Once upon a mountaintop, three little trees stood and
dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up.

The first little tree looked up at the stars twinkling like
diamonds above him and said, “I want to hold treasure.
I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones.
I will be the most beautiful treasure chest in the whole world!”

The second little tree looked at the small stream trickling by on
its way to the ocean and said, “I want to be a strong sailing ship.
I want to travel mighty waters and carry powerful kings.
I will be the strongest ship in the world!”

The third little tree looked down into the valley below where
busy men and busy women worked in a busy town and she said,
“I don’t want to leave this mountaintop at all.  I want to
grow so tall, that when people stop to look at me, they
will raise their eyes to heaven and think of God.
I will be the tallest tree in the whole world!”

Years passed, the rains came, the sun shone,
and the little trees grew tall.

And one day three woodcutters climbed the mountain.

The first woodcutter looked at the first tree and said,
“This tree is beautiful.  It is perfect for me.”
And with a swoop of his shining axe, the first tree fell.

“Now I shall be made into a beautiful chest,”
thought the first tree. “I shall hold wonderful treasure.”

The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said,
“This tree is strong. It is perfect for me.”
And with a swoop of his shining axe, the second tree fell.

“Now I shall sail mighty waters,” thought the second tree.
“I shall be a strong ship fit for kings.”

The third tree felt her heart sink when the last woodcutter
looked her way.  She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely
toward heaven.  But the woodcutter never even looked up.
“Any kind of tree will do for me,” he muttered.
And with a swoop of his shining axe, the third tree fell.

The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought him to
a carpenter’s shop, but the busy carpenter was not thinking
about treasure chests.  Instead, his work-worn hands fashioned
the tree into a feed box for animals. The once beautiful tree was
not covered with gold or filled with treasure.  He was coated
with sawdust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals.

The second tree smiled when the woodcutter took him to a shipyard,
but no mighty sailing ships were being made that day.  Instead, the
once strong tree was hammered and sawed into a simple fishing boat.
Too small and too weak to sail an ocean or even a river, he was taken
to a little lake.  Every day he brought in loads of dead, smelly fish.

The third tree was confused when the woodcutter
cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard.
“What happened?” the once tall tree wondered.  “All I ever
wanted to do was stay on the mountaintop and point to God.”

Many, many days and nights passed, and the
three trees nearly forgot about their dreams.

But one night golden starlight poured over the first tree as
a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feed box.
“I wish I could make a cradle for him,” her husband whispered.
The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone
on the smooth and sturdy wood. “This manger is beautiful,” she said.

And suddenly the first tree knew...
he was holding the greatest treasure in the whole world.

One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into an
old fishing boat.  The traveler soon fell asleep as the second
tree quietly sailed out into the lake.  But soon a thrashing
storm arose. The little tree shuddered because he knew he
did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely
through the wind and rain.  The tired traveler awakened,
stood up, stretched out his hand, and said, “Peace Be Still.”
And the storm stopped as quickly as it had begun.

Suddenly, the second tree knew...
he was carrying The King of Heaven and Earth.

Then one Friday morning, the third tree was startled as
her beams were yanked from the forgotten woodpile.  She
flinched as she was carried through an angry, jeering crowd.
She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man’s hands to her.
She felt ugly and harsh and cruel!

But on Sunday morning when the sun rose and
the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third
tree knew that God’s Love had changed everything!

It had made the first tree beautiful.

It had made the second tree strong.

And every time people thought of the third tree,
they would think of God.  And that was far more better
than being the tallest tree in the whole wide world!
The Tale of the Three Trees
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The Three Little Trees