Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Gather 'Round! It's STORYTIME!!

I was thumbing through Noah's bookshelf the other night, trying to find something to read to him before bed, when I stumbled upon this book I had been ignoring all year because it was a Christmas story. Well, what better time, right? I pulled it out and snuggled down with Noah.

It was one of the books that came in a big box passed down to me from my mom from her teaching days. It's called The Fir Tree, and it's by Hans Christian Anderson.
Oh, what's that you say?? You have never HEARD of the Fir Tree???

Oh well! May I enlighten you??

Cuz, really, you are gonna love this one! One of those books with a truly heartwarming ending. Well, maybe not HEART warming, but definately warm.

Gather round, children, while I tell you the story of the little Fir Tree!!

Once upon a time, there was a little fir tree that lived in the forest. It was a small tree and it wished it was a big grand tree like the other trees around it. "Oh, to grow and be old! That is the only fine thing in the world!!" it said.

At Christmastime every year, the big grand trees would get chopped down and carried away. The little tree asked the sparrows where those trees were going. "Oh", said the sparrows, "those trees are planted in warm rooms and decorated with beautiful things and songs are sung and stories told around them!! We have seen this through the windows of their houses!"

The little tree really, really REALLY wanted to grow up now!

Then one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say...

I mean, then one Christmas, after the tree had grown to a respectable size, a family did come and cut down the tree, and carried it off to their home. It was put in a bright corner of a warm room, decorated with beautiful things, and a glorious star was put up on top like a crown! At last, the doors were thrown open and a number of kids raced in and practically knocked it down trying to get to their presents.

When the mayhem calmed down, the grandpa of the family told a wonderful story to the children about Klumpey Dumpey (that's what it said!) who fell down the stairs and married a princess. (???) The tree just LOVED the story and as all the kids were ushered off to bed, the little tree thought...

"Gee! That was a blast! I can't wait until tomorrow when we can do it all again!! Whoooo-hooo!"

The next morning the servents came in (the servents??) and the little fir tree thought, "Oh yay! They are going to spruce me up (is that where the phrase came from?? decorating trees?) and we can do it all over again!"
But the servents grabbed him and dragged him from the room, up the back stairs and into the attic where they unceremoniously dumped him in the corner.
He stayed there in the dark for many days, bewildered. Then it realized, "OH! Of course! It's winter outside! The ground is frozen! There is no way they could go and plant me again outside NOW! They must be waiting for spring!" He was terribly lonely in the dark. Until some mice came around.

The mice asked questions about where the tree had come from and so he told them the story about his life in the forest, and then the living room, and about Klumpey Dumpey. The mice ate it up, and brought back some friends the next night asking the tree to tell the story again and again. The tree was so pleased to finally have friends who really cared about him.

After a few nights, the mice asked if that Klumpey-Dumpey story was the ONLY story the tree knew? It was. They stopped coming back and the tree was alone again.

Many weeks went by, until one day, the servants once again threw open the door, through the tree roughly onto the floor and dragged it downstairs and outside. "Now I shall be PLANTED!!" the tree rejoiced! "I shall really live now!"
The servents tossed the tree off the porch into a corner amoung the weeds. The tree was brown and withered by now but the tinsel star still clung to the top and shown in the sunshine. At least the tree had that.
It gave the tree some happiness.

Some of the kids who had danced around the tree at Christmastime were playing nearby. It pleased the tree that when the kids saw him, they rushed over happily! But then the youngest boy ripped off the little star and jumped up and down upon the trees branches until they cracked and broke off.
The tree looked at itself and wished it had stayed in the attic.

And then the servant came out with an ax and chopped the tree into little pieces.

And then he gathered all the little pieces into a pile.
And then?
He set the little tree on fire.
As it burned and burned, the little boy played nearby with the golden star that the tree had worn on its happiest evening.

What's the moral of the story, you ask???

Oh that's easy! Enjoy life while you can, kid, stop wishing you were a grownup, because when you grow up, you end up betrayed, alone, people stop wanting to hear your stories, and then you get left alone and you die.

So, live it up kids!!

And have a Merry Christmas!!!


Snowbird said...

Boy, Hans must have been having a Scrooge moment when he wrote that story! I gave you that book??? Geez, I'm sorry! I guess I never read it. And you read this to Noah??? Hope he doesn't have nightmares tonight.

Cindy said...

That is the saddest book EVER!!! Although I was cracking up throughout your entire retelling of the book. I wonder if my artifical tree will be sad when I put it back in the box on Jan. 2? ;)

Shama-Lama Mama said...

Yes, I read this to Noah! I was near tears by the end, giggling and sad, incredulous that this was actually a Christmas story for kids!

Snowbird said...

And how did Noah take the story? Was he giggling and sad too?????