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The Dryad

Carriage followed carriage; people were on foot and on horseback. There were shops on all sides, and music, song, talking, and screaming.

Now the Dryad, in her tree, was in the center of Paris.

The big, heavy wagon stopped in a little square where trees were planted and around which were high houses. Every window had its own balcony, and from these people looked down at that fresh, young chestnut tree which had been driven there to be planted in the place of the dead, uprooted tree that lay on the ground. People passing by stopped for a while to smile at that fresh green bit of early spring. The older trees, their leaves yet scarcely budding, greeted it with rustling branches, "Welcome! Welcome!" And the fountain, which spouted its water into the air so that it splashed into the basin, let the wind carry a few drops to the new arrival, to give it welcome drink.

The Dryad felt the tree being taken down from the wagon and then being put into its destined home. The roots were covered with earth, and fresh green turf was laid on top of that. Blooming shrubs were planted, and earthen pots with flowers in them were placed about. Thus a whole little garden appeared in the midst of the square.

The dead, uprooted tree, killed by gas fumes, hearth smoke, and all the stifling city air, was thrown upon the wagon and hauled away. The crowd watched; old people and children sat upon the bench in the little park, looking at the leaves of the newly planted tree. And we, who tell you about all this, stood on our balcony, gazing down on the young tree that had just come from the fresh air of the country and said what the old pastor would have said if he had been there, "Poor Dryad!"

"How happy I am, how happy!" said the Dryad. "And yet I can't quite understand it. I can't explain how I feel; it all seems to be the way I thought it would be, and yet it isn't quite what I expected!"

The houses were so high and so close. The sun shone upon only one wall; that was covered with posters and placards, and people crowded and thronged around it.

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