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Main > German folktales > Fairy tale "Holiday adventures"

Holiday adventures

"Do draw him," said Trudel, whose blue eyes were open wider than usual.

"Him! Whom do you mean?" said mother.

"Why, the tree man, of course."

"Hum," said mother mysteriously, "we'll see," and she settled herself down to sketch.

The children collected huge acorns, and laid them on a leaf in the hollow tree. Then they stirred up the brackish "holy" water and put their fingers in it.

"It smells like lavender and roses," said Lottchen.

"Well, you've got a funny nose; it smells to me like blackberry and apple-tart," said Trudel.

"Ha—ha—he!" said a little voice again. Somebody was laughing. Where could he be? Glancing round quickly the children saw a little man about three feet high, dressed in green, wearing a long peaked cap with a wreath of tiny oak-leaves around it. He looked very strong, although he was small, and he stuck his arms out akimbo in a curious angular way like the branches of an oak-tree.

"How did you know that trees were alive?" he asked the children.

They were embarrassed by the question.

"Why, of course we know they are not dead, unless they are cut down," they said.

The little man shuddered; then he began to wave his arms about wildly.

"Let them try to cut me down, I'll knock them down. I'll fall on them and crush their bones. I'll smash them like this stone!" Here he gave a stone that stood near by, such a tremendous whack that sparks flew out of it.

"Don't smash us, please, Mr Tree Man," said Lottchen trembling.

"No fear, little Miss Lottchen, no fear, you're a nice little thing, you are; one can see that to look at you. You would never cut me down, would you?"

"Why, of course not," said Lotty.

"I should not dream of such a thing either," said Trudel. "But may we ask who you are?" Trudel continued, "You are surely not a tree?"

"Well, it's like this," said the little man; "I'm a tree, and the tree's me!"

"I," said Trudel, correcting him, "would be more correct."

"Rubbish," said the little man, "Pedantic rot!—the tree's me, I repeat.

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