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song of the pine tree.


from a childs story garden
Age Rating 8 plus.

Start of Story

It was a wee pine tree in a very large forest. It could not see anything around it, for the other pine trees about it were so very tall. They could only tell the little pine tree what they saw. At night the little tree would often gaze at the sky and the stars that peeped out. And sometimes the big, round moon would pass over the sky. And all day long, all that the little pine tree could see above it was the blue sky, and the beautiful white clouds that went sailing by like so many ships on the sea. The little pine tree wished to grow and be tall, like the rest of the trees, for it wanted to see what was in the world outside of the forest. The tall pine trees would sing songs as the wind whistled through their branches, and the little pine tree waited day after day, so that it might be tall and sing songs, too. When summer came the birds would rest on the branches of this wee tree, but would not build nests, because it was too low. When winter came little white snowflakes came fluttering down and rested on the branches of the little pine tree.



Year after year the little tree waited, but it grew all this time, and seemed to stretch higher and higher its beautiful green branches. One day, when the little snowflakes had fluttered down and made all the world white, and the wind was whistling a merry tune, the little pine tree heard some strange noises. The tall pine trees nodded their heads, for they knew who were coming. They were the woodmen. They had a sled with them, drawn by horses. The sight was strange to the pine tree, for it had never before seen woodmen, nor a sled, nor horses. But the old pine trees knew what it all meant, for they had seen the woodmen many times. They wondered which tree the woodmen would choose. Now, the little pine tree had grown, and it was not a wee tree any longer, but was a straight, strong, beautiful tree. The woodmen walked about with something very bright and shining in their hands. When they came to this pine tree they looked at it, shook it and sounded the ax against its trunk. How queer the pine tree felt! It wondered what they were going to do with it. Suddenly a sharp sound rang out in the air, and another, and still another one. And the pine tree felt itself swaying and swaying, and down it went, lower and lower, until its branches touched the soft white snow on the ground. The woodmen lifted the pine tree very carefully, placed it on the sled and drove the horses away. Pine Tree was happy now, for he was going to see something of the great, wonderful world.



The woodmen drove the horses out of the forest into the beautiful white world. On and on they went until at last they came to a little village by the sea. They drove through the village and into a great shipyard, where saws were buzzing, hammers were pounding, and busy men were hurrying about. Pine Tree had never seen anything like this before. He was lifted from the sled and his beautiful branches were taken from the trunk. Then he lay with, many other logs for a long time, until one day the carpenters took him away, and he found that he was helping to make a part of a ship. Boards were nailed on, and the busy carpenters worked day after day. At last the strong and stately ship was finished. It glided gracefully into the water and sailed away. Pine Tree was very happy now, for he was seeing new and strange things. The waves dashed carelessly against the ship. They seemed to have a song, too. Pine Tree had not forgotten the songs that the old pines used to sing. The waves did not always sing the same song--sometimes they would rush and roll against the ship very hard until they grew tired, and then they would roll on, and sing a quiet song again.



Sometimes the ship would stop at strange countries, people would get off, other people would get on, and then the ship would sail off out into the sea again. Now, the pine tree had been a part of the ship for many years, when one night while the ship was sailing the seas the waves grew so high and strong that the parts of the ship could not stay together. So Pine Tree was thrown out upon the angry waves and was rocked all night long--very roughly at first, but gently afterwards. When the sunshine looked down upon the sand the next morning it saw Pine Tree. Pine Tree lay there many days. How lonesome Pine Tree was! He seemed to hear the songs of the old pines, and sometimes the songs of the waves. One day he heard another song. It was a new song to the pine tree, for the song was sung by some little children who were digging in the sand close by. They came here every day to play, and once a man came with them. When he saw Pine Tree lying upon the sand he said: "This is just what I have been looking for. I will use this for the ridge-pole for my little cottage." So he took Pine Tree away with him. After a time Pine Tree found himself a part of the man's cottage, and, of course, he could not hear the songs of the forest, nor the songs of the waves, but he heard new songs. They were rock-a-bye-baby songs that the mother in this little cottage would sing to her children in the evening, when it was time for them to go to sleep.



Years passed, and the children grew to be men and women, and after a while all the songs Pine Tree heard were those of the grandmother, which were soft and low. At last these, too, were heard no more--the little cottage grew quiet and everything was still. Pine Tree wondered where everybody was. The only company he had were the birds that came in through the window and built nests in the attic. Now the cottage was no longer a home, but was used as a barn, and the gentle cows, the woolly sheep and the kind horses rested there at night. They, too, seemed to sing a song to Pine Tree, but by and by even their song could not be heard--nothing but the wind and the owls in the trees outside--because what had once been the cottage, and then a barn, was now a forsaken little hut.



One day Pine Tree heard a man whistling. Oh! how he hoped he would come in, for he had not seen anybody nor heard any of the songs he had loved for so long. Pine Tree heard the whistle come nearer and nearer, and at last the man stepped through the doorway. He looked about him and saw the spider webs hanging in the corners and the birds flying in and out of the windows, and he wondered how long it had been since people had lived there. He looked up and saw the ridge-pole, which had once been Pine Tree. "Oh!" he said, "I have found what I have long been looking for." So he climbed up and loosened the boards and took Pine Tree out of his resting place. Now Pine Tree was going once more out into the world. The man carried him on and took him into a little shop. It was a queer shop, too, for there were many bright, shining things lying on the work-bench. They were tools, you know. The man had a kind face and he handled Pine Tree very carefully. He sawed and smoothed Pine Tree many days, and as he worked he whistled and sang, for he was happy. Sometimes he would whistle some of the songs that Pine Tree had heard when he lived in the forest, and then sometimes those he had heard on the ocean, and again he would whistle the songs that Pine Tree had heard in the home of the children.



At last the man's work was finished. Pine Tree had been made into a wonderful musical instrument--a violin. The man took a bow and drew it across the strings, and as he did so he smiled and nodded his head, for the music was very sweet. The violin, which had once been Pine Tree, and then part of a ship, and the ridge-pole of the cottage and the barn, seemed to sing to the man the songs of the forest, the songs of the ocean, the songs of the home, and the songs of the lowly barn. One day the man put the violin in a case and took it away on a long journey. When the case was opened, the violin saw that they were in a strange hall full of people, and many of them were talking of this man--the violin-maker.



The man lifted the violin from the case and went out upon a large platform before the people, and began playing for them. He seemed to say to the violin, "Sing for me," and as he drew the bow across the strings the violin sang. It sang to the people, first the very songs that the tall pines sang in the forest. The song changed, and the lap of the waters, and the dip of the oar could be heard as on a moonlight summer night; then the angry wind and the dash of the waves could be heard as in a fierce storm. Slowly this song died, and everything was quiet. Then, after a little while, the faraway sound of children's voices--their laughter and singing--was heard, and then came the sweet lullaby to the sleepy babes. These songs all died away, and the violin sang the songs of the birds in the summer-time, and the lowing of cattle, and the bleating of sheep in the cold winter-time. At last the violin could sing no longer the songs it knew, but a new song came forth which was also very beautiful, and which caused the people to bend forward and listen with eager faces, for it was the song that came from the heart of the old man who was master of the violin.


the end


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