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First Christmas Tree

Book cover
By: (1852-1933)

This is a folk tale of how the first tree came into being. It tells of a hero Winfried with his young companion stepping boldly into the pagan right of the passing into winter. He preaches the gospel of Christ and His birth on that night; then from the heavens came a miracle that resulted in the salvation of the people. To celebrate, they brought new life or the Christmas tree into their homes.

First Page:

THE FIRST CHRISTMAS TREE

A Story of the Forest

by

HENRY VAN DYKE

Illustrated by Howard Pyle

Charles Scribner's Sons New York University Press: John Wilson and Son, Cambridge, U.S.A.

MDCCCXCVII

[Illustration So they took the little fir from its place]

CONTENTS

I The Call of the Woodsman

II The Trail Through the Forest

III The Shadow of the Thunder Oak

IV The Felling of the Tree

ILLUSTRATIONS

Photogravures from Original Drawings by Howard Pyle.

So they took the little fir from its place . . . (Frontispiece) The fields around lay bare to the moon . . . The sacred hammer of the God Thor . . . Then Winfried told the story of Bethlehem . . .

I THE CALL OF THE WOODSMAN

I

The day before Christmas, in the year of our Lord 722.

Broad snow meadows glistening white along the banks of the river Moselle; pallid hill sides blooming with mystic roses where the glow of the setting sun still lingered upon them; an arch of clearest, faintest azure bending overhead; in the center of the aerial landscape of the massive walls of the cloister of Pfalzel, gray to the east, purple to the west; silence over all, a gentle, eager, conscious stillness, diffused through the air like perfume, as if earth and sky were hushing themselves to hear the voice of the river faintly murmuring down the valley... Continue reading book >>


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