From the time I was a sapling, I surged with the desire to grow tall and have a brilliant career. I was never satisfied with my lot. I wanted to be timber for a great ship, or an ornamented Christmas tree. I wanted to have a higher purpose.

“Rejoice in us!” sang the air and the sunshine. “Rejoice in your fresh youth and the free air!”

How I wish I had paid attention, for now I am nothing more than discarded timber lying in a dark corner of the lumber room.

The Fir Tree in The Fir Tree, Hans Christian Andersen. Illustration by Arthur Rackham.

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