Monday, November 21, 2011

The Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale

Once there were three trees with very specific wishes. One, author Elena Pasquali writes in The Three Trees, wanted to be made into a chest that held treasure. Another wanted to be made into a ship holding a mighty king. The last tree was more content: "I want to stay here on the hillside, pointing to heaven."

Many years later, the trees are chopped down. The first two are eager to meet their destiny, but the third mourns: "Now my dream is over."

A carpenter takes the wood from the first tree and makes it into a feeding trough - not a treasure chest. The tree sighs at it's new, humble life. But then one night, a newborn baby is laid into the trough. "Suddenly the first tree knew that it was holding the greatest treasure the world had ever known."

A shipwright takes the wood from the second tree, but he makes it into a humble fisherman's boat - not the ship of a king. The tree sighs at it's dull life. But then one night, someone riding in the boat says "Peace. Be still." And the stormy sea turns calm. "And the second tree knew that it was carrying the mightiest king the world had ever known."

The wood from the third tree sits for a long time before someone hastily makes it into a cross. A man is attached to the cross, and the cross stands on a hillside. The man is removed and the cross is empty.
"Then came a bright dawn. By a miracle, the man who had died was seen alive again. The tree that had borne his death was now a symbol of his life. And the third tree knew that it would stand for ever, pointing to heaven."

What I Like: God will often use us in ways we do not expect - and even the most humble among us are useful to him: Two facts beautifully illustrated in The Three Trees. This tale is simple and well told, and is sure to become a favorite not just for Christmas and Easter, but all year long. The illustrations by Sophie Windham have a beautiful folk art feel to them, making this a book a visual treat, as well.

What I Dislike: Nothing.

Overall Rating: Excellent.

Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 5 and up, but my 3 year old likes the book, too.

Publishing Info: Lion; 2011; ISBN: 978-0745962894; hardback, 32 pgs., $14.99.

Buy Now at for $11.24
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Special Info:This folktale has been featured in a number of books. including one by Angela Elwell Hunt, which we reviewed here.


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