The Christmas Tree in the Pasture

by George T. Crowley, Jr.
January 2, 1931 - May 19, 2014

Christmas Tree

It was just a few days before Christmas and it was a beautiful day for wintertime. I decided to clear the front pasture of weeds, small trees and brush. This was necessary, because if I didn't mow, we would not be able to see the pretty pond from the Triple C Ranch house. I put on my gloves and warm cap and started my tractor with the big mower. I began mowing back and forth, back and forth. As I was mowing, I noticed a small tree. It was a tiny cedar tree, barely tall enough to come to my granddaughter's knees. I said to myself, "I'll mow down that little tree because I don't want cedar trees growing in my pasture."

On the next trip back or forth - I can't remember which - I was coming toward the tree to mow it down. Something darted in front of the tractor. I jerked the steering wheel to avoid a collision and in doing so I completely missed the little cedar tree. Charlie Cottontail I stopped the tractor because - would you believe? - right beside the big tractor wheel stood a rabbit! He was standing on his two hind legs. His nose was twitching, his eyes were alert and his little stubby tail was wiggling so fast it was fanning up dirt.

When I regained my breath, I looked at the rabbit and laughingly said, "What's your name?" To my very great surprise, I heard a small voice say, " My name is Charlie Cottontail, and I don't want you to cut down our Christmas Tree! It's a Christmas tree for all the little creatures of the pasture."

I tried to shake the sounds out of my ears because I know that rabbits can't talk. I stopped and lit my pipe and then I decided that I would ask that rabbit Charlie another question. I said,"Who are the other creatures of the pasture, Charlie?" The rabbit say, " Well, there"s Amy Armadillo, Stinky Skunk, Freddy Field Mouse and Goofy Gopher, to name a few."

I said, "Gee, that's quite a crowd! By the way Charlie, where did that tiny cedar tree come from? After all they are not usually found in these pastures." Charlie replied, "A big black bird, Connie Crow, brought it to us a couple of years ago. Of course, she didn't bring us a whole tree. She brought us a seed. We planted the seed and, as you can see, it grew. Connie Crow said the tree is her Christmas present to all the little creatures of the pasture.

Farmer George, if you mow it down, we will all be very sad. The larger creatures - the deer, the coyotes and cattle - can choose a big oak for their Christmas tree. We small animals cannot reach the limbs of those trees to put on decorations," said Charlie. I asked, "What do the small creatures use for decorations?" He said, "Amy Armadillo will bring bright red leaves from the sumac bush. Stinky SkunkStinky Skunk will give little white hairs from his tail. Freddy Field Mouse and Goofy Gopher will bring acorns and hang them on the tree for bells. As for me, I'll find the prettiest yellow leaf from the cottonwood tree and, because I stand the tallest, I will place it on top of the tree."

Again, I thought to myself, this is really funny. Rabbits can't talk. Perhaps it's just the wind in my ears or maybe it's just the toll of the years. Anyway, I will just finish mowing down this little tree and surely the voice and the rabbit will leave me. Just as I started the tractor, I noticed that the dirt close to where Charlie had been standing seemed to be moving.

Before I could put the tractor in gear I heard another voice: "Stop, Farmer George, and listen to me!" I looked around and saw a small head poke its way out of the ground just at the place I had seen the dirt move. It was Goofy Gopher, I supposed. "Farmer George," he continued, "You've got a couple problems. First you know that we animals can't talk and yet you stopped your mowing to listen to us." Your second problem is forgetting that all animals are God's creatures. Remember the Sunday school song you used to sing 'All creatures great and small, the Lord God loves them all'?" The little creatures of the pasture would like to celebrate Christmas just as you larger creatures do.

Then Goofey Gopher said," We will make a deal with you. If you will not mow down this tiny cedar tree and help us by mowing around it so it will be easy to see, we little creatures of the pasture will decorate it each year and share it with you and your family at Christmas."

I didn't answer; I just nodded my head "yes" as I began to remember a Christmas a long time ago when our daughters were small children. I cut down a small cedar tree from the ranch and we decorated it for them. It looked like the one in the pasture and it made a fine Christmas tree which we enjoyed very much. I made up my mind right then: I will never mow down the little tree. I will let it grow so that the little creatures of the pasture will always have a Christmas tree at the ranch.

Christmas Tree

Asleep that night; in my dreams I could see
a flurry of activity around the little tree.
The leaves were hung and the acorns were placed
Spider's webbed icicles and circle's with grace
A yellow leaf placed on top of the tree
Firmly attached by the wax of a Bee.
The work almost done, all gathered to see
the final decoration of this tiny Christmas tree.
When the moonlit webs were covered with dew,
showing sparkles of light when a small wind blew
They knew the tree was decorated just right
There were ooh's and ah's of joy from the Creatures that night.


~ The End ~

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"It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas"
MIDI sequence by Martha Decker

Illustration of Christmas tree by Pat Crowley

Story and Illustration by © 1996-2014 by George T. Crowley, Jr.
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