The Last Dream of the Old Oak

by Hans Christian Andersen


IN the forest, high up on the steep shore, and not far from the open seacoast, stood a very old oak-tree. It was just three hundred and sixty-five years old, but that long time was to the tree as the same number of days might be to us; we wake by day and sleep by night, and then we have our dreams. It is different with the tree; it is obliged to keep awake through three seasons of the year, and does not get any sleep till winter comes. Winter is its time for rest; its night after the long day of spring, summer, and autumn. On many a warm summer, the Ephemera, the flies that exist for only a day, had fluttered about the old oak, enjoyed life and felt happy and if, for a moment, one of the tiny creatures rested on one of his large fresh leaves, the tree would always say, “Poor little creature! your whole life consists only of a single day. How very short. It must be quite melancholy.”

“Melancholy! what do you mean?” the little creature would always reply. “Everything around me is so wonderfully bright and warm, and beautiful, that it makes me joyous.”

“But only for one day, and then it is all over.”

“Over!” repeated the fly; “what is the meaning of all over? Are you all over too?”

“No; I shall very likely live for thousands of your days, and my day is whole seasons long; indeed it is so long that you could never reckon it out.”

“No? then I don’t understand you. You may have thousands of my days, but I have thousands of moments in which I can be merry and happy. Does all the beauty of the world cease when you die?”

“No,” replied the tree; “it will certainly last much longer,— infinitely longer than I can even think of.” “Well, then,” said the little fly, “we have the same time to live; only we reckon differently.” And the little creature danced and floated in the air, rejoicing in her delicate wings of gauze and velvet, rejoicing in the balmy breezes, laden with the fragrance of clover-fields and wild roses, elder-blossoms and honeysuckle, from the garden hedges, wild thyme, primroses, and mint, and the scent of all these was so strong that the perfume almost intoxicated the little fly. The long and beautiful day had been so full of joy and sweet delights, that when the sun sank low it felt tired of all its happiness and enjoyment. Its wings could sustain it no longer, and gently and slowly it glided down upon the soft waving blades of grass, nodded its little head as well as it could nod, and slept peacefully and sweetly. The fly was dead.

“Poor little Ephemera!” said the oak; “what a terribly short life!” And so, on every summer day the dance was repeated, the same questions asked, and the same answers given. The same thing was continued through many generations of Ephemera; all of them felt equally merry and equally happy.

The oak remained awake through the morning of spring, the noon of summer, and the evening of autumn; its time of rest, its night drew nigh—winter was coming. Already the storms were singing, “Good-night, good-night.” Here fell a leaf and there fell a leaf. “We will rock you and lull you. Go to sleep, go to sleep. We will sing you to sleep, and shake you to sleep, and it will do your old twigs good; they will even crackle with pleasure. Sleep sweetly, sleep sweetly, it is your three-hundred-and-sixty-fifth night. Correctly speaking, you are but a youngster in the world. Sleep sweetly, the clouds will drop snow upon you, which will be quite a cover-lid, warm and sheltering to your feet. Sweet sleep to you, and pleasant dreams.” And there stood the oak, stripped of all its leaves, left to rest during the whole of a long winter, and to dream many dreams of events that had happened in its life, as in the dreams of men. The great tree had once been small; indeed, in its cradle it had been an acorn. According to human computation, it was now in the fourth century of its existence. It was the largest and best tree in the forest. Its summit towered above all the other trees, and could be seen far out at sea, so that it served as a landmark to the sailors. It had no idea how many eyes looked eagerly for it. In its topmost branches the wood-pigeon built her nest, and the cuckoo carried out his usual vocal performances, and his well-known notes echoed amid the boughs; and in autumn, when the leaves looked like beaten copper plates, the birds of passage would come and rest upon the branches before taking their flight across the sea. But now it was winter, the tree stood leafless, so that every one could see how crooked and bent were the branches that sprang forth from the trunk. Crows and rooks came by turns and sat on them, and talked of the hard times which were beginning, and how difficult it was in winter to obtain food.

It was just about holy Christmas time that the tree dreamed a dream. The tree had, doubtless, a kind of feeling that the festive time had arrived, and in his dream fancied he heard the bells ringing from all the churches round, and yet it seemed to him to be a beautiful summer’s day, mild and warm. His mighty summits was crowned with spreading fresh green foliage; the sunbeams played among the leaves and branches, and the air was full of fragrance from herb and blossom; painted butterflies chased each other; the summer flies danced around him, as if the world had been created merely for them to dance and be merry in. All that had happened to the tree during every year of his life seemed to pass before him, as in a festive procession. He saw the knights of olden times and noble ladies ride by through the wood on their gallant steeds, with plumes waving in their hats, and falcons on their wrists. The hunting horn sounded, and the dogs barked. He saw hostile warriors, in colored dresses and glittering armor, with spear and halberd, pitching their tents, and anon striking them. The watchfires again blazed, and men sang and slept under the hospitable shelter of the tree. He saw lovers meet in quiet happiness near him in the moonshine, and carve the initials of their names in the grayish-green bark on his trunk. Once, but long years had intervened since then, guitars and Eolian harps had been hung on his boughs by merry travellers; now they seemed to hang there again, and he could hear their marvellous tones. The wood-pigeons cooed as if to explain the feelings of the tree, and the cuckoo called out to tell him how many summer days he had yet to live. Then it seemed as if new life was thrilling through every fibre of root and stem and leaf, rising even to the highest branches. The tree felt itself stretching and spreading out, while through the root beneath the earth ran the warm vigor of life. As he grew higher and still higher, with increased strength, his topmost boughs became broader and fuller; and in proportion to his growth, so was his self-satisfaction increased, and with it arose a joyous longing to grow higher and higher, to reach even to the warm, bright sun itself. Already had his topmost branches pierced the clouds, which floated beneath them like troops of birds of passage, or large white swans; every leaf seemed gifted with sight, as if it possessed eyes to see. The stars became visible in broad daylight, large and sparkling, like clear and gentle eyes. They recalled to the memory the well-known look in the eyes of a child, or in the eyes of lovers who had once met beneath the branches of the old oak. These were wonderful and happy moments for the old tree, full of peace and joy; and yet, amidst all this happiness, the tree felt a yearning, longing desire that all the other trees, bushes, herbs, and flowers beneath him, might be able also to rise higher, as he had done, and to see all this splendor, and experience the same happiness. The grand, majestic oak could not be quite happy in the midst of his enjoyment, while all the rest, both great and small, were not with him. And this feeling of yearning trembled through every branch, through every leaf, as warmly and fervently as if they had been the fibres of a human heart. The summit of the tree waved to and fro, and bent downwards as if in his silent longing he sought for something. Then there came to him the fragrance of thyme, followed by the more powerful scent of honeysuckle and violets; and he fancied he heard the note of the cuckoo. At length his longing was satisfied. Up through the clouds came the green summits of the forest trees, and beneath him, the oak saw them rising, and growing higher and higher. Bush and herb shot upward, and some even tore themselves up by the roots to rise more quickly. The birch-tree was the quickest of all. Like a lightning flash the slender stem shot upwards in a zigzag line, the branches spreading around it like green gauze and banners. Every native of the wood, even to the brown and feathery rushes, grew with the rest, while the birds ascended with the melody of song. On a blade of grass, that fluttered in the air like a long, green ribbon, sat a grasshopper, cleaning his wings with his legs. May beetles hummed, the bees murmured, the birds sang, each in his own way; the air was filled with the sounds of song and gladness.

“But where is the little blue flower that grows by the water?” asked the oak, “and the purple bell-flower, and the daisy?” You see the oak wanted to have them all with him.

“Here we are, we are here,” sounded in voice and song.

“But the beautiful thyme of last summer, where is that? and the lilies-of-the-valley, which last year covered the earth with their bloom? and the wild apple-tree with its lovely blossoms, and all the glory of the wood, which has flourished year after year? even what may have but now sprouted forth could be with us here.”

“We are here, we are here,” sounded voices higher in the air, as if they had flown there beforehand.

“Why this is beautiful, too beautiful to be believed,” said the oak in a joyful tone. “I have them all here, both great and small; not one has been forgotten. Can such happiness be imagined?” It seemed almost impossible.

“In heaven with the Eternal God, it can be imagined, and it is possible,” sounded the reply through the air.

And the old tree, as it still grew upwards and onwards, felt that his roots were loosening themselves from the earth.

“It is right so, it is best,” said the tree, “no fetters hold me now. I can fly up to the very highest point in light and glory. And all I love are with me, both small and great. All—all are here.”

Such was the dream of the old oak: and while he dreamed, a mighty storm came rushing over land and sea, at the holy Christmas time. The sea rolled in great billows towards the shore. There was a cracking and crushing heard in the tree. The root was torn from the ground just at the moment when in his dream he fancied it was being loosened from the earth. He fell—his three hundred and sixty-five years were passed as the single day of the Ephemera. On the morning of Christmas-day, when the sun rose, the storm had ceased. From all the churches sounded the festive bells, and from every hearth, even of the smallest hut, rose the smoke into the blue sky, like the smoke from the festive thank-offerings on the Druids’ altars. The sea gradually became calm, and on board a great ship that had withstood the tempest during the night, all the flags were displayed, as a token of joy and festivity. “The tree is down! The old oak,—our landmark on the coast!” exclaimed the sailors. “It must have fallen in the storm of last night. Who can replace it? Alas! no one.” This was a funeral oration over the old tree; short, but well-meant. There it lay stretched on the snow-covered shore, and over it sounded the notes of a song from the ship—a song of Christmas joy, and of the redemption of the soul of man, and of eternal life through Christ’s atoning blood.

“Sing aloud on the happy morn,
All is fulfilled, for Christ is born;
With songs of joy let us loudly sing,
‘Hallelujahs to Christ our King.’”

Thus sounded the old Christmas carol, and every one on board the ship felt his thoughts elevated, through the song and the prayer, even as the old tree had felt lifted up in its last, its beautiful dream on that Christmas morn.

The Real Thing

A little story for you, some day in the future

OK, I lied.

The Donkey Truck doesn’t have a spa in it.

No water beds, no “majiklol lubs in it.”

But she’ll rub a tired traveler’s feet, and hopes he’ll stay for some soup

and Story time.

Nope. No majick.

It’s crunch time. There no majiklol lubs. The lubs are REAL, and they

are LOVE, with a capitol L. Majiklol lubs is just a term my mind

conjures up to help the sad times a little more bearable, and help you,

dear reader, see how wonderful plain ol’ Love can be. Sorry bowt dat

little deception. 🙂

When I started this blog, I said there would be fantasies. Thank you,

dear reader, for your patience and kindness of comments, reading

some of the most wild stuff, some of the most painfully honest. I have

been selfishly honest, and you have been breathtakingly kind and

supportive. This is one that I hope comes true. If I ever win the

lottery, you’ll know where to reach me, starting on Route 66.

Here comes REAL Donkey Truck, and I’m here, taking a risk at letting

you down, telling you a little crazily ,( like I am, just a little,)  *donkey

smile*  that I believe this truck will make it on the road, someday, that

I pray this truck MAKES it on down the road, a little non-profit

venture: Little Donkey’s Traveling Salvation Truck. Or Sister Donkey, if

you’re of that persuasion….

Throw in a little Salvation Army and you’ve got the right idea, and…

(and if you ARE of the Sister Donkey persuasion, here’s a little mood music so you can get in the right mood, LOL, while I tell you about my dream, and understand the name reference… 😀 )

And there we see the big ol’ barreling truck going down the highway, (hear the

music?) with a laughing Shrek Donkey on it, and a big ol’

heart=cheezburger (you know, cheeze=the solid milk of human

kindness, and all that…and some meat for physical sustenance, and

bread which man cannot live by alone….and a pickle. Yep! Cuz life

needs a few pickles to keep it interesting! ) and some other curious

symbols people have largely forgotten and people are pointing and

laughing, and a lone walking traveler sees it whizz by, and it honks,

and he sees it take the next exit….and he begins to run,

and it pulls into a truckstop.


and he runs, runs down the hill, cause he’s seen it before, and his

heart is hungry, hungrier than his grumbling stomach, and he forgets

his hurting feet, and he sees her open the door, the steps coming

down, and sees that great, big, bigger than life Sista Donkey comin’

down teh stairs, laughing loud, yes! he can hear it from the field! and

people are running! running to the truck! to be Fed.

New people are staring, children are pulling on their stunned parents.

Sally the truck stop waitress is standing outside, laughing with

pleasure. She told ’em, TOLD ’em Donkey was comin’! They thought

she was

crazy. Look at their faces! Look at ’em wantin’ to go in and lookin to

see if the others will first! Look at the animals, running, ignoring the

calls of the stunned owners, running up to the great big laughing

massive woman…

Look at the big man running down the hill, like he woulda missed

something! When will they learn? Nobody dat wants what the Donkey

gots to give EVER gets turned away or left behind! Donkey Truck ain’t

no Pied Piper at the gate! Everyone what wants to get There makes

it…no need worrying and having to run…

They crowd up and stare inside. They’re quiet.

Inside, there is no spa. There is no majick. Just plain old fashioned


There’s a little Chapel of Love. There will be story time there. A

Beautiful Story of Love, for those what ain’t heard it, and for those

who can’t stop wanting to hear it.

There is a little kitchen, where the beautimuss Carol, the Donkey’s

right hand is busy, Right Now! stirring some wonderful tummy

tantalizing Soup. There’s always just enough, just like the Bread.

There’s a special man who makes it, with honey, and wheat germ, and

whole wheat, and bananas, the most delicious Love Bread you ever

tasted, a man who hasn’t seen a drink in a long time and has come to

peace with the Donkey a long time ago…

(his cornbread’s not bad, either…)

There’s a little med station for the hurting, sick, and broken, and

Bread Dad mans it.

There’s a happy song on the radio emanating from the truck:

There are comfy old puffy couches, nothing an old traveler would be

afraid to plop down on, and there’s an old radio, playing music the way

it was meant to be played.

The walls are covered with pictures. Beautiful pictures. Pictures friends

drew, painted. Pictures of pets now over the bridge. Pictures of cheez

frends. Pictures of oceans, of mountains, of rivers. Posters with

wonderful things to read. Walls full of all manner of spectacular eye

candy. Pictures that make you laugh, and cry, and think.

There’s a little room, too, for the ones who need to shower, to soak,

to clean. There’s a little makeshift mini washer and drier, and clean

tee shirts and sweat pants for tired Travelers.

There’s a Need fullfilled for everyone. The room stays the same, yet

always fills the Need.

The old music player stops, and we listen in, and all we hear is a story

being told, and some happy slurps and sighs, and a little washer/dryer

unit working its little heart out, its hum comforting in the quiet room.

Bread Dad waits outside, quietly, petting Spot, puffing his cigar, while

Donkey tells the Story.

And the Donkey waits, patiently, for the day he’ll take over his father’s

job, and do his Father’s job, and the Donkey will listen, as it should be.

We have an Easter and Christmas story that’ll knock your socks off.

To Elka, With Love

(readers please see for reference)

Dear Elka,

Now that you are a Donkette, here is your first introductory lesson.

You probably know already that Elka means consecrated to God. Elke,

I understand, means Defender of Mankind.

Your Helmet is honored to be yours! It vibrates with

Joy and excitement! It knows better than you, like

the sorting hat, what potential lies beneath!

So without further ado, 🙂 I enclose the part one of what it means to

be a Donkey or Donkette.

Much Love,
Your Donkey

I. Indoctrination of the Sword for a Donkette and Would Be Donkettes

(See picture below)

Remember, Donkettes!
We must has a dilligunt!!

Always remember dat your “golden helmet is always on!” Ebben wen u r


Always protect and keep a Watchful eye out for teh weaker peepulls

and teh animulls and childrens. Doo not let teh bullies perservere.

They must be taught with compassion, yet zero tolerance.

You will has a “sword”. (Please to be seeing teh picture.) Dis sword

has sum purposes as:

1. Sword of Word:

Be Careful how you wield teh Sword of Word. It can wound

wurrser dan a fatal stab. It can kill friendships and begin wars. It can

destroy moral and love relationships. Misusing teh sword dis way will

plant a seed ub nastiness dat will grow and vibrate hatefully, corrupt

ing yer hart until you are as rotten as an old apple, and then only Fire

and Water can cleanse you. Remember, it isn’t what you take into

your mouth that makes you unclean, it’s what comes out, and after all

is said and done, remember this:

“Spiteful words can hurt your feelings but silence breaks your heart.”

A Sword of Word can be trumped by teh Terrible Wicked Nuffingness.

But do not let it!

The Sword of Word was meant for good!

Use your Words for Love and Good. A soft word turneth away wrath.

Love those when they least deserve it, for that is when they most

need it.

When others are cruel, treat them with compassion. A kind word to

one who is hurting and alone is like precious jewels. Find a use for

your sword every day. It is an honor, and should not lay, wasting. If

you neglect it, it may leave you. Every Good Act it performs

strengthens its mettle, stronger and stronger, until it is indomitable!

Use your Sword Wisely.

2. Sword of Defense

Some situations call for immediate defense, and no delay.

When someone is being battered, bullied, treated unfairly, gather all

your strength, and do not fail them.

Take a deep breath. Say a prayer. Imagine your Sword. Imagine the

Angels. The Angels Cheer When You Face Your Fear! They do!

Life is hard down here. They know it. Close your eyes…they are there.

They are backing you…ellebenty³ strong…holding you in the Light…be

pure of heart and intention, and forge forward.

Laughter and mockery can cut and divide. It can wither. A pompous

and angry and/or prideful response will feed it like gasoline on a fire. A

gentle warm smile can turn away mockery and shame the cruel.

Beware, though. Some bullies are not just ignorant, or scared children.

Some are cruel and relentless. They will not stop until you Cut. Them.

Down. It is sad, but you must not tolerate this type, you must not

show an iota of kindness, which they will perceive as weakness and

eat you alive if they can. They require swift justice and action.

Remember your Cheeze Frends. They are hundreds strong, and we are

there behind you…

A man in San Francisco was walking up the street. He looked like a

war victim. I imagined wildly, “He was tortured by the VC.” He was

barely making it up the steep hill. He staggered as though it were his

last step, and his body was riddled and twisted.

A group of boys mocked and ridiculed him. My rage was so strong I did

not defend him. I was frozen, furious and disbelieving.

Many years ago, a nursing home patient was in my trust. My nursing

aide partner was with me that night. We were changing her sheets.

My partner said, “Watch this,” and proceeded to gently smack both

her cheeks with her palms.

The woman ,who could not speak, turned red with fury. I was


I was in shock. I did nothing.

The pain and agony over such acts, or lack thereof, are a million times

more damaging and painful than the consequences of any act of

bravery I can imagine. The former wounds the soul and leaves a

cancerous seed. The latter can only wound the flesh.

You can redeem yourself. Remember to take the opportunities when

they come.

Make it your mantra: I’m facing my fear! I’m facing my fear! and.. The

angels cheer when you face your fear!

My poor boy managed to watch IT when he was six. He was terrified

for years. One night in our basement rooms he told me about his fear

of going up the stairs alone. I shared with him the above. I then

watched a terrified eight year old boy cry out, “I’m facing my fear! I’m

facing my fear!” as he ran alone, unassisted, up those steps, while I

cheered and yelled, “The angels are cheering!”

Wicked acts and doing nothing (Evil will prevail when good men do nothing) will harm your soul with a seed of destruction. Good acts and bravery will strengthen you like diamonds, strength of diamond, softness of a dove.

Once you succeed, it gets easier.

Always remember, our imagination can always trump reality in terms of

perception. Your perception is the most important thing you can

have. Your attitude and how you perceive a situation can make all the

difference in the world.

3. Sword of Love

Love is a choice. You can choose to love everyone. That includes

yourself. You cannot disregard this one person, or you will fail. You

can! To be donkette, you must! It is not only necessary, you must

constantly strive to achieve it. You do not have to like them. You do

not have to

approve of them. But thou mayest…you have the God-given CHOICE

to feel as you wish. You can pull back or you can rush forward,

embracing the challenge, and changing your life.

Step One, you must “clear out the slush fund.” When you harbor

resentment or hate, you allow the perpetrator to be victorious, and

to poison you from the inside out. It will grow like a poisonous seed. It

will fill you with a slush fund that will boil over when innocent people

create innocent trespasses, and you will hate yourself for lashing out

at them. When you do, the act will secrete poison that will feed the

seed .

Kill the seed with your sword of love. It may hurt, but it will be okay.

Forgive everyone who has ever hurt you. The sword of love derives

its power from your maker. It is indominable when used purely for pure

purpose. You must release all old resentments. Your maker can help

you with this. Meditate on this and ask for Help.

Step 2

Stop disrespecting your temple with vain misguided attempts to be

loved. Remember, you must love yourself, too. Your God-given

temple that your soul resides in is not to be used casually and tossed

aside, for thrills. Would you allow an Orgy in your church? How much

do you respect what it represents? Will you not treat it with


Never confuse lust or infatuation for love.

There is love that is a choice.
There is attraction that is chemical.
There is infatuation that is addiction

To marry the right partner, determine your common mores, ideals, and

interests. You should want to be together and enjoy one anothers

company, even if no romantic feelings are involved. Could this person

be your best friend, even if you weren’t attracted? This will need to

carry you through. Looks can fade, or be attacked by fate.

Attraction can fade. Infatuation will surely die. Choose to love

everyone, and choose your special life long partner by commonality.

The special oneness should come from the sacred connection, not as

something to be used casually, like a bag of chips, and left behind.

Infatuation comes from fear and insecurity. It is not love. When you

cannot allow those you love to be free, that is infatuation.

Some of us have spent years yearning for men and things we could

not have. The inability to have them made my fire burn hotter. When

I was able to have them, I was disgusted by them for wanting me and

allowing me to have them in return. I was not loving. I was finding a

thing or person, craving it, disrespectfully using it, and tossing it aside l

ike trash.

If you find you cannot love, only crave, I recommend what I did. Step

aside from sexual relationships.

Choose to love everyone.