The Little Pine Tree
By Dave Mason
Once upon a time there was a wood full of trees overlooking a little village further down the hill. The trees and the villagers lived peacefully together working together as the seasons and years passed them by. Each spring the trees would awaken from winter and feel the sun on their leaves warming them through and be a shelter to the birds and shade for the villagers as it became too warm in the valley and the people would come and sit under their branches in the long summer days and water the trees from the stream in the valley if the summer was too dry. Each autumn the villagers would help the trees by taking away the branches and pine cones that had fallen to the floor and use them as kindling for their fires in the winter.
At the edge of the forest was a young pine tree who had listened to his parents through the spring and summer telling him to let the sun warm him through and the water feed him so his pine needles were thick and strong to keep him warm through the winter and to grow many pine cones to help the villagers. His parents had said that he needed to drop these as autumn came to help the villagers, he had dropped some of them to the forest floor but held onto some as he wasn’t sure what use they had or what use they would be. He wondered if it had anything to do with the lovely warm glow he could see in the windows of the cottages and the thick warm sweet smell that drifted into the woods from the smoke from the chimneys of the homes below as the days grew shorter, the nights colder and the snow began to fall.
One morning in the middle of winter when bright white snow lay thick on the floor reflecting the wonderful winter sunshine up into the forest the young pine tree was looking out onto the village below and noticed that one of the little cottages hadn’t got a warm glow like the others and that no thick sweet smoke was coming from its chimney. He was distracted from his thoughts when he heard a sad voice below him. He looked down and there was a frail old lady with a walking stick, wrapped in a shawl and carrying a basket beneath his branches. He could hear her sad voice saying “I will never find any twigs to relight my fire with all this snow on the ground and even if I do they will be too wet, what am I to do, if only the trees could hear me and help me” the young pine tree wanted to help but didn’t know how too, he felt really sad and so he thought that if he shook his branches the old lady would realise this and go back to her warm shelter in the village below. So he shook his branches and as he did so the few pine cones that he had kept fell to the ground. The old lady shrieked with delight and said “thank you my dear little tree, you have saved me from being cold today”. The pine tree was startled that the old lady had thought he had helped as all he had done was to drop a few cones to the ground and looked down with wonder as she scurried around and picked up the cones and put them in her basket. With a final thank you the old lady started to walk back down the hill.
The pine tree wasn’t sure what he had done, and looked to the village to see where the old lady went. After a while he saw that the cottage that he had noticed before that looked cold and sad now had a warm glow coming from its little window and lovely warm smoke coming from the chimney again.