The Little Robber Girl
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
AMERICAN INDIAN STORIES
Animal Sketches And Stories
Blondine Bonne Biche and Beau Minon
BRER RABBIT and HIS NEIGHBORS
CHINESE MOTHER-GOOSE RHYMES
FABLES FOR CHILDREN
FABLES FROM INDIA
FATHER PLAYS AND MOTHER PLAYS
FIRST STORIES FOR VERY LITTLE FOLK
For Classes Ii. And Iii.
For Classes Iv. And V.
For Kindergarten And Class I.
FUN FOR VERY LITTLE FOLK
Good Little Henry
JAPANESE AND OTHER ORIENTAL TALES]
Jean De La Fontaine
King Alexander's Adventures
KINGS AND WARRIORS
LAND AND WATER FAIRIES
Lessons From Nature
LITTLE STORIES that GROW BIG
MODERN FAIRY TALES
MOTHER GOOSE CONTINUED
MOTHER GOOSE JINGLES
MOTHER GOOSE SONGS AND STORIES
Myths And Legends
NEGLECT THE FIRE
ON POPULAR EDUCATION
PLACES AND FAMILIES
Poems Of Nature
RESURRECTION DAY (EASTER)
RHYMES CONCERNING "MOTHER"
RIDING SONGS for FATHER'S KNEE
ROMANCES OF THE MIDDLE AGES
SAINT VALENTINE'S DAY
Selections From The Bible
SLEEPY-TIME SONGS AND STORIES
Some Children's Poets
Songs Of Life
STORIES BY FAVORITE AMERICAN WRITERS
STORIES FOR CHILDREN
STORIES for LITTLE BOYS
STORIES FROM BOTANY
STORIES FROM GREAT BRITAIN
STORIES FROM IRELAND
STORIES FROM PHYSICS
STORIES FROM SCANDINAVIA
STORIES FROM ZOOLOGY
STORIES _for_ LITTLE GIRLS
THE DAYS OF THE WEEK
The King Of The Golden River; Or, The Black Brothers
The Little Grey Mouse
THE OLD FAIRY TALES
The Princess Rosette
THE THREE HERMITS
THE TWO OLD MEN
UNCLES AND AUNTS AND OTHER RELATIVES
VERSES ABOUT FAIRIES
WHAT MEN LIVE BY
WHERE LOVE IS, THERE GOD IS ALSO
The Little Tree That Never Grew Up
from The Green Forest Fairy Book,
Long, long ago, when the world was very young, so young that the flowers
and trees and grasses had voices and talked with each other, or sang
with the breezes that blew softly around them, there lived in the midst
of a forest a very little tree.
Now, though the Little Tree was straight as an arrow and had glossy
green leaves, she was the most unhappy little tree in all the world. She
could not sing with the winds, and neither could she speak to the other
trees around her. These other trees often spoke to the Little Tree and
asked her questions. When she did not answer, they thought the Little
Tree stupid and sulky. These other trees that could sing and speak began
to grow tall, and after a time they grew so high their topmost branches
seemed to touch the sky. Then, even though the Little Tree had spoken,
they could never have heard her. These other trees grew tall as giants.
The Little Tree grew each year, it is true; but she grew so slightly
that it could scarcely be noticed. She was greatly ashamed of her small
As the seasons went on, the branches of the tall trees grew so very
thick that they shut out the light down in the forest. Then the Little
Tree could not see the sun at all, and one by one the ferns and flowers
at her roots died from the dampness, and the Little Tree was all alone!
Nothing broke the silence of the dark, still forest save the calls of
the birds when they returned each year to build their nests, or the
sound of the branches swaying in the breeze. Then there came at last one
soft spring day when the Little Tree waked from her winter's sleep and
began to sing. She was so happy that she sang for hours; but alas! there
was no other tree to hear her or to answer her song. So the Little Tree,
though she now possessed the voice for which she had longed, was more
lonely than ever before.
At night, when all the world was sleeping, and while the Night Wind
roamed the forest, the Little Tree would weep softly to herself because
she was so sad. Then, after a time, her lament grew to be a song, a very
sad song, it is true; but oh, so very beautiful! The Night Wind, who was
fond of singing, came to listen each evening for the Little Tree's
lament, and as he blew upon his way, he carried her song to the Stars.
Now it happened one night the Little Tree was so sad and lonely that she
could not sing; instead, she wept until her tiny branches shook with
"Oh," mourned the Little Tree, "I am so lonely here! I wish I could die.
If only I might burn on some cottager's hearth or warm poor children's
hands; but alas, I am the most useless tree that grows!"
The Night Wind heard the Little Tree sobbing, and going close, whispered
softly to her:
"Oh, Little Tree, please do not be so sad. What does it matter that your
singing voice came after all the other trees had grown too tall to hear
you, or that you are such a very little tree? Your voice is so sweet and
lovely that the birds of this forest now model their choicest songs on
yours. Each night I carry your songs to the Stars, and they too have
sung your lovely music."
"Oh, Night Wind, do you tell me true?" begged the Little Tree. "For I am
such a little tree, how can the Stars hear me?"
"They hear you thus, my Little Tree," replied the Night Wind, and
brushed aside the branches of the tallest trees.
Then looking up, the Little Tree beheld the Stars high up in the heavens
shining down on her. They seemed to smile and beckon as she watched, and
so she sang her sweetest songs to please them. The Night Wind and the
Stars themselves sang with the Little Tree, and made such lovely music
that had any one been listening, they would have thought they heard
sweet strains from paradise. But all this happened when the world was
very young, and there were but few people dwelling on it.
"And now, my Little Tree," the Night Wind said, when he had dropped the
branches of the tall trees once again, "pray do not wish for some
woodman to cut you down. I would miss you sadly, if you were to go away
from the forest."
Farther on in the forest, the Night Wind met the Spirits of the Woods.
They were two sister spirits robed in floating garments made of mists.
They roamed the forest and cared for all the trees. They knew how long
each tree would dwell in the forest and when the woodman's ax would fell
it. The Spirits of the Woods possessed a magic bag of dreams, and from
this bag the Night Wind begged a dream for the Little Tree.
"Ah," he pleaded, "the Little Tree is so sad and lonely, the other trees
have grown so far away they cannot hear her sing, and neither can she
talk with them. She would dearly love a beautiful dream from this dream
bag of yours, Spirit."
"Ah, Night Wind," replied the Spirit doubtfully, "there is but one dream
left, and that is the Little Tree's dream of the future. If we give it
to her, you must promise that you will not answer her questions
concerning it. For it is a strange dream and will puzzle her greatly.
Will you promise?"
"I promise," said the Night Wind, and blew upon his way.
And after that night, the Little Tree was not lonely or sad. She never
became a joyous tree--her youth had been too sorrowful for that--but she
was content. Each night, when all the forest filled with creeping
shadows, she sang her songs to the Stars, and she came to love the Night
Wind dearly. Each night the Little Tree dreamed the dream the Spirits of
the Woods had given her, and strange to tell, it was always the same
dream. It was such a pleasant, lovely dream that sometimes the Little
Tree was puzzled, and wondered whether she really lived in her beautiful
dream, and only dreamed that she lived in the forest.
Each night the Little Tree dreamed she floated far away, until she
reached a palace which was set on a high hill. Within the palace was a
great hall richly hung with silken tapestries and gleaming softly with
light that shone from carved crystal bowls. Within this palace hall a
great king and his court were seated, and sweet strains of music floated
on the breeze. But the strangest thing of all was this: the Little Tree
often thought she heard her own songs in this palace hall. She was not
sure, but she was greatly puzzled. She knew that she had dwelled always
in the forest, and how could she know the music of noble lords and
ladies? Then one night in her dream the Little Tree was startled to hear
the sound of her own voice singing the songs she had so often sung to
the Stars. She pressed eagerly to the palace window to see within, but
because of her branches she could not go very near, and she could not
see. Then came the dawn, and her dream floated far away.
All through the day, the Little Tree called again and again to the tall
trees and asked them of her curious dream; but, of course, they could
not hear her. She waited eagerly to see the daylight fade, and when the
Night Wind came, she questioned him:
"Oh, Night Wind," cried the Little Tree, "will you tell me of my dream?
I am sure I heard my own voice singing; but how could it be that noble
lords and ladies within that palace hall would listen to me? For am I
not the least of little trees?"
But the Night Wind did not tell her truly. He had given his promise that
he would not, and so he answered her, saying:
"Now that I do not know, my dear, but though you are indeed the least of
little trees, you are the only Little Tree in all this world to me. Of
noble lords and ladies and their ways I know nothing, for do they not
shut me from their homes and hearths when I would enter and warm myself?
But now, Little Tree, it grows late; will you not sing for me?"
Thus with the Night Wind and the Stars for company, the Little Tree
lived on for many years. From them she learned much wisdom and came to
know about the great world which lay beyond the forest, and that all
trees would one day go there. And all this time the world was growing
older, and the forest was not so silent as it had been in the time when
the Little Tree first dwelled there. Sometimes the woodcutter's ax rang
out, and the Little Tree would hear a great tree come crashing down to
"Oh, why must I leave the freedom of the forest and be torn limb from
limb in some wretched mill!" cried one of the tall trees, as he fell
close by the Little Tree one day.
"Ah," replied the Little Tree softly, "you would not wish to dwell
forever in this forest, would you? In the world there is much that a
great tree may do to bring happiness."
"Who is it that speaks to me thus gently?" asked the Fallen Tree. "I do
not know the voice, although I thought I knew all trees growing in this
forest, for I was among the first trees to grow here."
"And so was I," replied the Little Tree. "Do you not remember the Little
Tree that could neither speak nor sing? I am she. For though I am ages
and ages old, I am scarcely taller than yonder little fir of ten
"In those days we thought you stupid and sulky, Little Tree," replied
the Fallen Tree, "but by your speech I now can see that we were wrong.
Who has taught you all your wisdom, and have you not been lonely all
"Indeed, I was very lonely," said the Little Tree. "Even after I could
sing, it was no better. The flowers and ferns had died, and there was
none to hear me or talk to me. One night I wept and wished to die, and
the Night Wind, who is of a kind heart, cheered me with words of praise.
Since then I have never been sad, for I have had a lovely dream each
night, and I have sung to the Stars."
But this the Fallen Tree could not believe, and so he answered sharply:
"Now, Little Tree, how can that be? Tall as I was, and high as I stood
when I was monarch of this forest, never once could I send my songs to
the Stars, although I tried to do so many times. Now surely such a
little tree as you could not accomplish what a monarch failed to do! You
have learned wisdom without doubt, and you sing very sweetly, I daresay;
but take care lest your dreaming lead you in untruthful ways."
"Oh, pray believe me!" cried the Little Tree. "Wait only until the
twilight comes, and the Night Wind himself will tell you so."
"More foolish talk!" scoffed the Fallen Tree. "The Night Wind is but a
feeble creature to a monarch of the forest, such as I. When I stood
aloft in all my glory, the Night Wind could not bend the smallest twig
of mine unless I willed it so."
"That is true, my friends," spoke a gentle voice beside them. It was the
voice of the Night Wind, for all unknown to them, darkness had fallen.
"Because you were so proud and held your branches firm against my gentle
breezes, never once did I carry your songs to the Stars; but I have done
so for the Little Tree." Then he brushed aside the branches of the tall
trees, and the Little Tree sang to her shining audience so far above in
heaven. She sang until the Fallen Tree slept, and then the Night Wind
gently dropped the branches until the forest was all dark once more.
Then he kissed the Little Tree farewell and blew upon his way.
Now, as more people came to dwell upon the earth, more trees were needed
every year to shelter them. The forest was no longer dark and silent.
The woodman's ax rang out, and here and there the sun shone down where
groves of noble trees had once stood. But even so, the ferns and flowers
and grasses did not bloom again. The woodcutters made dusty roads and
trails, and heaps of dead leaves eddied in the breeze. At last one day a
certain king gave orders that all remaining trees of this forest should
be cut down. He planned to build a noble city where the forest stood.
Now charcoal fires flared all night, and herds of oxen tramped the whole
day through, and soon a dreary waste of withering branches whose brown
leaves crackled dismally was all that remained of the noble forest.
"Ah, Little Tree," the Night Wind mourned, "there is no longer any need
for me. When the forest stood, it was my work and pleasure to brush the
fallen leaves and lull the trees to sleep. Indeed, were it not for you,
I would be desolate. Each night I tremble lest I shall not find you
"Ah, Night Wind," replied the Little Tree softly, "it is because you
love me that you fear to lose me; but do not be troubled. I have seen
great trees fall to my right and to my left, and small trees likewise,
yet no one seems to want me. I am such a little tree; I am sure that you
will find me here forever. That does not grieve me, even so, for I have
come to love you dearly, and it would break my heart to be parted from
Then one dull winter's day, the Little Tree felt a human hand laid on
her slender trunk, and she knew her fate had come. She was such a little
tree that it took but two blows to fell her. When the Night Wind came
again, he found the Little Tree moaning with the pain of her wounds. He
caressed her tenderly and begged her to say her pain was better.
"Oh, Night Wind, the pain is truly better since you have come,"
whispered the Little Tree bravely, and died in his arms.
When the Night Wind knew the Little Tree was gone, he flung himself down
on the earth beside her, and wept and wailed so bitterly that the
Spirits of the Woods came from the ends of the world to see what
"Ah," sighed the first Spirit. "How sad it is the Night Wind should be
parted from the Little Tree. Could we not make him a mortal, so that he
may meet her again in the world?"
"Agreed," replied the second Spirit. So while the Night Wind slept, the
Spirits of the Woods changed him to a mortal and called him Robello.
Thus it was that some time later a youth called Robello came to dwell on
the outskirts of the noble city which stood in place of the great
forest. Now this Robello did not till the soil, and neither did he herd
flocks on the hillsides. Instead, at evenings, he played his violin so
sweetly and so sadly that some folk could not tell his music from the
wailing of the winds. People from that region, as they passed his
cottage at nightfall, paused to listen to Robello's playing, and many a
one wiped a tear from his eye at the memories it stirred. Robello's fame
began to go abroad, and wise men learned in the arts of song declared
that if Robello but possessed a fine violin, the world could hear no
Now, at this time it happened that the king (the same who had ordered
the great forest cut down) received the gift of a rare violin. The maker
of this violin vowed that its like was not to be found the whole world
over, for when 'twas touched with the bow, it sent forth a sobbing sound
like the cry of a broken heart. The maker of this rare violin besought
the king and begged that no mere fiddler be allowed to touch it, and
that a music master should play it always. The king agreed and
accordingly commanded that all who played the violin should appear at
the palace. Robello went in company of a thousand other players.
The palace of the king was set on a high hill, and as Robello entered,
he seemed dimly to remember it, although he knew well that he had never
been within its gates before. The king and court sat waiting within a
great hall richly hung with silken tapestries and gleaming with lights
that shone softly through carved crystal bowls. The violin players were
gathered together, and to Robello fell the lot of playing first.
The king himself placed the violin in Robello's arms, and slowly, as
though in a dream, Robello drew the bow across the strings. With the
first notes wakened memories that had long been slumbering. Then as he
played, Robello felt the great hall grow dim, until at last it seemed to
fade away, and he saw naught but a vision: the deep dark forest just at
dusk, and he was once more the Night Wind caressing the Little Tree.
"Ah, my Little Tree," he whispered, as he bent lovingly above the
violin. "This is the dream that you did love so dearly. Do you remember
"Ah, Night Wind," sang the Little Tree, "although they call thee by
another name, to me thou wilt be the Night Wind forever. He who
fashioned me thus spoke truly when he said I sobbed like a broken heart,
for my heart has been broken with longing for thee. Let us sing the
songs we sang to the Stars so long ago."
Then Robello played as he had never played before, and the violin sang
as never violin had sung before. When the last notes died away, there
were tears in the eyes of the noble lords and ladies, and the king sat
silent for a time. At last he spoke, and ordered that all other players
be sent away, and declared that none save Robello should ever touch this
So Robello remained in the palace of the king and was made chief
musician to his majesty, and never had the Little Tree sung so sweetly
in the forest as she sang now at Robello's magic touch. Robello played
at all court festivals, and nothing had such power to soothe the king as
had Robello's music when he played his violin at nightfall.
Then came a sad day when his servants went to waken him and found
Robello dead, his beloved violin clasped closely in his arms. The king
and all his court mourned the passing of Robello for many days. Then one
evening, just at dusk, they buried him with his beloved violin still
clasped closely in his arms, and strewed his grave with boughs of trees.
And in that region, to this day, there are some folk who say that when
night falls Robello can still be heard playing his violin within the
palace hall; but others say this is not right; it is the Night Wind
calling softly to the Little Tree that never grew up.
Next: The Tale Of Punchinello
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