The Tree

Kriloff’s Original Fables
Seeing a peasant pass with axe in hand,
” Good fellow,” to him said a youthful Tree,
” Please, hew me down this wood, which here doth stand So close that it prevents my growing free : The sun to me his beams can’t show
;
For want of space my roots all stunted grow, And all around me play no freshening breezes : The wood above me weaves a vault that freezes ! By him unhindered, in a year the pride
Should I become of all the country wide,
And the whole vale be covered with my shade
;
Now thin and lank, like to a sapless branch I fade.” The peasant seized his axe in haste
;
His friend a service of him asked
Which left his strength untasked
;
And soon the Tree had round him naught but a levelled
waste.
But he his triumph lived not long to tell
!
Now the sun’s rays do through him burn,
Now hail, now rain beats out its turn, And, broken by the wind, at length he fell. ” witless one ! ” to him did say a snake, ” That must thyself thy ruin make ! Hadst thou but in the wood all hidden grown, Nor heat nor winds had done thee ill, Thou wouldst have safe been and protected still
:
«And when the old trees should have left thee lone,
Their time at last death’s power to own, Then, in thy turn thou wouldst have grown so high,
Thy trunk in vigour so enwrapped,
That this misfortune with thee had not happed,
And thou been able tempests to defy ! “