The mouse and the Douglas Fir Tree / by Cynthia Lait


Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have many Douglas Fir trees.  Tall, thick-barked, resistant to fires, they can live up to 1000 years. As I was walking in the Grand Forest with many Douglas Firs, I ran into someone who shared the following story with me.

Legend has it that a long time ago, there was a large forest filled with many trees and animals.  During a thunderstorm, lightning struck a tree and started a forest fire. Terrified, the animals started fleeing the forest to find safety. 

One small mouse was running as fast as it could, but soon realized it would not be able to outrun the fire.  It approached several trees, asking for help, but each tree told the mouse that they couldn't help, as they would soon be engulfed by the flames. 

Finally, the mouse asked a Douglas Fir tree.  The tree replied, 'Yes, I think I can help you.  Climb up my trunk and take cover inside my pine cones.  I should be able to withstand this fire, and you will be safe.'

So the mouse did as it was told, and the rest of the mice followed suit. The forest fire ran its course and the Douglas Fir survived, as did the mice. To this day, if you look at the cones of a Douglas Fir, you can see the tails of mice hiding inside the cones.