His tale, The Little Fir Tree spake to us via a green theme.
There was once a pretty little fir tree that grew in a sunny corner of the forest. It didn't notice the warm sun or the forest air or the children playing because it was very anxious to grow-up.
Each year the tree grew wider and it wished it was taller and it wasn't pleased about the birds, the clouds or the snow and only wanted to be bigger and older. In autum the tallest trees were chopped down and in spring he asked the birds if they had seen where the big trees went. He heard about boats and masts and wished he were big enough to be a mast.
"Rejoice in your youth," said the sunbeams.
Towards Christmastime, young trees were cut down and the fir tree wondered about them. The sparrows said they had seen them adorned with beautiful decorations and candles and were a wonderful sight . The fir tree was excited and wondered if he was destined for a splendid future.
The air and sunshine said again,"Rejoice in us and in your fresh youth." But the tree took no notice.
The following Christmas, the fir tree had grown tall and was the first to be cut down. The axe cut deep and felled the tree which was a little sad at leaving its home. It was carried to a house and placed in a luxurious room. It trembled while every branch was hung with gorgeous objects and candles. It thought if only it was evening and the candles were lit or would all his old friends come from the forest to see him now and over the years to come
The candles were lit, the doors opened and a crowd of children rush in and shouted, danced and snatched off all the presents. Later, the candles went out one by one, the children were given permission to plunder and push the tree around, then they turned away to play with their toys instead. Then story-telling began and the tree thought that he would end up in a story and be decked out again next day and enjoy the excitment once again.
However, next morning, the servants dragged the tree to a dark corner in the attic and left. The tree reasoned he would stay there over the winter to be replanted in spring. He became lonely except for the mice who thought that the forest must be the best place in the world when they heard his stories about it. Fir tree said that he didn't realized how happy he had been in the forest.
One morning, the servants threw the fir tree to the floor and dragged it outside. He thought of the future with joy but realized his branches were dry and dead. A child was playing and tore off the old gold star fastened to the top and stamped on the branches. The tree saw how it was no longer green or fresh.
"Too late, too late," thought the discarded tree. "If only I had enjoyed more while I could. Now all is over and gone."
The servant cut the tree into small pieces for the fire. The logs crackled while they burned. With each crack, which was really a sigh, the tree was thinking of a summer's day in the forest, or of a star-filled winter's night, it thought of Christmas Eve. Soon the old fir tree had become nothing but a heap of ashes.
Hans Christian Andersen. The World's Best Fairy Tales. Ed by Belle Becker Sideman. Illustrations by Fritz Kredel.