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THE GOURD AND THE PINE TREE
C. M. L. From the fables of Æsop.
 ONCE there was a very tall, old pine tree that had been
growing quite slowly and carefully for a number of
years. It was nearly the oldest tree in the forest,
and it raised its head high above the others toward the
sky like a very king of trees.
One spring day the wind brought a little seed and
dropped it at the roots of the pine tree. It was a
proud little seed, so it swelled and swelled itself and
puffed out to see how quickly it could burst its hard
coat and begin to grow. It sent out two green fingers
and it clutched the bark of the pine tree. It was
going to be a gourd-vine.
"I will climb to the top of the tree," said the little
gourd-vine. "They shall see how quickly I can grow."
So the gourd-vine tugged and pulled at its roots until
they were nearly pulled out of the ground, and it kept
calling down to them: "Drink more, drink more, I say!
I must grow faster." It held tightly to the pine tree
and climbed and climbed until it was way up to the
"Now, see!" cried the little gourd-vine, loudly. "You
have been growing for a great many years, and I only
began this summer—and see where I have come to!"
But the old pine tree just rustled its leaves and said
nothing at all, for it knew a thing or two.
After a while a great storm came upon the forest. A
mighty wind swept through the trees, bringing the
snowflakes, and the flowers began to hang their heads
and the birds flew south. The old pine tree did not
mind the cold in the least, for it had seen a great
 many storms, but, ah! the poor little gourd-vine!
It had grown so fast that it had forgotten to grow
carefully and well. Its tendrils were weak, and its
stalks were soft. One cold night the frost touched it
and it fell in a heap on the ground; not even the old
pine tree could hold it up. And that was the end of
the proud little gourd-vine.