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The little sapling oak tree!
Its root was like a thread,
Then out it freely spread.
It grappled with the ground,
Its firmest footing found.
The gusty tempests blew;
And stronger yet it grew.
He feeble grew and gray;
And strengthened every day.
Nor does its verdure fail;
Its bark the plaited mail.
The monarch of the wood,
We'll build a vessel good.
Both east and west shall fly,
Upon our ship shall lie.
Nor a pirate shall she be,
THE FRETFUL FIR.-PART J. Cap'-i-tal Ceil'-ing Shud'-der State'-ly
Wag'-gon Christ'-mas Ex-pec-ta'-tion Sur'-vey Swai'-lows Cher'-uped Im-me'-di-ate-ly Au'-tumn Hith'-er Com-pan'-ions Or’-na-ment Wal'-nuts E'-gypt Com'-fort-a-ble En-twined'
A pretty little fir-tree once stood in the forest. It had a capital place, which was open to the sunshine and the air, and around it grew many of its taller brothers. But none of these things had any value in the eyes of the little fir tree
it only wished to grow tall. “O that I were a tall tree,” it said; “ then I should be able to stretch my branches out so far, and lift my head so high, as to take a survey of the wide world around me.'
In the autumn, wood-cutters came and felled some of the largest trees; and the young fir, which had now grown to a good height, felt a shudder; for the stately trees fell crashing to the earth; their boughs were hewn away; and they were put upon drays and dragged out of the wood. “ Where can they be going to ?” thought the little fir-tree.
In the spring, when the storks and swallows came, the little fir-tree said to them, “ Did you meet the tall firs on the way?” “I met,” replied the stork, a great number of ships as I flew hither from Egypt; in these ships there were stately masts; and I will be bound they were the firs, for they had the smell of firs about them.” Oh, if I were but tall enough to sail across the sea !” said the little fir-tree.
When Christmas drew near, quite young trees were cut down-trees that were neither so tall nor so old as this fretful fir-tree, that was always wishing to be off. These young trees were laid on waggons with all their and drawn away out of the wood.
can they be going to ?" said the fir-tree.
“ We know, we know," cheruped the sparrows: we have peeped in at the windows, and seen young trees planted straight upright in the middle of nice warm rooms, and tricked out with such fine things-apples, nuts, pretty toys, and hundreds of candles.” “ That is better than sailing across the sea,” shouted the joyful fir-tree; “how I long to be among them! oh, to think of being in the waggon, and then in the warm room, with all those fine things hanging on one; and there must be something better after all than that, or else why should they deck one out so ?”
The little fir-tree grew taller and taller, and next year, at Christmas-time, it was cut down the first of all. The axe cut through to the marrow, and the tree fell to the earth with a sigh. It felt a pain and faintnessit could not think of being happy then. It felt sad, too, at parting from its home—the spot where it had shot up so fairly; and it feared it would never see its old companions again, the little bushes and flowers around it, perhaps not even the birds.
The journey on the waggon had nothing comfortable about it; nor did the little fir-tree come properly to itself, till after being taken out of the cart, it heard a man say, “ This is a beautiful one; this will do.” It was now carried into a fine drawing-room, and placed in a large tub filled with sand; but no one could see that it was a tub, for it was hung all round with green twigs, and was standing on a gay carpet. Oh,how the tree trembled with expectation! Immediately both the servants and the ladies began to ornament it. They stuck apples and walnuts upon it; and above a hundred red, blue, and white little candles were fastened to its branches. Dolls, too, and other toys were entwined with the green; and at the top of all shone a spangled gold star. Next the candles were lighted—and how
bright, how beautiful it was ! The tree trembled in all its branches with joy. But, behold, the folding doors
were thrown open, and a troop of children rushed in. They danced round the tree, and shouted, till the lights burned down to the branches, and were put out. Then, having leave to plunder the tree, they rushed wildly at it, till all its branches cracked again; and if it had not been fastened to the ceiling by the gold star at the top of it, it must certainly have been thrown down. At last the children became weary of their sport, and retired for the night; and no one thought about the tree, except the old nurse who came and peeped among the branches to see if a fig or apple had not been forgotten.
THE FRETFUL FIR-PART II.
Sigh'-ing In the morning the footman and the housemaid came into the drawing-room. Now," thought the ree,
my fine dress is going to be put on again.” But they dragged it out of the room, up the stairs, to the garret-floor, and there they placed it in a dark corner where the daylight never shone. 66 What can this mean? what am I to do here ?” thought the tree; and it leaned against the wall thinking and thinking. Time enough it had to do so, for days and weeks passed, and yet no one came near it. “ It must be winter now, thought the tree; “ the earth is hard and covered with snow, men cannot plant me; so most likely I am to
stay here under shelter till the spring comes: how welladvised that is ! how good men are!—though I wish it were not quite so dark and dismal here."
Pip, pip,” said a little mouse, as he popped out of his hole, and snuffed at the fir tree: “ Can you tell me how to get to the pantry where cheese lies on the shelves, and hams are hanging from the ceiling, where you can go in lean, and come out fat? Can you tell me this, you old fir-tree ?”
“I am not old,” said the fir-tree; nor do I know anything about the pantry; but I know the wood very well, where the sun shines, and the little birds sing." "You are a stupid old tree,” said the little mouse, and went back to its hole.
The next night two rats came. We are terribly hungry,” said the rats; “ do you know where we shall find bacon or tallow-candles, you old fir-tree ?” “I am not old,” said the tree; " and I never saw bacon." " Then good luck to you,” replied the rats; and so saying they went back to their friends.
But the fir-tree was not to be always a prisoner. One morning people came to set things to rights in the garret; and finding the tree there, they pulled it out, and dragged it down stairs into the daylight. “ Now life begins again,” thought the tree, for it felt the fresh air and the first beams of the sun. Presently it was in the yard again. The yard was close to a garden, where everything was in bloom. The roses hung over the light trellis-work, full of freshness and perfume; the linden-trees were in blossom; and the swallows flew about singing “Quirre-virrart.” “Now I shall begin life again,” cried the fir-tree; and it stretched out its branches. But, alas ! they were all dry and yellow, though the gold-paper star still dangled at its top, and glittered in the sunshine.
Some of the merry-hearted children who had danced round the tree at Christmas, were playing in the yard.