Based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen
In a forest, in a good spot
With sunshine and plenty of air.
Stood a little fir tree,
So eager to grow up
It didn’t think about warm sun or fresh air
Or children chattering
And berry gathering.
The children exclaimed
That the fir tree was charming
And little –
Not what the fir tree wanted to hear.
The next year it was a full length taller
And carried on growing year after year,
Layer upon layer
The little fir tree wished
It were as big as the other trees
In the forest, branches unfurled
And gazing on the wide world;
Birds would build nests,
And when the wind blew
It would nod grandly.
But when winter came,
And snow glittered white
A hare bound
Right over the little fir tree.
Image found on hca.gilead.org.il
The fir tree
Trembled to see
The tallest trees
To the ground
With a groan
And a crash.
They were loaded
And driven away.
In spring, the swallows returned
And the stork appeared,
Singing songs of oceans and ships
With magnificent mast trees that smelled of fir.
When Christmas came around,
Quite young trees were chopped down;
The sparrows told the fir tree a story
Of trees in houses in the town,
Decorated with gilded apples,
Gingerbread, toys and hundreds of candles.
The fir tree yearned for Christmas,
To be carried away and dressed in splendour and glory;
Air and sun,
It felt no
It just grew
Image found on hans-christian-andersens.blogspot.com
The fir tree had grown
Into such a dark green tree,
It was first to be chopped down;
The axe bit deep and keen
And it toppled with a groan.
On a horse-drawn sleigh,
The tree was driven into town,
To a house where servants in livery
Carried it to an ornate room,
Filled with portraits and other finery,
And planted it a large wooden tub
Of sand and soil, tied with a red bow.
Oh, how the tree trembled with anticipation,
When servants and maids adorned
Its branches with all manner of decoration:
Gilded walnuts and silver apples;
Candy canes and baskets filled with sweets;
Wooden toys and hundreds of candles;
And on the topmost branch a star.
Tonight, they said, the tree will shine!
It couldn’t wait for eventide,
When the candles were lit,
A crowd of children rushed in
And danced around with glee.
It trembled in anxiety
As the candles burned
All the way to its boughs
And the children
Plundered the tree.
Image found on parabola.org
The next morning,
The fir tree waited
To be decorated,
But it was dragged to the attic,
Amongst trunks and boxes,
With rats and mice for company.
At first, the mice were friendly,
Scurrying in and out of its branches,
Listening to its stories.
But eventually, they disappeared
And the tree was all alone.
Until, one morning, servants came
And carried it out to where
It could feel fresh air
And the first rays of the sun;
See roses, fresh and fragrant.
The blossom on the linden
And swallows overhead.
The fir tree rejoiced and spread its branches wide,
Withered and yellow from being inside,
The Christmas star still shimmering and golden.
A child spotted the star, clambered up
And plucked it from the top.
Then a servant chopped the tree into little pieces
And lit them under a copper cauldron.
Oh how the fir tree flared and sighed,
Snapped and crackled,
While it remembered summer days
And winter nights in the forest,
And the excitement and splendour
Of Christmas Eve.
The tree was gone,
And all that was left was the star.
Image found on storyberries.com
© Kim M. Russell, 2015