The Little Tree That Longed for Other Leaves
by Friedrieh Ruckert
There was a little tree that stood
in the woods
through both good and stormy weather, and it
was covered from top to bottom with needles
instead of leaves. The needles were sharp and
prickly, so the little tree said to itself:
"All my tree comrades have beautiful green
leaves, and I have only sharp needles. No one
will touch me. If I could have a wish I would ask
for leaves of pure gold."
When night came the little tree fell asleep, and,
lo! in the morning it woke early and found itself
covered with glistening, golden leaves.
"Ah, ah!" said the little tree, "how grand I
am! No other tree in the woods is dressed in
But at evening time there came a peddler with
a great sack and a long beard. He saw the glitter
of the golden leaves. He picked them all and
hurried away leaving the little tree cold and
"Alas! alas!" cried the little tree in sorrow;
"all my golden leaves are gone! I am ashamed
to stand among the other trees that have such
beautiful foliage. If I only had another wish I
would ask for leaves of glass."
Then the little tree fell asleep, and when it
woke early, it found itself covered with bright
and shining leaves of glass.
"Now," said the little tree, "I am happy. No
tree in the woods glistens like me."
But there came a fierce storm -
wind driving through the woods. It struck the glass,
and in a moment all the shining leaves lay shattered
on the ground.
"My leaves, my glass leaves!"
moaned the little tree, "they lie broken in the dust,
while all the other trees are still dressed in their
beautiful foliage. Oh! if I had another wish I would
ask for green leaves."
Then the little tree slept again,
and in the morning it was covered with fresh, green
foliage. And it laughed merrily, and said, "Now, I
need not be ashamed any more. I am like my comrades
of the woods."
But along came a mother goat,
looking for grass and herbs for herself and her young
ones. She saw the crisp, new leaves; and she nibbled,
and nibbled, and nibbled them all away, and she
ate up both stems and tender shoots, till the little
tree stood bare.
"Alas!" cried the little tree in anguish, "I
want no more leaves, neither gold ones nor glass
ones, nor green and red and yellow ones! If I
could only have my needles once more, I would
never complain again."
And sorrowfully the little tree fell asleep, but
when it saw itself in the morning sunshine, it
laughed and laughed and laughed. And all the
other trees laughed, too, but the little tree did not
care. Why did they laugh? Because in the night
all its needles had come again! You may see this
for yourself. Just go into the woods and look, but
do not touch the little tree. Why not? BECAUSE IT