The Fir Tree

Based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen

 Stave 1

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

Of branches.

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

All around

A hare bound

And sprang

Right over the little fir tree.


The Fir Tree Stave 1

Image found on


Stave 2

In autumn

The fir tree

Trembled to see



The tallest trees


To the ground

With a groan

And a crash.

Stripped naked,

They were loaded

Onto wagons

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;


The fresh

Air and sun,

In which

It felt no

Pleasure –

It just grew

And grew.

The Fir Tree Stave 2

Image found on


Stave 3

 By Christmas,

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.


The Fir Tree Stave 3

Image found on


Stave 4

 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.

Before long,

The tree was gone,

And all that was left was the star.


The Fir Tree Stave 4

Image found on


© Kim M. Russell, 2015