adapted from a story by Hans Christian Andersen

Once there was a Little Fir Tree, slim and pointed, and shiny, which stood in the great forest in the midst of some big fir trees, broad, and tall, and shadowy green. The Little Fir Tree wished he was big like the others. When the birds came flying into the woods and lit on the branches of the big trees and built their nests there, he used to call up to them, --

``Come down, come down, rest in my branches!'' But they always said, -- ``Oh, not quite yet; you are too little!''

And when the splendid wind came blowing and singing through the forest, it bent and rocked and swung the tops of the big trees, and murmured to them. Then the Little Fir Tree looked up, and called,

``Oh, please, dear wind, come down and play with me!'' But he always said, --

``Oh, no; you are too little, you are too little!''

And in the winter the white snow fell softly, softly, and covered the great trees all over with wonderful caps and coats of white. The Little Fir Tree, close down in the cover of the others, would call up, --

``Oh, please, dear snow, give me a cap, too! I want to play, too!'' But the snow always said, --

``Oh no, no, no; you are too little, you are too little!''

The worst of all was when men came into the wood, . They came to take away the big trees. And when one had been carried away the others were not sad, but they talked about it, and nodded their heads.

And the Little Fir Tree listened, and heard them say that when you were carried away so, you might become the mast of a mighty ship, and go far away over the ocean, and see many wonderful things; or you might be part of a fine house in a great city, and see much of life. The Little Fir Tree wanted greatly to see life, but he was always too little; the men passed him by.

But by and by, one cold winter's morning, men came with a sleigh and horses, and after a while came to the circle of trees round the Little Fir Tree, and looked all about.

``There are none little enough,'' they said. NEXT


Fairy Tales and Poems for Children