It was a few days before Christmas. A soft snow fell over the city and outlined the twigs of shrubs in front yards of small houses in an obscure neighborhood. Far from the big stores and bright lights of downtown, people went about their daily routines. People cooked special dishes and hid the surprises they had bought for the children. In the soft afternoon light, a little bush stood proud of his beautiful red berries. He could just hear the sound of flutes and childrens’ voices coming from the school across the street. It was the last day of school before the holidays and Mme. Victoria had taught each class to play or sing a special Christmas piece. He knew he looked very fine with his snowy filigree and crimson berries. He knew that at every season he had his own special beauty. White blossoms, green or bright autumn leaves were all to come in season but somehow, at that moment of music and snowflakes he felt totally content.
Suddenly, he heard a little sigh from the next yard. It was his neighbor. “You look nice,” she breathed softly. “It is very pleasant to stand next to you. It is a little dark at this time of the year. How pretty the bells the children are playing sound! They will soon be coming out of school and then it will be quite dark”. I like to see your berries glowing in the streetlight, in the moonlight.” And she gave another little sigh.
” Ah, the poor girl, ” he thought to himself. ” She feels poor and drab without any decorations on her twigs and branches.”
A short time later the little girl next door ran across the street. After a few moments she came out with her father, a dark-haired smiling young man. The berry-bush looked curiously as they walked around his neighbor. They seemed to be tying her up with some sort of cord. Then they both went inside the house and immediately, the sad little shrub was illuminated with scores of small coloured lights. The little girl and her father came back out and smiled in delight to see her glowing with many colors.
Later in in the middle of the night when the street was absolutely still and quiet the berry-bush complimented his neighbor on her transformation. “Oh, well, you know, it’s none of my doing.” she replied. “Still, it is wonderful to stand with you neighbor, each one shining in our own special way.”