you know the story of holger danske, so we won’t repeat it, but will ask you if you remember how “holger danske conquered the great land of india, eastward at the end of the world, to the tree called ‘the tree of the sun,’ ” as christen pedersen says. do you know christen pedersen? it makes no difference if you don’t.
holger danske gave prester john his power and rule over india. have you heard about prester john? yes? well, it makes no difference if you haven’t, because he doesn’t come into our story. you are going to hear about the tree of the sun “in india, eastward at the end of the world,” as people believed it to be then, for they hadn’t studied their geography the way we have – but that makes no difference, either!
the tree of the sun was a magnificent tree, such as we have never seen and most likely never will see. its crown stretched out for miles around; it was really an entire wood, for each of its smallest branches formed, in turn, a whole tree. palms, beech pines, plane trees, yes, andy other kinds of trees grew here, trees that are to be found all over the world; they sprang forth, as small branches, from the great branches, and these, with their knots and windings, were like hills and valleys, carpeted with soft, velvety green, and covered with thousands of flowers. each branch was like a great blooming meadow or the most beautiful garden. the blessed sun shone down upon it, for, remember, it was the tree of the sun.
here the birds from all over the world gathered together, birds from the primeval forests of america, the rose gardens of damascus, or the wild woods of africa, where the elephant and the lion imagine that they alone reign. polar birds came here, and the stork and swallow naturally did, too. but the birds were not the only living creatures here; the stag, the squirrel, the antelope, and hundreds of other beautiful and light-footed animals were at home in this place. the crown of the tree was a spreading, fragrant garden, and in the very center of it, where the great branches rose up into a green hill, there stood a castle of crystal, with a view toward every country in the world. each tower rose up in the form of a lily, and one could ascend through the stem, for inside there were winding stairs. one could step out onto the leaves – these were the balconies; and up in the cup of the flower was a beautiful, brilliant round hall, with no roof above it, only the blue sky, with either the sun or the stars.
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