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The Poplar Tree

from Nature Myths And Stories For Little Children





One night, just at sunset, an old man found the pot of gold which lies
under the end of the rainbow.

His home was far beyond the dark forest, through which he was passing.

The pot of gold was heavy, and he soon began to look for a safe place in
which to hide it until morning.

A poplar tree stood near the path stretching its branches straight out
from the trunk.

That was the way the poplar trees grew in those days.

"Ah," said the man, "This tree is the very place in which to conceal my
treasure.

"The trees are all asleep, I see, and these leaves are large and thick."

He carefully placed the pot of gold in the tree, and hurried home to
tell of his good fortune.

Very early the next morning, Iris, the rainbow messenger, missed the
precious pot of gold.

She hastened to Zeus and told him of the loss.

Zeus immediately sent Hermes in search of it.

Hermes soon came to the forest where it was hidden.



He awakened the trees, and asked them if they had seen the pot of gold.

They shook their heads sleepily, and murmured something which Hermes
could not understand.

Then Zeus himself spoke to them. "Hold your arms high above your heads,"
he said, "that I may see that all are awake."

Up went the arms, but alas, down to the ground came the pot of gold.

The poplar tree was more surprised than any one else.

He was a very honest tree and for a moment hung his head in grief and
shame. Then again he stretched his arms high above his head, and said,
"Forgive me, great father; hereafter I shall stand in this way that you
may know that I hide nothing from the sun, my king."

At first the poplar tree was much laughed at.

He was often told that he looked like a great umbrella which a storm had
turned inside out.

But as years went by every small poplar was taught to grow as fearless,
straight and open hearted as himself, and the whole poplar family became
respected and loved for its uprightness and strength.





Next: The Donkey And The Salt

Previous: The Swan Maidens



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