THE LITTLE FIR TREE
Oh! how the Little Fir Tree pricked up his needles!
``Here is one,'' said one of the men, ``it is just little enough.'' And he
touched the Little Fir Tree.
The Little Fir Tree was happy as a bird, because he knew he was about to go on a
journey. . And when he was being carried away on the sleigh he lay wondering, so
contentedly, whether he should be the mast of a ship or part of a fine city
house. But when they came to the town he was taken out and set upright in a tub
and placed on the edge of a sidewalk in a row of other fir trees, all small, but
none so little as he. And then the Little Fir Tree began to see life.
People kept coming to look at the trees and to take them away. But always when
they saw the Little Fir Tree they shook their heads and said, --
``It is too little, too little.''
Until, finally, two children came along, hand in hand, looking carefully at all
the small trees. When they saw the Little Fir Tree they cried out, --
``We'll take this one; it is just little enough!''
They took him out of his tub and carried him away, between them. And the happy
Little Fir Tree spent all his time wondering what it could be that he was just
little enough for; he knew it could hardly be a mast or a house, since he was
going away with children.
He kept wondering, while they took him in through some big doors, and set him up
in another tub, on the table, in a very friendly room full of bright colors and
toys. Pretty soon they went away, and came back again with a big basket, carried
between them. Then some pretty ladies, with white caps on their heads and white
aprons over their blue dresses, came bringing little parcels.
The children took things out of the basket and began to play with the Little Fir
Tree, just as he had often begged the wind and the snow and the birds to do. He
felt their soft little touches on his head and his twigs and his branches.
And when he looked down at himself, as far as he could look, he saw that he was
all hung with gold and silver chains! There were strings of white fluffy stuff
drooping around him; his twigs held little gold nuts and pink, rosy balls and
silver stars; he had pretty little pink and white candles in his arms; but last,
and most wonderful of all, the children hung a beautiful white, floating
doll-angel over his head! The Little Fir Tree could not breathe, for joy and
wonder. What was it that he was, now? Why was this glory for him?
After a time every one went away and left him. It grew dusk, and the Little Fir
Tree began to hear strange sounds through the closed doors. Sometimes he heard a
child whispering. He was beginning to be lonely. It grew more and more shadowy.
All at once, the doors opened and the two children came in. Two of the pretty
ladies were with them. They came up to the Little Fir Tree and quickly lighted
all the little pink and white candles. Then the two pretty ladies took hold of
the table with the Little Fir Tree on it and pushed it, very smoothly and
quickly, out of the doors, across a hall, and in at another door.
The Little Fir Tree had a sudden sight of a long room with many little white
beds in it, of children propped up on pillows in the beds, and of other children
in great wheeled chairs, and others walking about or sitting in little chairs.
He wondered so many children were all together in one room. He did not know that
he was in a hospital. But before he could wonder any more his breath was quite
taken away by the shout those little children gave.
``Oh! oh! m-m! m-m!'' they cried.
``How pretty! How beautiful! Oh, is 't it lovely!''
He knew they must mean him, for all their shining eyes were looking straight at
him. He stood as straight as a mast, and quivered in every needle, for joy.
Presently one tiny child-voice called out, --
``It's the nicest Christmas tree I ever saw!''
And then, at last, the Little Fir Tree knew what he was; he was a Christmas
tree! And from his shiny head to his feet he was glad, through and through,
because he was just little enough to be the nicest kind of tree in the world!
and Poems and Things to Read While Saying Goodnight