He thought of it all the time. When the boys and girls sat neath his shade and said, ''What a dear little tree!" he was much vexed.

Year by year the Tree grew. A long shoot was sent out each year and by that you could tell how old the Tree was.

“I want to be tall!” he cried. “I want to be tall! Then the birds will nest in my branches and my crown shall look out at the great world!"

When snow came a little hare just for fun would run and jump over the Tree. That was hard to bear. Think of a hare jumping over you! The thought of that made the Tree forget the song of birds, the sun and the bright clouds.

Men came in the Fall and cut the tall trees down. The crash made the Fir Tree shake with fear. There they lay quite dead. Poor trees! Where were they to go? Far, far from the deep woods, but where?

One Spring when the birds had come back, the Tree said, ''Know you where the tall trees have gone, my friends? Did you meet them?"

A big stork replied, "Yes, I saw them! As I flew here I met some ships. Those ships had great masts. Those tall masts were your friends, I think; they smelled like fir. You may be proud of them, they sailed so finely."

Then the Fir Tree said, ''Oh, that I were tall so I might sail the sea! What is the sea? Tell me, what does it look like?"

"It would take too long to tell you," said the stork, and away he flew.

When Christmas drew near, a great many young trees were cut down, some not as tall as the Fir Tree. Then horses drew them from the woods.

"Where do they go?" asked the Fir Tree. "They are not as tall as I."

"We know," cried the birds. "We saw them in the town. There they grow in a warm room. No more cold or snow. Bright things are hung on them, and gay lights shine from their boughs."

"Oh, I wish that I might go too!" sighed the Fir Tree. "I long to go and see the world! If I am tall next year it may be they will take me. I must grow and grow!"

So through the cold and the heat the Tree grew.

Christmas drew near again. Some one saw the Fir Tree and cried: ''See that fine tree!" and then the great ax struck on him and with a groan he fell to the ground. A sharp pain was all he felt. He forgot his joy.

He saw his old friends, the dear sun and wind . He knew he would never see them more, and at last his heart was sad. Poor little Tree!

The next he knew, two men took him from the cold and dark into a bright room. There were toys and boys and girls, and there was a lady who hung gay things upon his branches.

“To-night," they said, "we will light the Tree."

The Fir had not thought of anything so fine.

''Oh, that the trees would come from the wood to see me!" he thought. 'This is life! This is joy!"

Night came. The candles were lighted. Oh, what a blaze of light! Then the doors of the room were flung back, and in came the boys and girls laughing in their delight. "Tell us a tale," cried they to a man who stood near.

Then he told them about Humpty Dumpty.

''Ah, me!" thought the Tree. "Is this true? Who knows, I too may fall down stairs, win a throne and wed a princess!"

Poor, poor Tree! You see how vain and silly he had grown. He thought about the story all night. In the dim dawn the maids came into the room.

''More joy," thought the Tree. But he was wrong. They took him with rough hands and bore him to a dark attic and there left him alone.

"It is cold!" cried the Fir Tree, "and it is so lonely here!"

"It is cold," squeaked the mice, "but it is nice here. Tell us what you know."

"I know of the woods, where the sun shines and the wind blows." Then he told them of the night in the warm room.

"Those dear times may come again. Humpty Dumpty fell down stairs, yet won the princess."

Then the Fir Tree thought of the sweet Birch Tree in the dear old woods. What a princess she would be for him, to be sure!

One day a maid came to the attic and when she saw the Tree she took it down stairs and out into the light and air.

''Quir-ri-vir-ri-vit!" sang the birds. ''My love is come!"

He knew what they meant. "I shall live!" he sang back. But no, he was thrown on a heap of weeds and boys and girls tore his branches and cried, ''See the ugly old tree!"

"Oh, if I had only been content with the sun and air and birds! Too late! All is gone of my old glad life!" he thought.

All tales must end, and so the Fir Tree was burnt, and all was past.

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