Andersen's Fairy Tales
"Oh, were I but old enough to fly across the sea! But how does the sea look in reality?
What is it like?"
"That would take a long time to explain," said the Stork, and with these words off he went.
"Rejoice in thy growth!" said the Sunbeams. "Rejoice in thy vigorous growth, and in the
fresh life that moveth within thee!"
And the Wind kissed the Tree, and the Dew wept tears over him; but the Fir understood it
When Christmas came, quite young trees were cut down: trees which often were not even
as large or of the same age as this Fir Tree, who could never rest, but always wanted to be
off. These young trees, and they were always the finest looking, retained their branches;
they were laid on carts, and the horses drew them out of the wood.
"Where are they going to?" asked the Fir. "They are not taller than I; there was one indeed
that was considerably shorter; and why do they retain all their branches? Whither are they
"We know! We know!" chirped the Sparrows. "We have peeped in at the windows in the
town below! We know whither they are taken! The greatest splendor and the greatest
magnificence one can imagine await them. We peeped through the windows, and saw them
planted in the middle of the warm room and ornamented with the most splendid things,
with gilded apples, with gingerbread, with toys, and many hundred lights!
"And then?" asked the Fir Tree, trembling in every bough. "And then? What happens
"We did not see anything more: it was incomparably beautiful."
"I would fain know if I am destined for so glorious a career," cried the Tree, rejoicing.
"That is still better than to cross the sea! What a longing do I suffer! Were Christmas but
come! I am now tall, and my branches spread like the others that were carried off last year!
Oh! were I but already on the cart! Were I in the warm room with all the splendor and
magnificence! Yes; then something better, something still grander, will surely follow, or
wherefore should they thus ornament me? Something better, something still grander must
follow--but what? Oh, how I long, how I suffer! I do not know myself what is the matter
"Rejoice in our presence!" said the Air and the Sunlight. "Rejoice in thy own fresh youth!"
But the Tree did not rejoice at all; he grew and grew, and was green both winter and
summer. People that saw him said, "What a fine tree!" and towards Christmas he was one
of the first that was cut down. The axe struck deep into the very pith; the Tree fell to the
earth with a sigh; he felt a pang--it was like a swoon; he could not think of happiness, for