The fairy tale story of the littlest fir tree
Do you ever get excited about the holidays? Do you wish and wish they would come faster? This is a fairy tale story about someone just like you, our little friend... the fir tree! The fir tree is really cute... but you may not want to end up like him!
Once upon a time, there stood a little fir tree in the middle of the large Green Forest. He was a sapling. There were lots of big old fir trees and pine trees and hemlock trees around him. He had a lot of sunlight, and his little roots could drink fresh water through the rich soil.
But this wasn't enough for him. He wanted to be a full-grown fir tree. He closed his eyes and wished and wished to grow. But he stayed small, at least for a while. Whenever a rabbit hopped along the forest trail, it jumped right over the little tree instead of going around him!
The little fir tree was so small that even children could look down on him. As they passed along the forest trail, Hansel said to Gretel,
"What a cute little tree!"
The tree didn't like being cute; he wanted to be a mighty tree! So he swept Hansel and Gretel's breadcrumbs right off the road. That'll teach them! He went on like this, obsessed with growing up, and not noticing the warm sun or the flowers or the friends he might have made.
Two years went past, and the little tree grew. He was now tall enough that the rabbits had to hop around him instead of over him.
Every fall, woodcutters came into the forest and chopped down some of the big trees. The fir tree heard the men and women chopping with axes. The fir tree heard them shout "TIMBER!" Every time he heard the word "timber" he heard the sound of a great huge tree crashing to the ground. The men chopped off the all the big tree's branches and took its trunk away on carts.
The little fir tree wondered, "Where do the people take the big trees?"
The fir tree wondered all through the winter. One day he saw a black crow flying by. He asked Blacky the crow where the people had taken the big trees.
The crow had flown far and wide, all the way to the sea. He told the fir tree that the branches were used in fireplaces, and the trunks became the masts of huge sailing ships. Every sailing ship mast was once a tall tree.
"Aaaahh", said the little fir tree. "I wish I were a tall mast! I wish I were a giant tree! I wish I were a crow! I wish I could fly!"
The crow looked at him and raised an eyebrow. It said "Caw!", and flew away.
Soon it was nearing Christmas time. The men and women came back into the woods. Some of them had children with them. They began cutting down trees again.
But they did not chop the tallest trees this time; they chopped down some of the smallest trees! They did not cut off the branches. In fact, the fir tree heard the humans saying how much they wanted a tree with full branches! The men and women took the trees out of the forest on carts.
This confused the little fir tree even more.
Now the fir tree wondered, "Where do the people take the little trees?"
Do YOU know where the little trees go? Do you know where someone might take a tree around Christmas time? I bet you could tell the fir tree!
The fir tree saw a little chickadee in the snowy forest. Her name was Dixie. He asked Dixie chickadee where the trees went.
She told the fir tree that the people took the trees into their town. The people took the trees right into their houses! The people wrapped each tree in a cord of lights, twinkling lights in all different colours. Then they hung pretty ornaments on the tree. They hung glass balls, and even canes made of candy. Then they all shouted at each other "Merry Christmas!"
"What happens to the tree then?" the fir tree asked the chickadee. "And what is this 'Chriss Muss' you speak of?"
"Ah, well..." Dixie chickadee picked at her scarf and admitted that she had no idea what the words meant. But the whole spectacle of the decorated tree was very beautiful.
"Aaaahh", said the little fir tree. "I am the perfect size for this. I wish I were in a house! I wish I were covered in twinkling lights! I wish I were a Chriss Muss! I wish I could fly! I wish I were leaving this lousy forest!"
The chickadee raised an eyebrow. She chirped and flew away.
The little tree was obsessed with getting out of the forest. He wished and wished. He forgot to notice the rabbits playing with their children, or the beautiful changes of season, or the children playing in the woods. He did not even notice how full and green that he himself was getting.
A whole year passed by.
One winter morning, a man and a woman and a little girl came into the forest looking for trees. They called the fir tree a handsome tree, and they chopped him down, and they took him into the town.
The family carried him into a big house at the end of a street. They put him in a stand in a great room with a fireplace and sofas and pictures. The father watered his stump and put a beautiful green skirt over the stand. The mother wrapped him around and around with a cord of coloured lights. She decorated him with coloured ornaments.
Last of all, the little girl climbed high up a stepladder and perched a beautiful gold star on his topmost branch. The fir tree looked splendid!
The mother said that when it got dark, they would plug in the lights and the fir tree would look even better.
"Aaaahh", said the little fir tree, forgetting he already looked so good. "I wish it were night time! I wish I were plugged in! I wish I looked even better! I wish I were lit up! I can't wait! I wish the lousy sun would go down already!"
By late afternoon it was dark, and the mother plugged the light cord into the wall. He was lit up! The fir tree shone and sparkled.
Over the next days the family came by and put wrapped boxes under the beautiful tree. They called them presents. The little girl said it was only two more sleeps until Christmas Day.
"Aaaahh", said the little fir tree. "I wish it were Christmas already! I wish two more sleeps had gone by! I wish I were already asleep so I could wake up on Christmas Day!" And he drove himself nuts for the next two days.
Finally it was Christmas Day. The little girl ran down the stairs. She picked up all the presents that lay underneath the fir tree. He was excited at all the presents he was going to get.
The parents came into the great room with cups of coffee. The family passed the presents to each other and opened them. They hugged and kissed. The fir tree did not even notice. He was too excited waiting for his own presents!
The little girl got an envelope last of all. The girl opened the envelope and screamed with joy at the papers inside.
The fir tree didn't see what all the fuss was about. According to the family, the papers were just plain tickets.
"Now, it's my turn!" thought the fir tree. He didn't know that no one gives presents to their tree. He waited all through the day, and dinner, and a movie, and games. Then the family turned the lights out, and went upstairs. In the morning he heard the family upstairs.
"Now Christmas will begin again," thought the fir tree. The family came downstairs carrying suitcases. They did not plug him in or admire him. They pulled off all his ornaments and lights, and put them into bags. They rushed outside to a waiting taxi. They turned out the lights and closed the door behind them.
The fir tree was in the quiet house all alone. He stood in the dark for days, in the quiet room.
"Aaaahh", said the little fir tree. "I wish I were outside! I wish I were in the fresh air and sunshine! I wish I could fly to the green forest!"
A few days later the fir tree heard a buzzing. A housefly flew out from behind the curtain into the room. The fly asked how such an old fir tree got inside this house. The tree rolled his eyes.
"I am not old," he said. "I am fresh out of the woods. I am young and fine and shining!"
The fir tree held his branch out to the fly to wave hello. But now his branch was all yellow and dry! The wave made some of his fir needles fall off! They fell on the floor. The fir tree gasped.
"Never mind that," he said. "I am here for Christmas. I am the center of attention. The family has gone in a taxi to get me my presents. Oh, I can't wait!"
The fly raised an eyebrow. It flew back behind the curtain. It buzzed against the window. The fly must have gone to sleep, for the buzzing stopped and fir tree did not hear from it again.
The fir tree sat in his stand in the dark house and waited for his Christmas to come. After a few days, he heard a car in the driveway. The family was back. The father unlocked the door and came into the room, straight towards the tree.
"Aaaah, a hug for me!" thought the tree. The man put his arms around the tree... and lifted him right off the ground! The man carried the tree straight out the front door. The man carried the fir tree to the driveway and tossed it on the ground. The family went back inside the house.
They shut the door.
The fir tree lay on the driveway. A fresh breeze wafted across his dried yellow branches. The winter sun shone down on his face.
"I really have had an amazing life so far," he thought.
"I suppose that that one magical perfect day WAS my Christmas. I wish I had known and not wished it away. I wish I had enjoyed it more while it was happening! I wish I could fly! I wish I could fly back to the green forest! I wish I could turn back time."
The front door opened, and the mother and the little girl came out across the driveway to the fir tree. She had a suntan.
The little girl reached out to his topmost branch, as if to stroke his head. She pulled the gold star off his head. It was the last ornament. The mother reached down and lifted an axe. She swung it over her head and chopped the fir tree into small pieces.
The mother put the needles into a leaf bag and carried the wood back into the house. She put the wood into the fireplace in the great room.
The little girl crumpled up some papers under the fir tree wood. The father lit the fire. The bits of wood sighed with relief as they burned. The waiting was over.
Little bits of flaming wood and sparks flew up the chimney. Smoke drifted out of the chimney, over the house and the darkling town, all the way to the green forest.
"Aaaahh", said the little fir tree. "I can fly!"