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The Gloomy Pine Tree | Circle Round 8119:10
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(Sabina Hahn for WBUR)
(Sabina Hahn for WBUR)

Do you know someone who wishes they could change something about themselves?

Maybe a friend who thinks her hair is too short, or a family member who believes life would be so much better if he were just five inches taller.

In today’s story, we’ll meet a character who wishes she could change everything about herself! But when she gets her wish, she’s in for a big surprise...

Our story is called “The Gloomy Pine Tree.” Versions of this tale originally come from the European country of Germany.

Voices in this episode include Mae Hedges, Maizy Scarpa, Eric and Igor Shimelonis, Alexia Trainor, Chris Tucci and Mykal-Michelle Harris. You can check out Mimi’s sitcom, Mixed-ish, on ABC.

This episode was adapted for Circle Round by Rebecca Sheir. It was edited by Virginia Marshall. Circle Round’s original music and sound design is by Eric Shimelonis. Our artist is Sabina Hahn. Circle Round’s executive producer is Katherine Brewer.


ADULTS! PRINT THIS so everyone can color while listening. We’re also keeping an album so share your picture on FacebookTwitterInstagram or Pinterest, and tag it with #CircleRound. We'd love to see it! To access all the coloring pages for past episodes click HERE. Our resident artist is Sabina Hahn and you can learn more about her HERE.


Things To Think About After Listening

Pick one of your favorite people — a family member or friend — and think about all the things that make them... them! In other words: all the things that make them unique.

Maybe they have a really great laugh or a fun sense of style. Maybe they bake the chewiest chocolate-chip cookies ever or give the warmest hugs.

Think about all those things, then share your list with that person. After that, have them make a list about you! In the end, not only will you appreciate each other even more… you’ll appreciate yourselves.


Musical Spotlight: Glockenspiel

The glockenspiel is a percussion instrument featuring tuned metal bars played with mallets. Originally, the glockenspiel was made of bells; in fact, in German, glockenspiel means “to play the bells.” Given the glockenspiel’s delicate, mystical sound — and its German origins — composer Eric Shimelonis thought the instrument would be ideal for a magical German story about a petite pine tree.


Script:

NARRATOR: One spring morning... in the middle of a great big forest… a tiny pine tree began to grow.

Or should I say, a tiny, gloomy pine tree began to grow.

You see, even though she was just a little sapling, already the little tree was as glum as can be.

PINE TREE: Ugh. Look at me. I’m growing all these spiky, waxy needles… and these scaly, prickly pine cones… All the other plants and trees in the forest are so much more beautiful than I am!

NARRATOR: The pine tree cast a longing glance at the flowers.

PINE TREE: I mean, look at the flowers — those daisies, for instance! They have such elegant green stems, such delicate white petals... (beat) Oh, if only I could be a flower like them!

NARRATOR: Two of the daisies happened to overhear the gloomy pine tree’s words.

DAISY 1: So... you wish you were a flower, eh...?

DAISY 2: Like us…?

PINE TREE: Yes! I do! I wish I were a flower! Just like you!

DAISY 1: You know, darling, being a flower isn’t really all it’s cracked up to be.

DAISY 2: If you could spend just a little while in our roots, you’d know what we’re talking about.

NARRATOR: The pine tree waved a needly branch.

PINE TREE: (scoff/pshaw!) Oh, you two must have been out in the sun too long this morning, because you’re talking nonsense! (beat) If I were a daisy, I’d be graceful and bright and soft and pretty… so pretty! (big sigh) But what’s the use of pining away? I’ll never be a daisy. Never.

NARRATOR: That night, along with all the other plants and trees, the gloomy pine tree went to sleep. But when she awoke the next morning…

PINE TREE: (discovering her new form) Oh my goodness!

NARRATOR: ...something was different. Very different!

Gone were the pine tree’s spiky, waxy needles. Gone were her scaly, prickly pine cones. Instead, she’d been transformed into…

PINE TREE: (totally astounded/thrilled) … a daisy!

NARRATOR: …complete with an elegant green stem, and delicate white petals.

PINE TREE: Woah! I can not believe this is happening! (beat) I’m a daisy. A daisy! Woohoo!!!

NARRATOR: The gloomy pine tree — or should I say, the “delighted daisy” — fluttered her leaves and bobbed her head. Never had she felt such joy, such happiness!

But then… as the spring days flew by and summer grew nearer… something happened.

Her delicate white petals began to wither… and her green leaves wilted. Her soft head kept drooping down, and try as she might, she couldn’t lift it up again!

Alarmed, she called out to her fellow daisies.

PINE TREE: Um, daisies? What’s going on here? I’m drooping and wilting and withering all over the place!

NARRATOR: The other daisies shrugged.

DAISY 1: Now you see what we were warning you about, darling!

DAISY 2: Sure, we daisies bloom and look all soft and pretty…

DAISY 1: ...but after a while, we droop, and wilt, and wither.

DAISY 2: That’s just the way it is!

PINE TREE: Well, I don’t like the way it is! And I don’t want to be a daisy anymore!

NARRATOR: She cast a glance around the forest. Her eyes landed... on an apple tree.

PINE TREE: You know what? I want to be a fruit tree — like that apple tree over there! Its branches are bursting with clusters of apples! How cool is that? (beat) Oh, if only I could be an apple tree!

NARRATOR: The apple tree happened to overhear her words.

APPLE TREE: Okay, let me get this straight. You wish you were an apple tree...? Like me...?

PINE TREE: Yes! I do! I wish I were an apple tree! Just like you!

APPLE TREE: You know, kid... being an apple tree isn’t always a walk in the park! (beat) Not that any of us plants can walk, but you know what I mean!

NARRATOR: The gloomy pine tree — or should I say, the disappointed daisy — shook her droopy head.

PINE TREE: No, I don’t know what you mean! If I were an apple tree, I’d be content as can be! And I’d be so proud of the fruit bursting from my branches! Back when I was a pine tree, all I had were those scaly, prickly pine cones. (big sigh) But what’s the use of pining away? I’ll never be an apple tree. Never.

NARRATOR: That night, she went to sleep. But when she awoke the next morning…

PINE TREE: (discovering her new form) Woooooow!

NARRATOR: ...something was different. Very different!

No longer did she have a wilted green stem and withered white petals. Instead, she’d been transformed into…

PINE TREE: (totally astounded/thrilled) … an apple tree!

NARRATOR: …complete with knobby brown branches, bursting with clusters of little green apples.

PINE TREE: Check this out!!! My wish came true! (beat) I’m an apple tree. An apple tree! Hooray!!!!!

NARRATOR: The gloomy pine tree — or should I say, the ecstatic apple tree — shivered with delight. Never had she felt such joy, such happiness!

But then… as summer turned to fall… and her little green apples grew into plump, ripe, red ones… something happened.

Something that she never expected.

What do you think happened to our pine-tree-turned-daisy-turned-apple-tree?

We’ll hear how the story continues… after a quick break.

[BREAK]

NARRATOR: Welcome back to Circle Round. I’m Rebecca Sheir. Today our story is called “The Gloomy Pine Tree.”

When we left off, a gloomy little pine tree wished she could be a daisy… and lo and behold, she became a daisy! But as spring turned to summer, her petals withered and her head drooped, so she wished she could be an apple tree… and wouldn’t you know it, she became an apple tree!

At first, her apples were small and green. But as they grew riper and riper, they turned bigger and bigger and redder and redder, until one crisp autumn afternoon...

SON:  Wow! Look at that one, Daddy!

NARRATOR: .. she heard two unfamiliar voices.

DAD: My goodness, son! Those apples look great!

NARRATOR: She looked around, and saw two strange animals coming toward her: one was tall, and one was short. The animals both walked on two legs, and unlike the other creatures in the forest, they didn’t have fur or feathers. And rather than paws or claws, they had hands… and each one held a basket.

DAD: What did I tell you, kiddo? I promised we’d find the tree with the most gorgeous apples...

SON: ...and here it is!

NARRATOR: The gloomy pine tree — or should I say, the ecstatic apple tree -- quivered with pride.

PINE TREE: (to herself) Now, that’s more like it! Back when I was a pine tree, nobody ever praised me for my spiky needles or prickly pine cones. But these creatures are thrilled to see me! (beat, tongue-in-cheek) How ‘bout them apples?

NARRATOR: But then, all of a sudden…

PINE TREE: (feeling a little tug) Ow!

NARRATOR: ...the tree felt...a little tug.

PINE TREE: (feeling a little tug) Yow!

NARRATOR: Then another…

PINE TREE: (feeling a little tug) Yipes!

NARRATOR: ...and another!

PINE TREE: (feeling a little tug) Yowza!

NARRATOR: That’s when she realized... the two creatures were picking her apples! And putting them in their baskets!

Aghast, she called out to the other apple tree.

PINE TREE: Um, apple tree? What’s happening? Why are these strange creatures plucking my apples?

NARRATOR: The apple tree shook its branches.

APPLE TREE: Look, kid, I told you being an apple tree isn’t always a walk in the park! Every autumn, human beings come and pick your apples! If you’re lucky, they leave a few behind… but then those leftovers get all shriveled and mushy and full of worms. (beat) That’s just how it goes!

PINE TREE: Well, I don’t like how it goes! And I don’t want to be an apple tree any more!

NARRATOR: She glanced around the forest. Her gaze landed on a maple tree.

PINE TREE: You know what? I want to be a maple tree — like that one right there! It’s so majestic — and see how some of its leaves are green, but others are turning gold, yellow, orange, and red? (beat) Oh, if only I could be a maple tree!

NARRATOR: The maple tree happened to overhear her words.

MAPLE TREE: Wait a second — wait a second! You really wish you were a maple tree...? Like me...?

PINE TREE: Yes! I do! I wish I were a maple tree! Just like you!

MAPLE TREE: You know, friend... being a maple tree isn’t all fun and games. (beat) You really don’t know what it’s like!

NARRATOR: The pine tree — or, should I say, the eager apple tree — scoffed.

PINE TREE: Yes, I do know what it’s like! It’s amazing! If I were a maple tree, I’d have a tall, regal trunk, and those amazing pointy leaves… and come the fall, they’d turn all sorts of awesome colors! (big sigh) But what’s the use of pining away? I’ll never be a maple tree. Never.

NARRATOR: That night, the pine-tree-turned-daisy-turned-apple-tree went to sleep. But when she awoke the next morning…

PINE TREE: (discovering her new form) No way!!!!

NARRATOR: ...something was different. Very different!

She was no longer an apple tree, with knobby brown branches and plump fruit. Instead, she’d been transformed into…

PINE TREE: (totally astounded/thrilled) … a maple tree!

NARRATOR: …complete with a towering trunk and thousands of red and orange and yellow leaves sparkling in the sun.

PINE TREE: Woah! I can hardly believe it! (beat) I’m a maple tree. A maple tree! Yippeeeee!

NARRATOR: The gloomy pine tree — or should I say, the merry maple tree -- swung her branches and listened to her leaves rustle. Never had she felt such joy, such happiness!

But then… as the autumn days flew by and winter grew nearer… something happened.

Once all of her leaves changed colors, they began to grow crispy, and brittle… then they fell right off! Soon, her branches were bare, and the ground around her was covered in crumbly brown leaves.

Mystified, she called out to the other maple tree.

PINE TREE: Um, maple tree? What’s all this about? My leaves are all gone! And I’m getting so cold out here! It’s freezing!

NARRATOR: The other maple tree tilted its branches.

MAPLE TREE: Friend, I tried to tell you! Being a maple tree isn’t always fun and games! Every autumn, our green leaves change colors, get all crunchy, then fall to the ground. (beat) That’s just the way things are! 

PINE TREE: Well, I don’t like the way things are! (beat, a bit more slowly) And I don’t want to be a maple tree any more! And I don’t want to be an apple tree! And I don’t want to be a daisy! (slowly, not realizing she’s actually talking about a pine tree!) I want to be something that stays nice and green... all year long! I don’t want human beings going around and picking stuff off my branches… and no matter how freezing-cold it gets outside, I want to stay nice and warm and snuggly. (big sigh) But what’s the use of pining away? I’ll never be all of those things. Never.

NARRATOR: That night, the pine-tree-turned-daisy-turned-apple-tree-turned-maple-tree went to sleep. But when she awoke the next morning…

PINE TREE: (discovering her new form, more surprised than ever) Would ya look at that!!???!!

NARRATOR: ...something was different. Very different!

She was no longer a maple tree, with crumbly leaves strewn around her.

Nor was she an apple tree, with apples bursting from her branches.

And nor was she a delicate little daisy.

Instead… she had spiky, waxy needles… designed to stay on her branches all year long, and protect her from ice and snow. She had prickly pine cones…with scales that actually closed up, to protect the tiny seeds inside from cold temperatures, brisk winds, and any animals that tried to eat them!

In short, she had been transformed into, yes...

PINE TREE: (totally astounded/appreciative) … a pine tree!

NARRATOR: ...but not a gloomy pine tree.

No.

From that day forward, she was a glad, grateful, glorious pine tree who didn’t want to be anything but herself.

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