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little baskets on the branches, and each basket was full of sweets. More than a hundred red, blue, and white little candles were fixed among the branches. Dolls, too, and other toys, were placed among the boughs, and at the very top of the tree was a star of gold tinsel. It was beautiful-very beautiful.
Oh,” thought the tree, “if it were but night, and the tapers lighted! I wonder what will happen then!
Will the trees come from the forest to see me, and the sparrows look at me through the panes of glass ? I should like to know whether I shall grow here, and be decked out like this, summer and winter."
The candles were now lighted, and how bright, how beautiful it was! The tree trembled in all its branches for joy.
And now 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 is certain it would have been thrown down. At last the children became tired of their sport, and went away for the night; and no one thought of the tree except the old nurse, who came and peeped among the branches to see if a fig or an apple had not been left on it.
The tree was filled with joy to think that the next night it would be decked out in the same manner, with lights and playthings, fruit and gold. “To-morrow I shall tremble," it thought. “I will enjoy all my splendour, and hope it may last yet a long time.” The tree stood in deep thought the whole night.
The next morning the servants came in.
“Now," thought the tree, “it's going to begin again;" but they took it out of the room, upstairs, into the loft, and there placed it in a dark corner, where daylight never reached. What can be the meaning of this ?” thought the tree.
“ What am I going to do here, and what shall I hear, I wonder ?"
It leaned against the wall, and thought for many days and nights, for nobody came up; and when at last some one did come, it was to bring up some large boxes to stand in the corner. The tree was quite hidden, and, as it seemed, forgotten as well.
"It is now winter," the tree thought. “The earth is hard and covered with snow, so that men cannot plant me, so most likely I am to stay here till the spring comes. How good and thoughtful men are! though I wish it were not quite so dark
here. There is not even a hare to be seen. Oh, how grand it was out in the It is very
forest, when the snow lay on the ground, and the hare came running past, even when it jumped over me, though I did not like it! lonely up here ?"
“Squeak! squeak !” 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 cheeses lie 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 firtree?"
“I have not been there,” the tree replied ; “but I know the forest, where the sun shines, and the birds sing. And then it told the mice all about its youth; and the little mice, who had not heard anything of the sort before, listened with all their ears, and said, “What a great deal
seen, and how happy you have been !"
“Why happy ?” said the fir-tree, and then it thought over all it had been telling. “Yes, after all, those were happy times;" and then it told them about Christmas Eve, when it was covered with cakes and tapers.
Oh," said the little mice, “how happy you have been, you old fir-tree !"
“I'am not at all old," the tree replied; "it was only this winter I was brought from the forest, and I am just in the prime of life.”
“How nicely you talk," said the little mice; and the next night they came again with four others to listen to it; and the more it talked of the past, the more it was able to call to mind; and it thought, “ Yes, those were happy times, but they may come again--yes, they may come again.”
Then the tree told the mice a story, which they thought very pretty; and they gave such an account of the wonders the fir-tree had to relate, that many more mice came to listen to it, and on Sunday even two rats came with the others. But the rats did not think the story pretty, which vexed the little mice, and they now thought less of it themselves.
"Do you only know that one story ?” asked the rats.
“Oply that one,” replied the tree; "and that I heard in the happiest night of my life; but then I did not properly feel how happy I was.
It is a most wretched story,” the rats said. "We are terribly hungry; 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 shut up here. 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 will begin again,” the tree thought, for it felt the fresh air, and the rays of the sun. It was now in the yard, and this was close to the garden, where everything was beautiful and fresh. “Now I shall begin life again,” said the fir-tree, and it stretched out its branches. But, oh dear! they were quite dry and yellow, though the goldpaper star still dangled at the top of it.
Two merry children, who had danced round the fir-tree on Christmas Eve, were playing in the yard, and one of them, seeing the star, ran and tore it off. Just look what was hanging on the ugly old fir-tree,” said he; and he trampled on the branches, and they cracked again.
“All is over now!" the poor tree said. Oh, had I but enjoyed myself while I could! All is over."
Then a servant came, and chopped the tree into pieces, and carried it as a bundle of sticks into the house. Brightly the tree was burning under the large kitchen kettle; and as one piece of wood after another was thrown on, it sighed heavily, and each sigh was as the report of a small pistol.
The children came running into the kitchen to listen, and seating themselves at the fire, they cried, “puff! puff!" but at each sigh, the tree thought of a bright summer's day in the forest, or of a winter's night when the stars twinkled-and then it was burnt up. THE STRAWBERRIES AND CURRANTS.
CURR. Henry and Richard had two little gardens, which their father had given them, and in which they were allowed to plant what flowers or roots they might think proper. Henry went and asked the gardener what flowers or plants he had better