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The Bird-cherry

from Fables For Children, Stories For Children, Natural Science Stori - STORIES FROM BOTANY





A bird-cherry grew out on a hazel bush path and choked the bushes. I
deliberated for a long time whether I had better cut down the
bird-cherry, or not. This bird-cherry grew not as a bush, but as a tree,
about six inches in diameter and thirty feet high, full of branches and
bushy, and all besprinkled with bright, white, fragrant blossoms. You
could smell it from a distance. I should not have cut it down, but one
of the labourers (to whom I had before given the order to cut down the
bird-cherry) had begun to chop it without me. When I came, he had
already cut in about three inches, and the sap splashed under the axe
whenever it struck the same cut. "It cannot be helped,--apparently such
is its fate," I thought, and I picked up an axe myself and began to chop
it with the peasant.

It is a pleasure to do any work, and it is a pleasure to chop. It is a
pleasure to let the axe enter deeply in a slanting line, and then to
chop out the chip by a straight stroke, and to chop farther and farther
into the tree.

I had entirely forgotten the bird-cherry, and was thinking only of
felling it as quickly as possible. When I got tired, I put down my axe
and with the peasant pressed against the tree and tried to make it fall.
We bent it: the tree trembled with its leaves, and the dew showered down
upon us, and the white, fragrant petals of the blossoms fell down.

At the same time something seemed to cry,--the middle of the tree
creaked; we pressed against it, and it was as though something wept,
there was a crash in the middle, and the tree tottered. It broke at the
notch and, swaying, fell with its branches and blossoms into the grass.
The twigs and blossoms trembled for awhile after the fall, and stopped.

"It was a fine tree!" said the peasant. "I am mightily sorry for it!"

I myself felt so sorry for it that I hurried away to the other
labourers.





Next: How Trees Walk

Previous: The Old Poplar



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