THE LITTLE TREE THAT LONGED FOR OTHER LEAVES
BY FRIEDRICH RÜCHERT (TRANSLATED)
 THERE was a little tree that stood in the woods through both
good and stormy weather, and it was covered from top to
bottom with needles instead of leaves. The needles were
sharp and prickly, so the little tree said to itself:—
"All my tree comrades have beautiful green leaves, and I
have only sharp needles. No one will touch me. If I could
have a wish I would ask for leaves of pure gold."
When night came the little tree fell asleep, and, lo! in the
morning it woke early and found itself covered with
glistening, golden leaves.
"Ah, ah!" said the little tree, "how grand I am! No other
tree in the woods is dressed in gold."
But at evening time there came a peddler with a great sack
and a long beard. He saw the glitter of the golden leaves.
He picked them all and hurried away leaving the little tree
cold and bare.
"Alas! alas!" cried the little tree in sorrow; "all my
golden leaves are gone! I am ashamed
 to stand among the other trees that have such beautiful
foliage. If I only had another wish I would ask for leaves
Then the little tree fell asleep, and when it woke early, it
found itself covered with bright and shining leaves of
"Now," said the little tree, "I am happy. No tree in the
woods glistens like me."
But there came a fierce storm-wind driving through the
woods. It struck the glass, and in a moment all the shining
leaves lay shattered on the ground.
"My leaves, my glass leaves!" moaned the little tree; "they
lie broken in the dust, while all the other trees are still
dressed in their beautiful foliage. Oh! if I had another
wish I would ask for green leaves."
Then the little tree slept again, and in the morning it was
covered with fresh, green foliage. And it laughed merrily,
and said: "Now, I need not be ashamed any more. I am like my
comrades of the woods."
But along came a mother-goat, looking for grass and herbs
for herself and her young ones. She saw the crisp, new
leaves; and she nibbled, and nibbled, and nibbled them all
away, and she ate up both stems and tender shoots, till the
little tree stood bare.
"Alas!" cried the little tree in anguish, "I
 want no more leaves, neither gold ones nor glass ones, nor
green and red and yellow ones! If I could only have my
needles once more, I would never complain again."
And sorrowfully the little tree fell asleep, but when it saw
itself in the morning sunshine, it laughed and laughed and
laughed. And all the other trees laughed, too, but the
little tree did not care. Why did they laugh? Because in the
night all its needles had come again! You may see this for
yourself. Just go into the woods and look, but do not touch
the little tree. Why not? Because it pricks.
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