Kristin Lisenby Kristin Lisenby
4 minute read

While the winter winds blow, gather round for a story about the bird and the Evergreen Tree…

Once upon a winter afternoon, a bird broke her wing. This was an unfortunate occurrence, and what made the situation more dreadful was that she broke her wing the same day her family left for warmer skies.

The birds could not carry their injured friend, nor would they change their flight schedule. They could not stay with her in the forest, for surely, refusing to migrate would be a death sentence for the flock. But the injured bird had hope, and if her feathered friends could not help, she would turn to the trees. The bird knew the trees well, for she had spent most of her life cradled in their arms.

Back then, all trees kept their leaves, no matter the season. The wooded giants spoke openly with humans and animals, and certain trees had a reputation for being helpful. While others, not so much.

The bird decided to visit her old friend, the Birch Tree, and inquired whether it might offer her a home for winter.

“Come spring, my wing will be good as new,” the bird promised. “But for now, I need someplace warm, without wind or snow, so that I can survive my first winter.”

The bird had spent many springtime mornings singing from atop the Birch’s canopy, so she was surprised when the tree responded coldly, “I owe my loyalty to the birds of the forest, not travelers like yourself. If I let you nest in my branches this winter, I might not have enough room for the others.”

Saddened, the bird hobbled over to her other friend, the Oak Tree.

“Come spring, my wing will be good as new,” the bird swore. “But for now, I need somewhere strong and sturdy to rest my head so I can survive my first winter.”

Like the Birch Tree, the Oak was not interested in helping the bird. Even though she had spent many summer afternoons admiring its dancing leaves, the Oak would not be persuaded.

“I owe my loyalty to the birds of the forest,” said the tree. “If I offer you shelter this winter, you’ll eat all my acorns instead of letting them root.”

Dejected, the bird wandered over to the Willow Tree. The Willow is known for her gentle spirit, thought the bird. Surely it will let me stay.

“Come spring, my wing will be good as new,” the bird promised. “But for now, I need somewhere to mend what is broken.”

The bird had spent countless autumn evenings swaying in the Willow’s branches, but not even the bird’s tears could convince the tree.

“I owe my loyalty to the birds of the forest,” said the Willow. “If I let you stay, the others will view my kindness as weakness.”

Heartsick, the bird looked around to see what other trees she could visit, but the sun was already setting. Under normal circumstances, visiting three trees would not have taken so long, but with a broken wing, she had to rely on small feet attached to even smaller legs.

Soon, the bird was sobbing and shivering. It was early in the season, but the North Wind’s chilly air had already begun to blow.

“Hello, little one,” said a friendly voice. “What seems to be the trouble?”

The bird stopped crying just as the Evergreen Tree bent over and scooped up the bird. It was careful not to jostle the bird’s broken wing and used its bushy branches to dry the bird’s tears.

“I have nowhere to stay for winter,” the bird said. But the Evergreen just hushed the creature and made her a soft nest to rest.

Upon seeing the Evergreen’s generosity, the neighboring Pine Tree began to blubber. It decided to offer the bird a wall of strong needles to protect it from predators and the North Wind’s gales. The Juniper Tree appeared next, eager to offer its berries to nourish the bird until spring.

Father Frost watched this exchange from his icy throne, relieved that the injured bird was safe from harm. Warmed by the trees’ charity, Father Frost punished the Birch, Oak, and Willow for their short-sightedness. As the story goes, from that fateful day onward, the Birch, Oak, and Willow began to lose their leaves come winter, while the Evergreen, Pine, and Juniper trees retained their youthful vigor.

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