| Kindergarten Gems|
|by Agnes Taylor Ketchum|
|A full collection of stories and rhymes for the youngest listeners. In addition to the usual fairy tales, folk tales, and fables, there are numerous stories about animals, tales of everyday doings, and stories of the seasons. The material is conveniently arranged in groups, with several stories and rhymes for each holiday and season throughout the year. Numerous black and white illustrations complement the text. Ages 4-8 |
THE PINE TREE.
UT in the woods stood a nice little Pine tree. The place he had was
a very good one; the sun shone on him, and round him grew many
large-sized comrades, firs as well as pines. But the little Pine wanted so
very much to be a grown-up tree. The children ran about him and prattled
when they were in the woods looking for wild strawberries. They often
came with a pan full of berries and sat down near the young tree, and
said, "Oh, how pretty he is! what a nice little Pine!"
At the end of a year he had shot up a good deal, and after another
year he was another long bit taller. "Oh, were I but such a high tree as
the others are!" sighed he. "Then I should be able to spread out my
branches, and the birds would build their nests in them." Neither the
sunbeams, nor the birds, nor the beautiful clouds which sailed above him, gave
the little tree any pleasure.
In the autumn, the wood-cutter came and felled some of the largest
trees. The little Pine then trembled at the sight; the big trees fell to
the earth with a noise, the branches were lopped off, and then they were
laid into carts, and the horses dragged them out of the wood. The Pine
wondered what would become of them, and in spring when the swallows
and storks returned, he asked them if they could tell him.
The swallows did not know anything about, it; but a, wise stork nodded
his head, and said, "Yes, I think I know, I met many ships as I was flying
hither from Egypt, and noticed that the magnificent masts were made of the
"Oh, I wish I was old enough to go across the sea! How does the sea
look? What is it like?"
"It would take too long to explain," said the stork, and with these
words off he went.
When Christmas came, young trees were cut down, laid in the carts,
and the horses drew them out of the woods.
 "Where are they going to?" asked the Pine. "Why do they retain
all their branches?"
"We know! we know!" chirped the sparrows, "we peeped in at the
windows in the town below! we saw them planted
in the middle of a warm
room and ornamented with
the most splendid things—with gilded apples, with
toys, with gingerbread,
and many hundred
"And then?" asked
the Pine tree, trembling in
every bough, "What happened then?"
"We did not see anything more; it was very
"Were Christmas but
come! I am very tall and
my branches spread like
the trees that were carried off last year! Oh,
were I in the warm room
with all the splendor!"
The tree grew and
grew, and was green both
winter and summer. People that saw him said, "What a fine tree!" When
Christmas came he was one of the first that was cut down. The axe struck
deep; the tree fell to the earth with a sigh. Although he had wished to
go, he could not think of happiness, for he was sad to leave his home and
 all his dear old comrades. He would never again see the little bushes and
flowers, and perhaps not even the dear little birds. The departure was not
at all agreeable.
He heard a man say, "That one is splendid! carry that Pine tree
into the large drawing room." Oh, how the tree quivered! What was to
happen? He was stuck upright into a cask that was filled with sand.
Then the servants, as well as the young ladies, decorated it. On one branch
they hung little chains made of colored paper; among the other branches
gilded apples and walnuts were suspended, and little blue and white tapers
were placed among the leaves. Dolls were seen among the foliage, and at
the very top, a large star of gold was fixed. It was really
"This evening!" said they all, "how it will shine this evening."
"Oh, if evening were but come!" thought the tree. "If the tapers
were but lighted! And then I wonder what will happen!" He was so
impatient that for sheer longing he got a pain in his back.
Evening came at last; the candles were lighted. What splendor!
Suddenly both folding doors were opened, and a troop of children rushed in as
though they would upset the tree. The older persons followed quietly, and
then the little ones stood quite still. But it was only for a moment; then
they shouted and danced round the tree, and one present after another was
pulled off. Every evening for a week the tapers were lighted, and the
little Pine began to think this splendor should last forever. But no, he
When the lights were burned down to the branches, they were put
out, one after another, and then the children had permission to plunder
the tree. The next day he was dragged out of the room, and up stairs
into the loft; and here in a dark corner they left him.
"What does this mean?" thought the tree. "What am I to do here?"
Days and nights passed, and nobody came up, and when somebody did
come, it was only to put some trunks in a corner out of the way. It
seemed as if the little tree had been entirely forgotten.
 "Oh, how happy I was in the wood, only I did not know it!" said
the tree. "If I could only see the sunshine and the flowers and hear the
birds sing. I am so lonely here, if only some one would come! But I'll
take care to enjoy myself when I'm brought out again." But when was
that to be?
Why, one morning many people came and set to work in the loft.
The trunks were moved, the tree was pulled out and thrown down on the
floor, and then a man drew him towards the stair, where he could at least
see the daylight.
"Now a merry life; will begin again," thought the tree. He felt the
fresh air, the first sunbeams,—and now he was out in the yard.
All passed so quickly that the tree quite forgot to look to himself.
In the garden all was in flower; the roses hung so fresh and odorous
over the trellis, the lindens were in bloom, the swallows flew by and said,
"Quirre-rit, quirre-rit, spring has come!"
"Now then, I shall really enjoy life," said the tree, and spread out his
branches; but, alas! they were all withered and yellow.
It was in a corner that he lay, among weeds and nettles. The golden
star of tinsel was still on the top of the tree, and glittered in the sunshine.
Some of the children who had danced round him at Christmas time were
in the yard, and were glad at the sight of him.
The tree beheld all the beauty round him, and then as he beheld
himself, he wished he had remained in the dark corner in the loft. He thought
of his first youth in the wood, and of the merry Christmas Eve.
"'Tis over—'tis past!" said the poor tree. "Had I but rejoiced when
I had reason to do so! But now 'tis past, 'tis past!"
The gardener's son chopped the tree into small pieces; there was a
whole heap lying there. The wood flamed up splendidly under the large
brewing copper, and it sighed deeply! Each sigh was like a shot. All, all
was over; every tale must end at last.
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