Many years ago my grandmother Pearl told me a story about why oak trees kept their leaves.
It was such an intriguing story that I never forgot it and have decided to share.
We were sitting in a wooden fishing boat on the Little Balsam, the waves gently rocking us as our hooks lay dangling from our cane poles in the water...this is the story to the best of my knowledge.
Many years ago in the fall, all trees kept their leaves, but they would change to their glorious fall colors and remain that way until spring when they would turn green again. The trees were so proud of their colors so Mother Nature develop
ed a small test for them.
One fall a small lowly sparrow came to the grand r
ed maple tree and rest ed in its branches.
The sparrow was shivering and ask
ed the maple if he could spend the winter in its branches where the beautiful r ed leaves would keep him warm.
The maple tree shook its branches angrily and told the sparrow that only birds with bright and beautiful feathers could stay in its branches during the winter, no ordinary ugly birds would grace its branches.
ed and cold the sparrow left and flew through the forest finally landing on a stately elm tree; it leaves the color of gold. “Please,” begg ed the sparrow, “my family and I ne ed a tree to spend the cold winter in, may we stay with you and your beautiful golden leaves?”
The tall elm shook and sway
ed, “No,” the tree repli ed, “a sparrow is a lowly, ugly little bird, you may not spend the winter in my branches.”
Again the sparrow flew off. Nearly exhaust
ed he land ed on an apple tree, fill ed with bright r ed apples glistening in the chill of the autumn air. Again the sparrow repeat ed his request, hoping against hope that he would find a warm tree for his family to spend the harsh winter.
The apple tree repli
ed, “With all of this heavy fruit on my branches, I could not let a bird such as yourself stay with me, get on with you!”
ed that no matter which tree he chose the answer was the same. The sparrow was too ugly or too lowly to find comfort and warmth in the leaves of all those beautiful trees in the forest.
At last he came upon an old Oak tree which stood tall on a hill. The sparrow look
ed up, shivering for now it was very cold and a harsh wind blew from the north promising snow.
Quietly he ask
ed the Oak tree if he, the ugly little sparrow and his family could seek shelter in his leaves and branches for the winter. The Oak stretch ed his magnificent limbs and chuckl ed, “Of course sparrow, I have branches and leaves enough for all birds of all kinds. You and your family are welcome.”
The sparrow turn
ed back into Mother Nature and thank ed the Oak tree for its kindness.
As for the maple, the elm, the apple tree and others they began to loose their brightly color
ed leaves and their apples fell to the ground. “Pride has its cost,” Mother Nature said, “and from now on, all trees but the humble Oak shall loose their colorful leaves come fall.”
My grandmother's stories usually had some sort of 'moral of the story' to them also. This one I have passed down too. My oldest son is fond of it, I think.