590 THE LAST DREAM OF THE OLD OAK TREE
pigeons cooed, as if they were telling what the Tree felt in all this, and the cuckoo called out to tell him how many summer days he had yet to live.
Then it appeared to him as if new life were rippling down into the remotest fibre of his root, and mounting up into his highest branches, to the tops of the leaves. The Tree felt that he was stretching and spreading himself, and through his root he felt that there was life and warmth even in the ground itself. He felt his strength increase, he grew higher, his stem shot up unceasingly, and he grew more and more, his crown became fuller and spread out; and in proportion as the Tree grew, he felt his happiness increase, and his joyous hope that he should reach even higher—quite up to the warm brilliant sun.
Already had he grown high up above the clouds, which floated past beneath his crown like dark troops of passage-birds, or like great white swans. And every leaf of the Tree had the gift of sight, as if it had eyes wherewith to see : the stars became visible in broad daylight, great and sparkling ; each of them sparkled like a pair of eyes, mild and clear. They recalled to his memory well-known gentle eyes, eyes of children, eyes of lovers, who had met beneath his boughs.
It was a marvellous spectacle, and one full of happiness and joy ! And yet amid all this happiness the Tree felt a longing, a yearning desire that all other trees of the wood beneath him, and all the bushes, and herbs, and flowers, might be able to rise with him, that they too might see this splendour and experience this joy. The great majestic Oak was not quite happy in his happiness, while he had not them all, great and little, about him ; and this feeling of yearning trembled through his every twig, through his every leaf, warmly and fervently as through a human heart.
The crown of the Tree waved to and fro, as if he sought something in his silent longing, and he looked down. Then he felt the fragrance of woodruff, and soon afterwards the more powerful scent of honeysuckle and violets ; and he fancied he heard the cuckoo answering him.
Yes, through the clouds the green summits of the forest