This story by the Danish poet and writer Hans Christian Andersen is about a tree that grows up never being satisfied with what it looks like or what it is doing. There is only one day in the tree’s life (a Christmas ) that it feels truly happy. The tree doesn’t see until too late that there were many other days in its life that it also should have enjoyed. This leads to a sad ending which is enough to make you never want to have a real Christmas tree!
- Original Text with Audio (3243 words)
- Pre-Intermediate English Version
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- BBC School Radio Version with Audio
English Learner Vocabulary Help
General Comments on the Story
Our source was an e-book book called “Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen”, available from Project Gutenberg here. Some critics suggest that The Fir Tree and The Ugly Duckling (one of Andersen’s most famous children’s stories written a year earlier) reflect his thoughts about life at those points of time. It is sad to think that just one year after feeling like the ugly “duck” chick turning into a beautiful swan, Andersen thought that life was more like the poor fir tree as it was being burnt to heat laundry water.
(n: Eve pl Eves) The day or evening before a special holiday or festival, such as Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, etc. 3000
(n: attic pl attics) A room at the top of a house under the roof, often used to store things. Also called a garret. 5000
(adj: bare, barer, barest) 1. Not having a covering. bare feet; bare floors; bare skin 2. Empty The cupboard was bare. 3. Worn thin. The carpet is a bit bare. 3000
(n: branch pl branches) An arm-like part of a tree that grows out from the central part. 2000
(n: candle pl candles) Wax that has been formed into a stick or another shape and has a string in the middle that can be burned to give light. 3000
(n: ceiling pl ceilings) The inside surface at the top of a room. 3000
(v: fasten, fastens, fastened, fastening) 1. To attach something or join two things or two parts of something. He fastened the boards together with nails. 2. To put something in a position or location in such a way that it will not move. Fasten your seat belt. 5000
(n: fir pl firs) A kind of evergreen tree that bears cones [fir-cones]) and is often grown for its wood.
(adj: forward) 1. Moving or directed ahead or toward the front. A forward movement. 2. Near or belonging to the front part of something. The forward part of a ship is the 'bow'.
(adv: forward or forwards) 1. Moving ahead or towards the front. He moved forwards. 2. To a later time. From this time forward. 1000
(n: fresh air, noncount) Air that is clean and pure, coming from the outdoors.
(v: glitter, glitters, glittered, glittering) To shine with bright points of light; to sparkle. 4000
(n: joy pl joys) A feeling of great happiness.
(adj: joyful or joyous) Filled with, showing or causing joy. 2000
(adj: lonely, lonelier, loneliest) 1. Sad from being apart from others. He felt lonely without his wife and children. 2. Not visited by or traveled on by many people. A lonely country road.
(n: loneliness, noncount) The quality or state of feeling lonely. 3000
(n: mast pl masts) A long upright pole that supports or holds something, especially the sails of a ship or an aerial, flag etc. 6000
(adj: merry, merrier, merriest) Very happy and cheerful; feeling or showing joy and happiness. 3000
(n: pain pl pains) The physical feeling caused by sickness, injury, or mental or emotional hurt. He felt a sharp pain in his back. It caused him pain to talk about his wife's death.)
(adj: painful; painless) Causing pain. A painful injury.; Without pain. Painless childbirth. 2000
(n: rose pl roses) A flower with a sweet smell that is usually white, yellow, red, or pink and grows on a bush which has thorns on the stems. 3000
(v: shake, shakes, shook, shaken, shaking) To move back and forth or up and down with short, quick movements. 2000
(v: sigh, sighs, sighed, sighing) To take in and let out a long, loud breath in a way that shows you are bored, disappointed, unhappy, relieved, etc. 4000
(n: trunk pl trunks) 1. The thick main stem of a tree from which the branches grow. (ลำต้น) 2. A large strong box that can be locked and used for holding clothes or other things, especially when traveling. (หีบใส่ของ) 3. The long nose of an elephant. (งวงช้าง) 4000
(n: wagon pl wagons; British waggon) A four-wheeled vehicle for carrying heavy loads or passengers, usually pulled by animals. (รถสี่ล้อที่มีเครื่องยนต์หรือลากด้วยม้า) 3000