The Littlest Fir Tree

Deep in the middle of the forest, where the trees grew thick and green and tall, a group of fir trees grew close together. They grew and grew towards the light, so they grew very straight and very tall. But one of the trees, although it was green and sturdy, didn't grow as tall as its brothers and so had to spend all day looking up to them, and had to just listen while they talked amongst themselves.

These trees knew they were special, and that one day they would be taken and used for wonderful things. Every day they would talk about what they would like to become.

 

"I will become a telegraph pole," said the very tallest of the trees, "and I will carry the wires so the people can talk to each other even though they are miles and miles apart."

"I will be a mast on a great ship, so it can sail all around the world - I will see places and things you can only dream of," said another tree.

 

"They will use MY timber to build houses for the people to live in," said another tree, "I will be VERY useful."

Every day the fir trees talked about what they would like to become, and every day the littlest fir tree just listened.

Although the little tree had sturdy branches with thick green needles growing all along them, its trunk wasn't quite straight, and it was so small it knew it would never be made into a telegraph pole, or a tall ship, or even a house.

The littlest fir tree was very sad.

The days grew shorter and the nights grew colder, and then it began to snow.

The trees began to complain : "What if all this snow breaks my branches?" wondered one. "What if the weight of the snow bends my nice straight trunk?" thought the tree who wanted to be a telegraph pole.

None of the big trees liked the snow.

The littlest fir tree thought the snow was very nice - it made everything look pretty, and besides, its soft covering was like a blanket and protected the tiny new buds on the ends of its branches from the sharp frosts and cold winds. The littlest fir tree LIKED the snow.

In the middle of the winter the snow was very deep and covered everything with a cold white blanket. There wasn't a sound to be heard - the birds had all flown off to warmer lands, and even the trees were quiet.

Suddenly, in the distance, they heard voices! Even the tallest, oldest trees began to get excited. "Perhaps they are coming to take me to be a telegraph pole!" said the tallest tree. "Maybe now I will go to far-away places as the mast of a ship!" cried another. The trees started to rustle their branches and talk amongst themselves.

Then they all stopped in surprise. Along the path came two children, dragging a small wooden sledge behind them. They seemed to be looking for something.

"Look!" shouted one of the children, "Here it is! This is the best tree!" The tall trees were all filled with pride, for each one thought it was the best tree, and just knew it was the tree the children were looking at.

 
Imagine how surprised they were when both of the children went across to the LITTLEST tree and stood admiring it. Then they got out a spade and started to dig. The big trees couldn't understand it, what did they want with such a little tree? They watched as the children dug the tree up, loaded it onto their sledge and dragged it off back along the path.

The littlest fir tree lay on the sledge, a little bit frightened and a little bit excited. Carefully the children dragged the sledge along the path and out of the forest. They pulled it across the snow until they came to a little house, then they lifted the tree off the sledge and carried it inside.

The littlest fir tree didn't know WHAT to expect, but even so it was very surprised when the children lifted it gently upright again, and placed its roots carefully in a pot and covered them with soil.

It was even MORE surprised when the children fetched a box of brightly coloured things and began to hang them on its branches.

They hung more and more things on the littlest tree and then, just when it seemed they had finished, the smallest child climbed on a chair and put a bright sparkly star on the very top of the tree.

Then they all jumped around and clapped. "Look at our tree! It's the BEST Christmas tree in the world!!" they shouted.

The littlest fir tree was so proud! "I may be the littlest fir tree, but just look at me now!"



Story and illustrations Dianne Davies 2001. All rights reserved