WHY THE EVERGREEN TREES NEVER LOSE THEIR LEAVES
BY FLORENCE HOLBROOK
WINTER was coming, and the birds had flown far to the south,
where the air was warm and they could find berries to eat.
One little bird had broken its wing and could not fly with
the others. It was alone in the cold world of frost and
snow. The forest looked warm, and it made its way to the
trees as well as it could, to ask for help.
First it came to a birch tree. "Beautiful birch tree," it
said, "my wing is broken, and my friends have flown away.
May I live among your branches till they come back to me?"
 "No, indeed," answered the birch tree, drawing her fair
green leaves away. "We of the great forest have our own
birds to help. I can do nothing for you."
"The birch is not very strong," said the little bird to
itself, "and it might be that she could not hold me easily.
I will ask the oak." So the bird said: "Great oak tree, you
are so strong, will you not let me live on your boughs till
my friends come back in the springtime?"
"In the springtime!" cried the oak. "That is a long way off.
How do I know what you might do in all that time? Birds are
always looking for something to eat, and you might even eat
up some of my acorns."
"It may be that the willow will be kind to me," thought the
bird, and it said: "Gentle willow, my wing is broken, and I
could not fly to the south with the other birds. May I live
on your branches till the springtime?"
The willow did not look gentle then, for she drew herself up
proudly and said: "Indeed, I do not know you, and we willows
never talk to people whom we do not know. Very likely there
are trees somewhere that will take in strange birds. Leave
me at once."
The poor little bird did not know what to do. Its wing was
not yet strong, but it began to fly away as well as it
could. Before it had gone far a
 voice was heard. "Little bird," it said, "where are you
"Indeed, I do not know," answered the bird sadly. "I am very
"Come right here, then," said the friendly spruce tree, for
it was her voice that had called.
"You shall live on my warmest branch all winter if you
"Will you really let me?" asked the little bird eagerly.
"Indeed, I will," answered the kind-hearted spruce tree. "If
your friends have flown away, it is time for the trees to
help you. Here is the branch where my leaves are thickest
"My branches are not very thick," said the friendly pine
tree, "but I am big and strong, and I can keep the North
Wind from you and the spruce."
"I can help, too," said a little juniper tree. "I can give
you berries all winter long, and every bird knows that
juniper berries are good."
So the spruce gave the lonely little bird a home; the pine
kept the cold North Wind away from it; and the juniper gave
it berries to eat. The other trees looked on and talked
"I would not have strange birds on my boughs," said the
"I shall not give my acorns away for any one," said the oak.
 "I never have anything to do with strangers," said the
willow, and the three trees drew their leaves closely about
In the morning all those shining, green leaves lay on the
ground, for a cold North Wind had come in the night, and
every leaf that it touched fell from the tree.
"May I touch every leaf in the forest?" asked the wind in
"No," said the Frost King. "The trees that have been kind to
the little bird with the broken wing may keep their leaves."
This is why the leaves of the spruce, the pine, and the
juniper are always green.
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