The Legend of the Douglas Fir Cone
(adapted from Native American legends about the Douglas Fir)
          Once upon a time, long, long ago, a huge fire raged through the forest, burning a vast area. Many animals were on the run from the burning heat and flames-deer, porcupine, bears, mice, and many others. Unfortunately, the trees of the forest could not escape the fire.
          One of the mice ran from one tree to another, trying to find one that could help him survive the fire since she knew she couldn’t outrun it. But tree after tree, including the maple, the cherry and the red cedar told the little mouse that they could not help her. “We will not survive this intense heat and flames ourselves,” they told the desperate mouse.
          The mouse ran as fast as she could. The flames and heat were intense. Ahead of her she saw a great tree with thick bark and deep grooves running through the bark. Large cones hung from the top of the tree.
          The mouse begged the tree, known as the Douglas Fir, to help her. The tree told the mouse that its thick bark would protect it from the fire.
          “Climb into one of my pine cones, way at the top,” said the tree.
          The mouse climbed up and crawled deep between the scales of the cone. The mice behind her followed and soon there were many mice hiding in the scales of the cones.
          The thick bark of the tree protected the tree from the fire. And all the mice were safe, burrowed into the cones at the top.

          If you look at a Douglas Fir cone today, you can see the mice hiding there.

Can you see the mice?


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