| For the Children's Hour|
|by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey|
|A choice collection of stories for the preschool child, carefully selected, adapted, and arranged by two veteran kindergarten teachers. Includes nature stories, holiday stories, fairy tales and fables, as well as stories of home life. Emphasis is placed on fanciful tales for their value in the training of the imagination and on cumulative tales for developing a child's sense of humor and appealing to his instinctive love of rhyme and jingle. Ages 4-7 |
THE PINE TREE
C. S. B. Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen.
IN the woods there lived a nice little Pine Tree. He
stood where the sun and the fresh air could get at him.
Around him grew many comrades—other pines and big firs.
But the little Pine wished so much to be a grown-up
Sometimes the cottage children ran about near the
little Tree to hunt for wild strawberries and
raspberries; and they would sit down near to his roots
and say: "Oh, what a nice little fellow!" And the
Tree could not bear to hear them.
In a year he shot up a good deal, and the next year he
was still taller; but yet, when it was winter and the
snow lay glittering about, a little Hare would come
leaping along and would jump right over the little
Tree. Oh, it made him so angry!
"I wish I were as big as the others," cried the little
Tree. "Then I could look out into the wide world."
In the fall the wood-cutters always came and cut down
some of the tallest trees in the forest. The trees
fell to the earth with noise and cracking, the branches
were lopped off, and the trunks were drawn off in
"I wonder where they go," thought the little Pine Tree,
and he asked the Swallow and the Stork about it.
 "Yes, we have met them," said the Stork. "They
are made into new ships which flit across the water."
"Oh, I wish I were old enough to fly across the sea,"
sighed the little Pine Tree.
When Christmas came, the youngest trees were cut down,
and these always kept their branches, and they, also,
were carried away from the forest in sledges. The
little Tree wondered very much what became of them.
"Oh, we know," chirped the Sparrows. "We peeped in the
windows down in the town, and we saw them standing in
warm rooms, all dressed up with gilded apples, and
gingerbread, and toys, and hundreds of lights."
"Ah!" cried the little Tree, "perhaps, some day, I
shall sparkle, too, like that."
So he stood, a rich green in the forest, through the
winter and the summer, and just grew and grew.
Everybody looked at him.
"What a fine tree!" they said; and toward Christmas
they cut him down with an axe, close to the ground.
When he came to himself he was being carried into a
large and splendid room. He trembled with joy as they
stuck him into a cask filled with sand and wrapped the
cask all about with a green cloth, that it might not
show. On one branch they hung little nets cut out of
colored paper; there were gilded apples and walnuts
hung everywhere; and more than a hundred colored tapers
were stuck into the ends of his twigs. There were
wonderful dolls that looked, for all the world, like
real persons, and they fluttered among the branches.
On the very top was fixed a large, gold star.
 "Oh," thought the little Tree, "now I am
splendid. I wonder if the other trees from the forest
will come and look at me. I wonder if the Sparrows
will beat against the window-panes. I wonder if I
shall stay dressed like this all summer."
But the candles were lighted and a troop of merry
children rushed in. They shouted and danced about the
Tree, and they pulled the presents from off the
"What are they about?" thought the Tree.
And the lights burned down to the very branches. The
children danced about with their pretty toys, and then
they all sat down under the Tree and cried: "A story!
So a queer, jolly little man told them the fairy story
of how Klumpy Dumpy tumbled downstairs and came to the
throne, after all, and married the princess.
"This is all quite strange," thought the Pine Tree, as
he stood very still and thoughtful. "The Sparrows
never told me anything like this. Perhaps I shall
tumble downstairs, too, and so get the princess." And
he waited with joy for the morning, when he should
again be decked with candles and toys.
But the next day they dragged him up the stairs and
left him in a corner, where no daylight could enter.
"What shall I hear or see, now?" said the Tree, as he
leaned against the wall and thought and thought. "The
earth is hard and covered with snow. How thoughtful
the people are! They have put me here under cover to
stay until the spring, and then they will plant me."
"Squeak! Squeak!" said a little Mouse, peeping at that
moment out of his hole. Another little one came
 out. They sniffed at the Pine Tree and rustled among
"It is dreadfully cold," said the little mouse. "Where
do you come from, old Pine Tree?"
Then the Pine Tree told the Mice about the woods, where
the sun shone and the little birds sang. He told his
story from his youth up; and about Christmas eve, when
he was decked out with cake and candles. And the
little Mice had never heard the like before.
The next night they came with four other Mice to hear
what the Tree had to tell. They sat about and told him
of a wonderful larder they knew, where cheeses lay on
the shelves and hams hung from above; where one danced
about on tallow candles, and went in lean and came out
fat. And the Tree, not to be outdone, told the story
of Klumpy Dumpy, who married a princess. Next night
two more Mice came, and on Sunday two Rats, even.
But one morning there came a number of people to the
attic. The trunks were moved and the Tree was pulled
out and taken down the stairs once more. So he felt
the fresh air and the first sunbeam.
"Now I shall be planted!" he said with joy, as he
spread wide his branches; but—dear, dear!—they were all
dry and yellow! He lay in a corner among the weeds and
nettles, with the golden star still hanging upon his
topmost branch, shining in the sunlight.
In the courtyard were some of the merry children who
had danced about the Tree on Christmas Day; and they
were very glad to see him again. They began dancing
around him as he stood in his corner there—among the
nettles—but the gardener's boy came and chopped the
Tree into a whole heap of small pieces. He set fire to
them, and the children ran to where it
 lay, and
sat down before the fire, and peeped into the blaze.
And the Tree thought once more of the summer days in
the wood and the winter night when the stars shone. He
thought of the Sparrows and the Hare. He remembered
the toys and the Christmas candles and the story of
Klumpy Dumpy—the only fairy story that he had ever
heard—and so the little Tree burned out.
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