THE DISCONTENTED TREE
LITTLE tree stood in the midst of a forest. Instead of
leaves, it was covered with fine, sharp needles, which
pricked the fingers if one sought to gather them. One
day the little tree said, in a complaining way, "All of
my comrades have beautiful leaves, and I have only
needles. No one comes near me; all pass me by. If I
could have my wish, I would have leaves of pure gold."
When night came, the little tree slept. On awaking
early in the morning, behold, it was clad in leaves of
shining gold! Oh, what a splendid appearance it made!
How it glistened in the sun! then the little tree said,
"Now I am proud. No other tree in the wood has golden
But as evening drew nigh, an old Jew, with a long
beard, came walking through the wood, carrying a heavy
sack on his shoulders. When he saw the tree, with its
brilliant, glittering foliage, he quickly plucked the
golden leaves, one by one, thrust them into his sack,
and hastened away, leaving the tree empty and shorn.
Then the poor little tree was overcome with grief and
vexation. "The golden leaves have only been a trouble
to me. How ashamed I shall be before the other trees!
If I could only have another wish, I would wish for
leaves of pure glass."
The little tree slept again; and again, on waking,
behold, another surprise! All the branches were filled
with lovely glass leaves! How they danced in the
sunbeams! "Ah!" said the little tree, "now I am happy!
No tree in the woods glitters as I do!" But soon there
arose a great storm, with a mighty wind, which came
rushing through the forest, and when it had passed,
there lay the glass leaves shattered and broken upon
the grass. Then the little tree said, sorrowfully,
"See, now, there lie my beautiful glass leaves in the
dust, and the other trees with their green leaves stand
unharmed! If I still could wish, I would have green
Again the tree slept, and in the morning it was clothed
in green. Then
 the little tree laughed aloud and
said: "Now I have leaves like the others, and have no
cause for shame!" there came along just then an old
goat, looking for food for her young. She saw the
little tree, and in a twinkling stripped it of all its
leaves. Once more the poor little tree stood forlorn,
with its empty branches, and said: "I will wish for no
more leaves, neither green, yellow, nor red. If I had
only my needles back, I would not complain!"
Sorrowfully the little tree went to sleep, and
sorrowfully it waked. Then it saw itself in the bright
sunshine, and laughed, and laughed, and all the trees
laughed with it; for in one night it had received again
all its needles. Now at last it was content, and
indulged no longer in foolish wishes.