Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

And he leaned against the wall, and thought. And he had time enough; for days and nights went by, and nobody came up, and when some one did come, it was only to put some great boxes in a corner. Now the Tree was quite hidden away and forgotten.

Now it is winter outside,” thought the Tree. “The earth is hard, and covered with snow, and people cannot plant me; so I suppose I am to be kept here until spring. How kind that is! I wish it were not so dark here, and so lonely. How pretty it was out in the wood, when the snow was on the ground, and the Hares ran and jumped over me! but then I did not like it."

“Peep! peep!” said a little Mouse, who crept forward, followed by another. They smelled at the Fir Tree, and then slipped in among the branches. “It is horribly cold,” said the two little Mice. “If it were not so cold, it would be very comfortable here. Don't you think.so, you old Fir Tree?" '

“I am not old at all," said the Fir Tree. "There are many much older than I.”

“Where do you come from?" asked the Mice; “and what do you know? Tell us about the most beautiful spot on earth.

Have you been there? been in the storeroom, where the cheeses lie on the shelves, and hams hang down from the ceiling; where one dances on tallow candles, and goes in thin and comes out fat?"

"I don't know that," replied the Tree; "but I know the wood, where the sun shines, and the birds sing."

And then it told all about its youth,

And the little Mice had never heard anything of the kind; and they listened, and said,

Have you

“What a number of things you have seen! How happy you must have been!"

I?” replied the Fir Tree; and it thought about what it had told. “Yes; those were really quite happy times.” Then he told of Christmas Eve, when he had been hung with sweetmeats and candles.

“Oh!" said the little Mice; "how happy you have been, you old Fir Tree!"

I'm not old at all,” said the Tree. “I only came out of the wood this winter. I'm only rather backward in my growth."

“What splendid stories you can tell!" said the little Mice.

And the next night they came, with four other little Mice, to hear what the Tree had to say; and the more it said, the more clearly it remembered everything, and thought, “Those were merry days. But they may come again. Klumpey-Dumpey fell downstairs, and yet he married the Princess. Perhaps I may marry a princess, too," and then the Fir Tree thought of a pretty little birch tree that grew out in the forest. For the Fir Tree, that birch was a real princess.

“Who's Klumpey-Dumpey?" asked the little Mice. The Fir Tree told the whole story. The little Mice were ready to leap to the very top of the Tree with pleasure. The next night, a great many more Mice came, and on Sunday two Rats, but they thought the story was not pretty, and the little Mice were sorry, for now they did not like it as well as they had done before.

“Do you know only that story?” asked the Rats. “Only that one,” replied the Tree. “I heard that

on the happiest evening of my life; I did not think then how happy I was."

“That is a very miserable story. Don't you know any about bacon and tallow candles,-a storeroom story?

"No," said the Tree.
Then we'd rather not hear you," said the Rats.

And they went back to their own people. The little Mice, at last, stayed away also; and then the Tree sighed, and said, “It was very nice when they sat around me,-the merry little Mice,--and listened to me; now that is past, too."

One morning, people came to the garret. Boxes were put away, and the Tree was brought out. A servant dragged it downstairs, where the daylight shone. “Now life is beginning again!" thought the Tree.

It was taken out in the courtyard, and felt the fresh air. There was so much to look at that the Tree quite forgot to look at itself. Near by was a garden. The roses and the linden trees were in blossom. The swallows were calling out to their mates.

"Now I shall live," said the Tree, rejoicing; and it spread its branches far out, but, alas! they were all withered and yellow.

The Tree was thrown in the corner among the nettles and weeds.

Children who danced around the tree at Christmas were playing in the courtyard. One of the youngest ran up, and tore off the golden star. Look at what is sticking to the ugly old Fir Tree!” said the child.

The Tree looked at all the blooming flowers and the

beautiful garden, and then looked at itself, and was sorry it had not remained in the dark corner of the garret.

Everything has passed!" said the Tree. “I wish I had rejoiced when I might have done so."

A servant came, and chopped the tree into little pieces. He burned it, and, as it blazed brightly, it sighed, and each sigh was like a little shot; and the children who were at play there looked into the fire and cried, "Puff! puff!" The Tree thought of the summer day in the woods, or of a winter night when the stars shone, of Christmas Eve, of Klumpey-Dumpey, the only story he had ever heard or knew how to tell; and then he was burned.

The boys played in the garden, and the youngest wore the golden star which the Fir Tree wore on its happiest evening; now that was past, and the Tree's life was past, and the story is past, too,-and that is the way with all stories.

The Dog in the Manger.

ÆSOP.

A

DOG lay in a manger full of hay. An Ox came

near and wanted to eat the hay. The Dog got up and growled at him, and would not let him eat it. "Cross Dog," said the Ox; "you cannot eat the hay, and yet you will let no one else have any."

The Husbandman and His Sons.

ÆSOP.

CERTAIN husbandman lying at the point of death, called his sons around him, and gave

into their charge his fields and vineyards, telling them that a treasure lay hidden somewhere in them, within a foot from the surface. His sons thought he spoke of money which he had hidden, and after he was buried they worked hard, digging all over the estate, but found nothing. The soil being well loosened, however, the succeeding crops were richer than ever before, and the sons then knew what their father had in view in telling them to dig for hidden treasure.

« ZurückWeiter »