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The Old Oak Tree's Last Dream

In the woods, on a high bank near the open seashore, there stood such a very old oak tree. It was exactly three hundred and sixty-five years old, but this long span of years seemed to the tree scarcely longer than as many days do to people like us. A tree's life is not the same as a man's. We are awake during the day, and sleep at night, and we have our dreams.

It is different with a tree; it is awake throughout three seasons, and not until winter comes does it go to sleep. Winter is its time for sleeping; that is its night after the long day which we call spring, summer, and autumn.

Many a warm summer day the May flies danced around its crown, lived happily and felt fortunate as they flitted about; and if one of the tiny creatures rested from its blissful play for a moment on a large oak leaf, the tree always said, "Poor little insect! Your whole life is but one day long! How sad!"

"Sad?" the little May fly always answered. "What do you mean by that? Everything is so bright and warm and beautiful, and I am so happy!"

"But only for one day, and then all is over."

"Over?" said the May fly. "What does over mean? Is it also over for you?"

"No, I shall live perhaps thousands of your days, and a day for me lasts a whole year. That is something so long you can't even figure it out."

"No, I don't understand you at all. You have thousands of my days to live, but I have thousands of moments in which to be happy and joyous. Will all the beauty of this world die when you die?"

"No," said the tree. "It will probably last longer, infinitely longer, than I am able to imagine."

"Well, then, we each have an equally long lifetime, only we figure differently."

And so the May fly danced and glided in the air, with its fine, artistic wings of veil and velvet, rejoicing in the warm air that was so perfumed with delicious scents from the clover field and the wild roses, elders, and honeysuckles of the hedges, not ot speak of the bluebells, cowslip, and wild thyme; the fragrance was so strong that the tiny insect felt a little intoxicated from it.

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