In the silent forest, the snow on the fir branches makes the night sparkle. It is as if the stars in the sky have come down to give the earth their lights and make the ground and the plants glow. All this whiteness illuminates the undergrowth with magic. Tonight, the animals of the forest have come together to celebrate Christmas.

Everyone came with food. The deer made moss and acorn pies, the squirrels baked hazelnut tarts. The badgers made root stew. The rabbits brought leaf salads. The wild boars brought truffles and potatoes and all the birds made big piles of red fruit.

It is a huge feast that takes place in the clearing. Everyone feasts, laughs and shares some of their winter provisions. On this special, sweet night, there is an old tradition among the forest animals. Each one has to tell a personal story, a story that has touched them during the year.

The first to jump in is one of the squirrels. He perches on a stump and says:

    - It was early autumn. I see a small human in a sunflower yellow jacket bending down to pick up nuts between the leaves. He was scraping the earth with a stick. I thought he was going to take all my fruit. But as I watched him from my branch, I noticed that he was going back and forth. He was making a little pile of nuts at the foot of my tree. This sweet little heart must have seen me earlier. Then his mother called him and he left. This little human made my winter supply of hazelnuts in one afternoon and delivered them to my house.

Then it's the robin's turn to tell his story, hopping around in the snow.

    - My husband and I didn't know where to build our nest, because the groves in the fields had been cut down. In spring, no house, we start to worry. We talked to our friend the chickadee, who pointed out a place. We decided to go there. And, in the name of a blue feather, we found a huge garden with vegetables, herbs, hedges and big trees. Saved, we were able to build our nest and feed our children.

Everyone listens attentively to each story with big smiles and " oooww " of admiration.

It is one of the rabbits with the pom-pom tail, now standing on its two hind legs. He begins:

    - In spring it was already stiflingly hot. In the burrows we could no longer breathe and there was no shade without the tall grass. In the meadow, the flowers no longer grew, the bees were absent. A beekeeper with one of his friends set up hives on the edge of the wood. They sowed seeds everywhere, singing happily every morning. The flowers grew in the summer, putting colour everywhere and the bees gathered them. Now we have tall grass, shade, food and lots of friendly neighbours.

A little mouse that was there on the snow cried out in a very clear voice, shivering at the same time:

    - Ah summer! Time of the delicious little seeds. Soon it will return.

A badger looks at him and holds out its paw.

    - Here you are, mouse, some oat seeds from my attic.

The boar also wants to tell his story, he starts off grumpy.

    - Nobody likes us. Humans close their gardens because we eat everything. But we are always hungry, as my cousin says. Pigs eat a lot of earthworms. So we found a solution by having a meeting with the council of the big wild pigs. I'll tell you about it next time, because it's top secret.

One of the last animals to speak is the mother fox. She opens her eyes, crinkled with cunning, and tells the story softly.

    - One of my fox cubs got lost this autumn in the large fields of bare earth. I couldn't see him anymore with the colour of the leaves. The dogs were barking in all directions, he got scared and ran away. Fortunately, a little girl from the neighbouring village took him in the evening when it was dark. She fed him, tamed him and wrapped him in a warm blanket to comfort him. Then they said goodbye and I got my fox back in great shape. I thank this little girl.

When everyone has finished their story and eaten well, the King of the Forest, the great stag, declares before sunrise.

    - My dear friends, thank you for all your stories, it has been a beautiful year for all of us. Let us be grateful for the abundant nature that protects and nourishes us. Many humans are good, because they help us, especially the children. There will surely be more of them next year, they know we exist. If we live together, then we will always be happy.

After these words, all the animals talk to each other, satisfied and happy. They all go home, nice and warm, after a fairy night. They all go to sleep, hoping to find a present in front of their burrow when they wake up.

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