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The Little Tree That Longed For Other Leaves

from Good Stories For Great Holidays - ARBOR DAY





BY FRIEDRICH RUCHERT (TRANSLATED)

There was a little tree that stood in the woods through both good and
stormy weather, and it was covered from top to bottom with needles
instead of leaves. The needles were sharp and prickly, so the little
tree said to itself:--

"All my tree comrades have beautiful green leaves, and I have only sharp
needles. No one will touch me. If I could have a wish I would ask for
leaves of pure gold."

When night came the little tree fell asleep, and, lo! in the morning it
woke early and found itself covered with glistening, golden leaves.

"Ah, ah!" said the little tree, "how grand I am! No other tree in the
woods is dressed in gold."

But at evening time there came a peddler with a great sack and a long
beard. He saw the glitter of the golden leaves. He picked them all and
hurried away leaving the little tree cold and bare.

"Alas! alas!" cried the little tree in sorrow; "all my golden leaves
are gone! I am ashamed to stand among the other trees that have such
beautiful foliage. If I only had another wish I would ask for leaves of
glass."

Then the little tree fell asleep, and when it woke early, it found
itself covered with bright and shining leaves of glass.

"Now," said the little tree, "I am happy. No tree in the woods glistens
like me."

But there came a fierce storm-wind driving through the woods. It struck
the glass, and in a moment all the shining leaves lay shattered on the
ground.

"My leaves, my glass leaves!" moaned the little tree; "they lie broken
in the dust, while all the other trees are still dressed in their
beautiful foliage. Oh! if I had another wish I would ask for green
leaves."

Then the little tree slept again, and in the morning it was covered with
fresh, green foliage. And it laughed merrily, and said: "Now, I need not
be ashamed any more. I am like my comrades of the woods."

But along came a mother-goat, looking for grass and herbs for herself
and her young ones. She saw the crisp, new leaves; and she nibbled, and
nibbled, and nibbled them all away, and she ate up both stems and tender
shoots, till the little tree stood bare.

"Alas!" cried the little tree in anguish, "I want no more leaves,
neither gold ones nor glass ones, nor green and red and yellow ones! If
I could only have my needles once more, I would never complain again."

And sorrowfully the little tree fell asleep, but when it saw itself in
the morning sunshine, it laughed and laughed and laughed. And all the
other trees laughed, too, but the little tree did not care. Why did they
laugh? Because in the night all its needles had come again! You may see
this for yourself. Just go into the woods and look, but do not touch the
little tree. Why not? BECAUSE IT PRICKS.





Next: Why The Evergreen Trees Never Lose Their Leaves

Previous: The Three Kings Of Cologne



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