256 THE FIR TREE
fall downstairs too, and marry a Princess !' And it looked forward with pleasure to being adorned again, the next evening, with candles and toys, gold and fruit. * To-morrow I shall not tremble,' it thought. ' I will rejoice in all my splendour. To-morrow I shall hear the story of Humpty-Dumpty again, and, perhaps, that of Ivede-Avede too.'
And the Tree stood all night quiet and thoughtful.
In the morning the servants and the chambermaid came in.
' Now my splendour will begin afresh,' thought the Tree. But they dragged it out of the room, and upstairs to the garret, and here they put it in a dark corner where no daylight shone.
' What's the meaning of this ?' thought the Tree. ' What am I to do here ? What am I to get to know here ? '
And he leaned against the wall, and thought, and thought. And he had time enough, for days and nights went by, and nobody came up ; and when at length some one came, it was only to put some great boxes in a corner. Now the Tree stood quite hidden away, and one would think that it was quite forgotten.
* Now it's winter outside,' thought the Tree. ' The earth is hard and covered with snow, and people cannot plant me ; therefore I suppose I'm to be sheltered here until spring comes. How considerate that is J How good people are ! If it were only not so dark here, and so terribly solitary !ónot even a little hare ! It was pretty out there in the wood, when the snow lay thick and the hare sprang past; yes, even when he jumped over me, although I did not like that at the time. It is terribly lonely up here !'
' Piep ! piep ! ' said a little Mouse, and crept forward, and then came another little one. They smelt at the Fir Tree, and then slipped among the branches.
' It's horribly cold,' said the two little Mice, ( or else it would be comfortable here. Don't you think so, you old Fir Tree ? '
4 I'm not old at all,' said the Fir Tree. ' There are many much older than I.'
' Where do you come from ? ' asked the Mice. ' And what do you know ? 9 They were dreadfully inquisitive. * Tell us about the most beautiful spot on earth. Have