Viking Press, 1982
This tale is about a fir tree so eager to grow up, so anxious for greater things, that he cannot appreciate living in the moment. The story was first published by C.A. Reitzel in Copenhagen on December 21, 1844. “The Fir Tree” has been said to be the first of Andersen’s fairy tales to express a deep pessimism.
I came across “The Fir Tree” one wintery evening a few nights before Christmas and I’m still thinking about it.
The tale has an ominous feel. The fir tree complains about every stage of his existence while readers hold out hope that he will learn to enjoy life in the moment. The fir tree does learn, but too late. The fir tree’s final moments are tear worthy, and readers are left with a pertinent warning.
“The Fir Tree” is a famous piece and has been beautifully redone countless times. It is widely available to read or listen to.
It is said that Andersen often read this story aloud at social gatherings. I wonder, in the moment, did the listeners understand the tender gift they were being given?
What about you, reader? What feels average about today? Any chance you might look back one day and realize that what felt like a humdrum moment was actually a monumental one?