The Friendly Beasts
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How the Fir Tree Became the Christmas Tree
T HIS is the story of how the fir tree became the Christmas tree.
At the time when the Christ Child was born all the people, the animals, and the trees, and plants were very happy. The Child was born to bring peace and happiness to the whole world. People came daily to see the little One, and they always brought gifts with them.
There were three trees standing near the crypt which saw the people, and they wished that they, too, might give presents to the Christ Child.
The Palm said: "I will choose my most beautiful leaf, and place it as a fan over the Child."
"And I," said the Olive, "will sprinkle sweet-smelling oil upon His head."
"What can I give to the Child?" asked the Fir, who stood near.
"You!" cried the others. "You have nothing to offer Him. Your needles would prick Him, and your tears are sticky."
So the poor little Fir tree was very unhappy, and it said: "Yes, you are right. I have nothing to offer the Christ Child."
Now, quite near the trees stood the Christmas Angel, who had heard all that the trees had said. The Angel was sorry for the Fir tree who was so lowly and without envy of the other trees. So, when it was dark, and the stars came out, he begged a few of the little stars to come down and rest upon the branches of the Fir tree. They did as the Christmas Angel asked, and the Fir tree shone suddenly with a beautiful light.
And, at that very moment, the Christ Child opened His eyes—for He had been asleep—and as the lovely light fell upon Him He smiled.
Every year people keep the dear Christ Child's birthday by giving gifts to each other, and every year, in remembrance of His first birthday, the Christmas Angel places in every house a fir tree, also. Covered with starry candles it shines for the children as the stars shone for the Christ Child. The Fir tree was rewarded for its meekness, for to no other tree is it given to shine upon so many happy faces.