It's a nice folktale to share in this season of Autumn.
(Story from the Vancouver Coast Region)
Once, a long time ago, a small bird broke his wing just as winter was coming along.
Unable to fly to the warm south with his friends, he hopped into the forest to look for shelter.
First he asked a birch tree for help.
"Lovely birch tree, " the bird said, "I've broken my wing and must find a place to keep warm. Will you let me live in your branches until spring?"
"Heaven no!" the birch replied, "I have enough to worry about just taking care of my leaves for the winter. I have no time to help you."
The little bird then hopped to a huge oak tree. "Mighty oak, "he said politely, "will you let me live in your branches until spring?"
"No way," the oak said. "I know your type. You'll just eat up all of my acorns. Move along, move along!"
The poor bird limped over to a willow tree. "Gentle willow," the bird implored, "may I live in your branches until spring?"
"Are you kidding?" the willow said. "Perhaps some trees take in strangers, but I certainly don't. Go away!"
Weak and dejected, the bird fluttered along, not knowing where to turn. "Where are you going, little bird" a concerned voice asked.
The bird looked up at a friendly Spruce. "I don't know,"he said miserably. "My wing is broken, so I can't fly south, and I need a warm place to stay for the winter."
"Come and live in my branches," the spruce said. "I'll be happy to have company for the winter."
The bird gratefully fluttered into a low branch and was settling down when a nearby pine tree called, "Welcome little bird. I'm sorry you are hurt. I'll help too, by sheltering the spruce to keep you both out of winter's icy wind."
"Me to," piped up a small juniper. "I can help by giving you berries to eat all winter long."
"You're all so kind,"the bird said. "Thank you very much."
"They'll be sorry," whispered the oak, the willow, and the birch.
The very next morning, Jack Frost brought his children out to play. “We want to touch all the leaves in the forest so we can see what bare trees look like. Can we, can we, Pop?" the Forest children jumped with excitement.
"Hold it," said Jack Frost sternly. Old Jack had been testing the air the day before and had seen the plight of the little bird.
"Don't touch every leaf," he ordered. "Let the trees who were kind to the little bird keep their leaves."
Being good children, the Frost children listened to their dad.
That is why today the spruce, the pine, and the juniper stay green the whole year long.