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The Tale of Three Trees, A Christmas Story

Updated on November 29, 2011

A book for Christmas and Easter, a timeless tale for anyday.

One of my favorite stories to read at Christmas is an American traditional folktale, The Tale of The Three Trees, as retold by Angela Elwell Hunt. I guess I had always considered it a Christmas story because of the symbolic references used with "the trees", and the fact that, traditionally, trees are just a part of our Christmas experience. Looking at the book anew, I have decided it is really also a story about Easter. For without Easter the Christmas story simply would not have much significance, now would it?

Our dreams can be realized, but not always as we might expect.

The story begins by telling of three trees, who dream of what their life will be like. Each has an idea of what they would like to become or do. Just as we have goals set and things we would like to do and become, the trees find out, like we do, the process of becoming might be a little different than what we might expect.

The first tree desired to be a treasure box and ends up as a mere feeding trough.

"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." Luke 2: 1-7

The second desired to be a strong sailing ship, and ultimately becomes a small fishing boat, carrying stinking fish.

"And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!"

Matthew 8:23-27

The third who wanted to remain planted and point Heavenward, as the tallest tree in the forest, is made into lumber that is fashioned into a cross.

"And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. And sitting down they watched him there; And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left." Matthew 27: 32-38

What appears to be unanswered dreams really are fulfilled with Jesus Christ.

At first glimpse their individual dreams seem to be unanswered. This is an illustration of one of my favorite scriptures, 1 Samuel 16:7, "for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."

The Tale of Three Trees

The application of the Atonement, brings blessings to our lives.

Although each one of the trees reaches their potential in the end, their dreams are only made possible because of the gift of the Atonement. Their dreams are realized in full, but not in the way that they imagined. We are reminded that God is ever mindful of us and that he has a work for each of us to do that is glorious and beautiful, that is part of His magnificent plan. I can liken that to myself, in that my dreams can only be made a reality through the application of the Atonement in my life.

How to make our dreams realities...

True happiness is only available when we submit to the will of God, The Father, and align our will with His will. This submission requires us to remove pride from our lives and become meek, humble, teachable and willing to submit to all things that are given to us, whether they are in the form of blessings or trials.

This is exactly the path that Jesus Christ followed as he blessed the world with His ultimate sacrifice. Through his death and resurrection, He overcame the "world" and gave us the opportunity to do the same, as we follow Him.

As we learn to abide by the ways of the Lord and not lean on the "arm of flesh", we will come to understand that man's ways are not God's ways. As we learn to do as directed in the book of Proverbs , "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths", our ways will become His ways and all our dreams will be made beautiful realities.


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    • Blessed Success profile image

      Sandy J Duncan 

      6 years ago from Kansas City, Kansas

      This was very beautifully written. All 5 of our children loved the Tale of the Three Trees. Keep up the great ministry in sharing Jesus with others.

    • profile image

      Llil T 

      7 years ago

      This is a great story. It nearly brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for posting it.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This story makes my christmas

    • Annette R. Smith profile image

      Annette Smith 

      8 years ago from Ocala, Florida

      What a great gift idea ... for Christmas, Easter, or any time of year, really. Thank you for providing us with more information about the book, the author, and the story. May your Christmas be beautiful and blessed!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I saw this movie in my class, in my school, it was a very nice story.

      I am doing a report on it, and doing some research and all!

      Very nice story!


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thank you so much for this reminder that God's ways are not man's ways! May we all learn to trust in Him and not lean upon our own understanding.

      Loved the story of the three trees...very touching and inspiring.

      Your hub was most informative and helpful, much appreciated. I don't have the book yet but plan to buy it and share it with my grandchildren!

      Blessings to all. Lily

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 

      9 years ago from Tucson, Az

      great review/never heard of this story but I found your CD/favourite spot of mine/barnes and noble of course! here's the link

    • deepanjana profile image


      10 years ago

      Wonderful review.. loved your words!

    • Chin chin profile image

      Chin chin 

      10 years ago from Philippines

      I love this story. It teaches a lot of priceless truth. I think I have seen an animated version of this. Great review.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I loved your hub. I too have a Christian witness to proclaim! Check out my hubs.

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 

      11 years ago from Wisconsin

      I have never read this before. Thank you. It is beautiful. I might have to buy it to read to the kids (and myself!).

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      11 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi Diana, whether it is for Christmas or Easter this one is truly a beautiful and timeless story. I am bookmarking this hub so I could read and re-read this one. :)

    • profile image

      Mormon Soprano 

      11 years ago

      I've always loved this story. The Video retelling is really nice. Thanks for putting all of this together

    • pjdscott profile image


      11 years ago from Durham, UK

      A lovely hub - your pont about Christmas relating to Easter is a very valid one. It's nice to be reminded of Christian values... they keep life in perspective...

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      11 years ago from California


      With all that is happening in the world today, I just felt that this was a good time to reintroduce this Hub. It is one of hope and peace. As a Christian I know where I can turn for that peace that is so often lost in everyday life. I love the fact that if we will submit to the will of our Father we can become something beautiful. His plans are better than ours. This is my favorite Christmas/Easter story, and everyday message. Thanks for stopping by and reading.

    • allshookup profile image


      11 years ago from The South, United States

      Dog, I love this story. I got it in an email earlier this week. Give me goosebumps and tears. There's no limit to what God can do with us if we let Him. When you see something happen for Him then you look at it and realize that you have had a small part in it, it's the most awesome feeling! If we would only allow God to use us more, what a wonderful world this would be! He's just waiting on us to let Him. Thank you for posting this. It's a great hub! Very inspiring. We need more of them.

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      11 years ago from California


      I hope you enjoyed this Christmas Story. I just think that if we start preparing now, maybe we can have Christmas in our hearts for a longer period of time. This is one of my favorite stories about the Savior Jesus Christ. Kids and adults of all ages love it. I can't read it without crying every time... Yes, He was carrying the King of Heaven and earth!

    • solarshingles profile image


      11 years ago from london

      What a beautiful story, text of hub, video and strong symbolic! Diena thank you to send me The Tale of Three Trees. 'He was carrying The King of heaven and earth...'

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      12 years ago from California


      You will love the book, I am sure of that! Thanks for your comments.

    • commentonthis7 profile image


      12 years ago

      i've never have read this book i've have to read it great hub

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      12 years ago from California


      I too, have always considered it a Christmas story, but why not bring it out for Easter as well. Thank you for stopping by. Happy Easter to you also.

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      12 years ago from California


      This is an incredible book, one that brings tears to my eyes each time I read it. Please do try and read the story.

    • sdorrian profile image


      12 years ago from Chicago

      Great Hub. I love this book! I gave it to my nephew for Christmas last year. Happy Easter!

    • cgull8m profile image


      12 years ago from North Carolina

      I haven't read this book, sounds good, will check it out. People should read more books like this instead of horror and wizadry type of stories.

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      12 years ago from California


      No problem, I enjoyed your Hub and thought it went very nicely with this one. Thank you for your nice remarks. Happy Easter to you as well.

    • Rob Jundt profile image

      Rob Jundt 

      12 years ago from Midwest USA

      Very nice as usual. I love your grounding in the faith and sound doctrine. I always enjoy reading your work. Peace. Thanks for the link as well. Happy Easter!

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      12 years ago from California


      Thank you for your compliments. I do love this book.

    • LdsNana-AskMormon profile image

      Kathryn Skaggs 

      12 years ago from Southern California

      A very nice book review - on a lovely book for Easter...




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