The Bird-cherry

: Fables For Children, Stories For Children, Natural Science Stori

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 th
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