Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

The Fir Tree

The Fir TreeThe Fir Tree

There was once a little fir tree. He was much smaller than all the other fir trees and longed to grow up to be big and tall. The sunlight and the wind told him to enjoy what he had, but he could not. One day some men came and cut down the large fire trees. They also cut off their branches, leaving only the main part of the tree.

The little tree wondered where the big trees had gone. A sparrow told him one day that they had probably become ships’ masts. The little tree wanted to get big to become the same things. Another year, the tree grew taller, and one day men came and cut down all the little trees and took them away. The tree asked the sparrow where these trees had gone. The sparrow told him that some trees were taken into people’s homes where they were decorated. The tree wondered what happened to those trees, but the sparrow did not know.

Day after day, the tree stayed where he was. He always longed for something different. The wind blew amongst his branches and a hare bounded around ground around him. The sunlight and wind told him to enjoy what he had. One day men did come and they cut down the fir tree. He was a large beautiful tree now. The tree wanted to go somewhere exciting, but it was difficult to concentrate because he was in so much pain from being cut down.

He was taken into a house, where he was decorated with presents, sweets, and candles. He trembled so much that one of the candles caught fire and burned some of his branches. He tried very hard not to tremble from that point forward. His bark ached. Children came and raided his branches, breaking a few in the process, for the presents and sweets.

Everyone gathered around the tree after everything was over. An old man told the story of Humpty Dumpty. The tree enjoyed this all.

The next day, instead of doing it all over again, the tree was tossed into the attic. There he stayed. He thought he might be planted again in the spring. Mice came to listen to his stories. He told them of living in the wild, which they enjoyed. He also told them the story of Humpty Dumpty. Rats came to listen to, but they did not think his stories were good. Because the rats did not think the tree’s stories were good, the mice soon thought the same thing. They came less and less, and finally, didn’t come at all. The tree was alone. People piled boxes around him.

In the spring, the attic was cleared out. The tree was tossed out on the ground. The children came and took the brittle paper star from his branches. His needles had fallen off. They had been brown and dry. Someone then chopped him up into little pieces. Those pieces were thrown into the fire. The tree sighed, but the children heard pops, which delighted them. The tree was finally burned up to nothing.

The End


Christmas trees haven’t been around for an overly long time, especially in Denmark, where the tradition didn’t actually start until 1808. What Hans says in this story about Christmas trees is true. They generally weren’t decorated until Christmas Eve. They were decorated with candles. There were probably sweets on the tree.

There were other Christmas traditions in Denmark, but Hans was relatively correct in his description of Christmas celebrations in this story.


The theme of this story is that you can miss life constantly wishing for something else. The little fir tree constantly wished to be bigger. He constantly wished to be doing something else. He ignored the beautiful things around him. There was one fleeting moment when all seemed happy, but the rest of his days were not happy. That fleeting moment was just that, fleeting. He soon wished for other things. He was looking back on the days when he should have been happy but wasn’t because he always wanted something else.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to do more with your life. That’s part of improving yourself. You have to imagine yourself doing something else and being someone better in order to do better things or be a better person. At the same time, you can’t spend all your time wishing for something else. It will seem that you have never lived your life because you were always waiting for it to start.

I feel this fir tree. I get his desires. I get that he wants to move on and do greater things. At the same time, I can see he’s passing up things in his life. I know, at times, I’ve done the same thing. I’m guilty of doing exactly some of the same things the fir tree did.

You have to make this conscious decision to do things today. It’s today. It’s time to do those things. You can’t constantly think about things and ignore life around you. You have to do things today, but also live your life today. Start doing those things you wanted to do, but don’t forget that you still have a life to live.

The pine tree’s scenario is something we most often see in children. Children are in a rush to grow up and do grown-up things, but they forget that they’re being children and should enjoy that period in their lives.

I have never been one of those people that look back upon childhood as a fond time. Maybe for the rest of you, it’s something to miss and something to want back with longing, but not for me. I understand that a lot of people wish they would have savored their childhood and adolescence more, but not me. Even though being an adult is tough, it’s better than being a child. The part of this story that stands out to be is always looking for tomorrow when today is sitting right in front of you.


This pine tree lived a sad life with only a little flicker of brightness.

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