The swallows did not know anything about it; but the Stork looked musing, nodded his head, and said, "Yes; I think I know; I met many ships as I was flying hither from Egypt; on the ships were magnificent masts, and I venture to assert that it was they that smelt so of fir. I may congratulate you, for they lifted themselves on high most majestically!"
And the Wind kissed the Tree, and the Dew wept tears over him; but the Fir understood it not.
When Christmas came, quite young trees were cut down: trees which often were not even as large or of the same age as this Fir Tree, who could never rest, but always wanted to be off.
"Where are they going to?" asked the Fir. "They are not taller than I; there was one indeed that was considerably shorter; and why do they retain all their branches?
"And then?" asked the Fir Tree, trembling in every bough.
We don't want the others." Then two servants came in rich livery and carried the Fir Tree into a large and splendid drawing-room.
There was such a bawling and screaming--the Fir Tree alone was silent, and he thought to himself, "Am I not to bawl with the rest?
The Fir Tree stood quite still and absorbed in thought; the birds in the wood had never related the like of this.
"Only about this fir," said Arthur, putting his hand on the stem of the beech.
"Fir!" shouted Tom; "why, you don't mean to say, young un, you don't know a beech when you see one?"
There's the nest, that lump of sticks up this fir."
Martin and Tom, both of whom had irons on, tried it without success at first; the fir bark broke away where they stuck the irons in as soon as they leant any weight on their feet, and the grip of their arms wasn't enough to keep them up; so, after getting up three or four feet, down they came slithering to the ground, barking their arms and faces.
Here we see that cattle absolutely determine the existence of the Scotch fir
; but in several parts of the world insects determine the existence of cattle.
I could not emulate him, so Dan and Felix and Cecily and the Story Girl and I all walked hand in hand, huddling a little closer together as we went through James Frewen's woods--for there are strange harps in a fir grove, and who shall say what fingers sweep them?
We left the fir woods as the tale was ended, and on the opposite hill was home.