The Pine Tree by Hans Christian Andersen

The Pine Trees of Louvciennes

The Pine Trees of Louvciennes (1870) Camille Pissaro
~ source Wikiart

The next choice in my Deal Me In Challenge is The Pine Tree by Hans Christian Andersen, drawn from the queen of clubs under short stories.  It was a perfect choice to fit in with my goal to read as many fairy tales as I can this year, albeit at a moderate pace.  I was looking forward to an Andersen story, as I expected it would be a little lighter than a story from The Brothers Grimm.  I was wrong.

Pine Trees by the River

Pine Trees by the River – Louis Aston Knight
~ source Wikimedia Commons

Once upon a time, there was a little pine tree who was growing in the forest.  He was growing in a natural paradise with birds singing beautiful songs around him, lovely scenes of nature changing its colours, animals frolicking, the wind blowing gently through his branches and people admiring his beauty.  However, the little tree noticed none of it.  He only wanted to be bigger because he was sure some wonderful experience awaited him if only he could grow up.

“To grow and grow,” thought the pine tree, “to become tall and old; there’s nothing in the world so marvellous!”

He would not even listen to those wiser than he.

“Be glad that you are young,” whispered the sun’s rays.  “Enjoy your strengh and the pleasure of being alive.”

But the little tree wanted to be cut down like the other big trees, to become a mast for a great ship or a Christmas tree wreathed in glory.

Joyful Christmas

Joyful Christmas (1891) Viggo Johansen
~ source Wikimedia Commons

Sadly, the tree does get his wish but without revealing the whole story, needless to say, his experience was far, far from his expectations.  The outcome was harsh and terribly tragic.

Pine Trees Cap d'Antibes

Pine Trees Cap d’Antibes – Claude Monet
~ source Wikimedia Commons

This was one of the more wretched and dismal fairy tales that I have yet read. Andersen doesn’t let up but goes for the proverbial emotional jugular with much foreshadowing right from the beginning of the story.  What that accomplishes is to make you feel miserable throughout; no build up to misery or a shock at the conclusion but misery from beginning to end.  I get it though.  He was trying to tell us to enjoy each moment and our circumstances.  Live in the present and don’t get distracted by grand thoughts of the future or focussed on what might happen. Stay in reality.  And he hits you over the head with the lesson.

Pine Tree Branch

Pine Tree Branch – Nurit Shany
~ source Wikimedia Commons

Personally, I don’t think anticipating and dreaming are bad, but when you allow those thoughts to make you miss the present and pull you out of reality, it’s dangerous.  In any case, now I’m sad so I’ll end here and hope my next Deal Me In challenge choice deals with a more uplifting subject.  Thanks, Hans.

 

6 thoughts on “The Pine Tree by Hans Christian Andersen

  1. I haven’t read this one, but I have read the original of The Litter Mermaid. Yowch! HCA is not necessarily any more uplifting than those grim Brothers.

    • It’s funny because I’ve recently read a few of the Brothers Grimm tales that haven’t been that bad. I wasn’t prepared. Yowch! is right!

    • I didn’t expect fairies and roses but, yikes, some of them are pretty bleak! I will brace myself moving forward …..

  2. I remember this one. The thing that hit me besides the main point, was how the mice loved listening to the pine tree until the rats ridiculed him and then the mice thought less of him too.

    That is something I have fought for a lot of my life: not letting other people’s negative attitude affect me. Words are powerful.

    • Yes, that was another punch from Andersen; just when you thought the tree had found some company in his attic cell, the company is taken away to leave him alone once again. But you’re right ….. the rats acted like boors and how the mice could be influenced by them to such an extent was alarming.

      Words are powerful and I’m glad (as Dorothy Sayers says) that you have learned to blunt them or fling them back. We do need to be careful of our words in so many circumstances.

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment! 🙏

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