The Fir-Tree

The Fir-Tree

"The Fir-Tree" ("Grantræet") is a fairy tale by the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875). The tale was first published December 21, 1844 in Denmark. The work was later published in 1845 as a part of "Nye Eventyr" "(New Fairy Tales)". Andrew Lang included it in "The Pink Fairy Book". "The Fir Tree" is one of Andersen's most popular stories. It appears often in selected tales collections of his work and in illustrated storybook editions for children. Though not specifically a Christmas themed tale, "The Fir Tree" has taken a place among Christmas classics like Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and Moore's "A Visit from Saint Nicholas".


In the woods stood the prettiest little fir tree. It did not think of the warm sun and the fresh air; all it thought of was that it wanted to grow up. "Enjoy your youth", said the sunshine; but the little tree did not listen. A stork told of seeing older trees chopped down and used as masts and the little tree envied them. In the fall other trees were taken down and the sparrows told of seeing them decorated in houses. One year while still in its youth the tree was cut down for a Christmas tree. It was bought and decorated, and on Christmas Eve all the festivities surrounded it. The children asked for a story, and got that of Humpty Dumpty (rather than Henny Penny). The next day, the tree expected the festivities to go on, and to hear the story again, but servants took it down, and threw it into the lumber room. It talked with mice, and they came to hear the story, but since it was the only one it knew, they did not come again. In the spring the tree was dragged out into the yard and a boy took a golden star from it. The tree was burned and the happiest day of its life was over, the tree was over and this story with it. Over, over, as all stories will be.

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