At tor.com, Mari Ness gets us into the Christmas spirit — or not — by offering brief comments on a fairy tale I’m glad I’ve never encountered in the wild: Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Fir Tree.”
As you might guess from the title, “The Fir Tree” is the story of a little fir tree who lives among several other fir trees, and desperately wants to be a big, grown up tree. We’ve all been there. His short size—not to mention the fact that rabbits can jump right over him—makes him desperately unhappy, and rather than enjoying life as a little tree, he spends his time envying the bigger trees.
This doesn’t decrease in the slightest when he sees these bigger trees cut down—off, he learns, for exciting adventures as ship masts (or so a bird explains) or as decorated Christmas trees. Suddenly the Fir Tree has something a bit unusual for a fir tree: ambition. Not to travel on a ship (though that does tempt him for a moment) but to be a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. He can think of nothing else, despite the advice from sunbeams and the wind to focus on youth and fresh air.
This does not end entirely well. If you’re in a Grinch kind of mood, click through and read the whole post. If you’re REALLY in a Grinch-y mood, here’s a link where you can read the actual fairy tale.