THE FIR TREE 253
it had grown up : it knew that it should never again see the dear old companions, the little bushes and flowers all around—perhaps not even the birds. The parting was not at all agreeable.
The Tree only came to itself when it was unloaded in a yard, with other trees, and heard a man say,
1 This one is famous ; we only want this one ! '
Now two servants came in gay liveries, and carried the Fir Tree into a large beautiful saloon. All around the walls hung pictures, and by the great stove stood large Chinese vases with lions on the covers ; there were rocking-chairs, silken sofas, great tables covered with picture-books, and toys worth a hundred times a hundred dollars, at least the children said so. And the Fir Tree was put into a great tub filled with sand ; but no one could see that it was a tub, for it was hung round with green cloth, and stood on a large many-coloured carpet. Oh, how the Tree trembled ! What was to happen now ? The servants, and the young ladies also, decked it out. On one branch they hung little nets, cut out of coloured paper ; every net was filled with sweetmeats ; golden apples and walnuts hung down as if they grew there, and more than a hundred little candles, red, white, and blue, were fastened to the different boughs. Dolls that looked exactly like real people—the Tree had never seen such before—swung among the foliage, and high on the summit of the Tree was fixed a tinsel star. It was splendid, particularly splendid.
1 This evening,' said all, ' this evening it will shine.'
' Oh,' thought the Tree, ' that it were evening already > Oh that the lights may be soon lit up ! What will happen then ? I wonder if trees will come out of the forest to look at me ? Will the sparrows fly against the panes ? Shall I grow fast here, and stand adorned in summer and winter ? '
Yes, it knew all about it. But it had a regular bark-ache from mere longing, and the bark-ache is just as bad for a Tree as the headache for a person.
At last the candles were lighted. What a brilliance, what splendour ! The Tree trembled so in all its branches that one of the candles set fire to a green twig, and it was really painful,