o! No!” I cried but no-one could hear me. I could do nothing but shake as I stood all alone in that vast, empty store. I heard the big heavy doors close noisily and the jangling of keys before the heavy footsteps faded away.
Why hadn't somebody taken me home? I could have looked just as pretty as the other trees if I was dressed in some glittery decorations.
All afternoon, I had been forced to listen to nasty remarks by the store's shoppers.
"Oh, this one is a bit straggly," a snooty nosed woman had said. "This tree looks like it's ready for the bin," commented another.
I was feeling very miserable. What a horrible day I'd had. As I stood there, the only Christmas tree left in Jackson's Emporium, I thought I was completely alone when suddenly I heard a small voice.
"I see you aren't wanted either."
I couldn't believe it: a pretty little fairy doll was speaking to me. I noticed that her dress was all crumpled and grubby but she had the most beautiful face I had ever seen.
"Don't you feel terribly sad that no-one wants you?” I asked.
The fairy doll laughed. She had the sweetest giggle that made me forget my sadness for a moment.
"I'm quite used to it," she said. "I've been in and out of the Christmas box for years. They even put me in the January sales but still, no-one wants me."
Just then, we heard a key turn in the lock and the door creaked open. Then a bucket crashed down onto the floor. Old Meg, the cleaner came waddling in, shoving her bucket along with her foot.
"You poor little thing," she said, stooping to pick up the fairy doll. “I remember you from last year."
Old Meg rested the fairy doll on one of my branches. Then she began to slop soapy water from the bucket onto the grey floor tiles.
The fairy and I both watched silently as old Meg huffed and puffed, pushing her mop backwards and forwards. Soon, she vanished up one of the other aisles and the fairy doll and I were alone again.
"When she goes we'll have our own Christmas party," giggled the fairy doll.
I felt all tingly and excited. "But what will we do?" I asked her.
Before she had time to answer, a door was flung open and a giant of a man stood in the doorway. I didn't like the look of him at all. I heard him ask old Meg if there was any rubbish for the skip. He looked in my direction.
"This ragged old tree is no good for anything now, I'll get rid of it."
Before I knew it, I was out in the cold night air, tossed on the top of a pile of old rubbish. I wanted to scream and cry. Above me was a dark sky and the wind was howling.
Although it was no time at all, really, I felt like I was laying in the smelly skip for hours. I had given up hope of ever getting out of there. Suddenly I heard a kind, familiar voice.
"So that's where the old misery put you, is it?" It was dear old Meg. I was pleased to see her.
"Come on, my beauty, you're coming home with me and guess what I've got in my bag?" She chuckled.
I had no idea what she had in her bag but I didn't care. I was going to be her Christmas tree and I was delighted!
When we arrived at old Meg's small but cosy little house, she leaned me against the kitchen wall while she went into the garden shed to find a bucket to plant me in. She pushed my roots into the bucket of cool earth and it felt so good!
The old lady arranged me in the bay window before standing back to admire me. I watched as she fumbled in her bag and to my surprise and delight, old Meg pulled out my fairy friend. I shook my needles with pleasure.
That evening, after old Meg had finished her cup of tea and her mince pie, she took a box out of a cupboard and removed the lid. It was filled with sparkly tinsel and pretty baubles.
I was being dressed for Christmas and I was very proud.
I watched as old Meg fumbled with my fairy friend's grubby dress. She washed it and pressed it and brushed the doll's untidy hair. With a new strip of tinsel stitched to the hem of her clean dress, the fairy doll looked amazing.
Soon the little fairy doll was sitting in her rightful place, right at the top of a Christmas tree....and that tree was ME!
What a wonderful Christmas it turned out to be, after all.