: STORIES FOR CHILDREN
: Fables For Children, Stories For Children, Natural Science Stori
During Easter week a peasant went out to see whether the ground was all
He went into the garden and touched the soil with a stick. The earth was
soft. The peasant went into the woods; here the catkins were already
swelling on the willows. The peasant thought:
"I will fence my garden with willows; they will grow up and will make a
He took hi
axe, cut down a dozen willows, sharpened them at the end,
and stuck them in the ground.
All the willows sent up sprouts with leaves, and underground let out
just such sprouts for roots; and some of them took hold of the ground
and grew, and others did not hold well to the ground with their roots,
and died and fell down.
In the fall the peasant was glad at the sight of his willows: six of
them had taken root. The following spring the sheep killed two willows
by gnawing at them, and only two were left. Next spring the sheep
nibbled at these also. One of them was completely ruined, and the other
came to, took root, and grew to be a tree. In the spring the bees just
buzzed in the willow. In swarming time the swarms were often put out on
the willow, and the peasants brushed them in. The men and women
frequently ate and slept under the willow, and the children climbed on
it and broke off rods from it.
The peasant that had set out the willow was long dead, and still it
grew. His eldest son twice cut down its branches and used them for
fire-wood. The willow kept growing. They trimmed it all around, and cut
it down to a stump, but in the spring it again sent out twigs, thinner
ones than before, but twice as many as ever, as is the case with a
And the eldest son quit farming, and the village was given up, but the
willow grew in the open field. Other peasants came there, and chopped
the willow, but still it grew. The lightning struck it; but it sent
forth side branches, and it grew and blossomed. A peasant wanted to cut
it down for a block, but he gave it up, it was too rotten. It leaned
sidewise, and held on with one side only; and still it grew, and every
year the bees came there to gather the pollen.
One day, early in the spring, the boys gathered under the willow, to
watch the horses. They felt cold, so they started a fire. They gathered
stubbles, wormwood, and sticks. One of them climbed on the willow and
broke off a lot of twigs. They put it all in the hollow of the willow
and set fire to it. The tree began to hiss and its sap to boil, and the
smoke rose and the tree burned; its whole inside was smudged. The young
shoots dried up, the blossoms withered.
The children drove the horses home. The scorched willow was left all
alone in the field. A black raven flew by, and he sat down on it, and
"So you are dead, old smudge! You ought to have died long ago!"