Christmas tale: the pine tree in St. Martin (ENG, PORT, ESPA)


On Christmas Eve, the parish priest of the little village of St. Martin, in the French Pyrenees, was getting ready to celebrate Mass when he began to smell a delicious perfume. It was winter, the flowers had disappeared a long time ago – and yet there was this pleasant smell as if springtime had appeared out of season.

Intrigued, he went outside to look for the cause of such a marvel, and came across a boy sitting in front of the school door. By his side was a kind of golden Christmas tree.

“But what a beautiful tree!” said the vicar. “It seems to have touched the sky, for it gives off such a divine scent! And it’s made of pure gold! Where did you find it?”

The young man did not seem very happy at what the priest had said.

“It’s true that what I carry with me was growing heavier and heavier as I went along, and the leaves did get harder. But it can’t be gold, and I’m afraid of what my parents are going to say.”

The boy went on to tell his story:

“This morning I left to go to the big city of Tarbes with the money that my mother gave me to buy a nice Christmas tree. But when I was going through a village I happened to see a lonely old woman who had no family to spend the great feast of Christianity with. I gave her some money for her supper, because I was sure that I could get a discount on the tree I was going to buy.

“When I reached Tarbes, I passed in front of the big prison and there was a bunch of people waiting outside to visit the inmates. They were all sad, for they would spend the night far from their beloved ones. I heard some of them commenting that they did not even have enough to buy a slice of Christmas cake. Right there and then, moved by the romanticism of people my age, I decided that I would share my money with those people, who needed it more than I did. I would keep just a very small amount for lunch; the florist is a friend of my family and he would surely give me the tree, and then I could work for him all next week to pay off my debt.

“However, on reaching the market I found out that the florist I knew had not come to work. I tried as hard as I could to find someone who would lend me money to buy the tree elsewhere, but it was all in vain.

“I convinced myself that I would be able to think better what to do if I had something to eat. When I approached a bar, a foreign-looking boy asked me if I could spare him some money, because he had not eaten in two days. Since I imagined that the child Jesus must once have been hungry, I handed him the little money that I had left, and returned home. On the way back I broke a branch off a pine tree; I tried to make it look nice by trimming it, but it just grew as hard as metal and it’s far from being the Christmas tree that my mother is expecting.”

“My dear boy,” said the priest, “the perfume of this tree leaves no doubt whatever that it has been touched by Heaven. Let me tell you the rest of its story:

“As soon as you left that lonely old woman, she immediately asked the Virgin Mary, a mother like herself, to return to you such an unexpected blessing. The parents of the prisoners were certain that they had come upon an angel, and prayed thanking the angels for the Christmas cakes that they bought. The boy that you met gave thanks to God for satisfying his hunger.

“The Virgin, the angels and Jesus heard the prayer of those who had been helped. When you broke the branch off the pine tree, the Virgin bathed it in the perfume of mercy. As you walked along, the angels touched the leaves and they turned to gold. Finally, when everything was ready, Jesus looked upon the work and blessed it, and from then on, whoever touches this Christmas tree will have their sins forgiven and their wishes fulfilled.”

And so it was. The legend goes that the sacred pine tree is still there in St. Martin, but that its force is so great that all those help their brothers on Christmas Eve, however far they may be from the little village in the Pyrenees, are blessed by it.

(inspired by a Hassidic tale)



  1. eduardo says:

    Feliz d poder compartir este hermoso cuento

  2. Estimado Paulo
    saludos cordiales desde Guayaquil -Ecuador esperando que se encuentre bien me parecen de lo más agradable las historias que acabo de leer nos hace pensar y reflexionar para la paz y la convivencia Humana
    deseandole exito y que el todo poderoso le colme de bendiones
    atte: Pedro Minaya Leones.

  3. Mathilde says:

    That is a most beautiful story with a beautiful drawing above :)) hope you and your family enjoyed Christmas :))

  4. mariana says:

    Cred ca aceasta binecuvantare a ajuns si pina la mine. E mai mult decat o binecuvantare, ca printre altele, sa va fi intalnit pe calea scrisului, domnule Coelho, si sa va fi savurat cu nesat si imaginat cu ochii mintii, tot ceea ce scrieti ! Dumnezeu sa va dea sanatate si sa va aiba in paza !

  5. NINJA says:

    Dear Paulo, thanks for such a motivating story and thanks for all the books u r writing sir.

  6. Panchali says:

    Thank you so much. A very nice and motivating story…. something which really promts people to think….
    I wish you n all a very Happy New Year. God Bless.

  7. Ara Mayas says:

    Dear Paulo,

    next morning, the day after reading your blessing Christmas-story,
    I felt really

    all pure loving hearts and souls are united
    through this seed of light and love (in the given Christmas-story)
    in ONE great shining
    showered by it, shivering in it,
    and it goes like a huge orgasmic wave
    around the whole planet.
    And it shatters in Love
    all walls inside us.

    Maybe not so many are feeling it consciously right now,
    but I trust and feel: it will come.

    Thank you for shining with You, through You,
    LOVE, Ara

  8. Maria Alejandra says:

    Hermosa historia, eso es realmente la Navidad el compartir tus bienes y tu tiempo con los mas necesitados ya que así­ nos estamos auto regalando lo mas sagrado que es la bendición del niño Jesus nuestro Dios. Feliz Navidad Sr. Coelho

  9. Hugo Sánchez says:

    excelente cuento feliz Navidad y que la bendiciones derramadas por esta Navidad se prolonguen durante el próximo año por venir feliz año 2011

  10. Liliana says:

    Poulo,Thank you for this story.

  11. Jana says:

    Ahoj Paolo, velmi pekny a hlavne poucny pribeh. Prajem vsetko dobre,hlavne aby si napisal este vela skvelych knih.

  12. Mehreen says:

    Hey paulo…very sweet tale indeed.but somehow i find something inherently wrong in such sweet tales…not that i am a cynic…on the contrary i am an eternal optimist…but to teach people ,especially kids that doing good will necessarily beget good…as in a material reward, seems ever so unfair…to them.because it aint true at all.
    Yes undoubtedly goodness is good.but that’s it n that’s enough…why attatch the reward thingy n invoke bitterness n disillusion later on.

    1. maahi says:

      hey i too belive in wat u said.. this whole thing about getin reward for gd deeds is not the way to tel a story.Such stories can only produce”good guy syndrome”…people who
      do only good things but they always feel that they r not rewarded and appreciated enough….people who belive that they being used by other people becos of there goodnes… so i belive we need more stories with the way world really is …. and people who do good deeds just help people and not for any rewards waitin for then in heaven…..

    2. eL PIPIOLO says:

      Karamba, paulito…
      Cool and great feeling story…
      thank you…
      see you in eternity…
      happy new year for eternity as well
      El pipiolo volador… Y el alebrije andante…

  13. Sanjay says:

    Merry to all.. It was indeed a touching fable :) even my daughter liked it. Spread love not hatred.
    Happy New year to all freinds over the world here and above..

  14. Robert Lengyel says:

    This is a very beautiful story. Thank you and may God fill your house with blessing.

  15. Marjan says:

    Mr. Coelho, I don’t know what happened when I read your story I started to cry and couldn’t stop. I am not sure why! I can not explain it, I really can’t. I don’t know what happened to me! Thank you and Merry Christmas!

  16. silvy says:

    Beautiful, I am simply marveled at the way how all the religions are so much alike. They teach the same thing with their respective traditions and legends i.e.GOODNESS. We are so alike and yet so many differences?

  17. Christian says:

    Merry Christmas Paulo! Wonderful story!

    God bless you,


    PS- I heard the Aerosmith song lyrics from “Dream On” and thought to myself “If Paulo Coelho had a theme song it’d be this one.”

    “…Dream on, dream until your dream comes true…”- Aerosmith

  18. Muchas gracias, por cmapartir con el mundo tu esperitualidad y tus inspiracion..sigue asi que nos inspira a ser mejor en este mundo.

  19. Josefina Finita Jocson says:

    It’s so beautiful Paulo! Thank you Lord for all the blessings showered upon my family, relatives and friends.
    Merry Christmas Paulo and everyone…

  20. Roxana says:

    hermosa Historia, la verdad que en el mundo veloz, desbordado, egoista y muchas veces ciego en el q todos vivimos es maravilloso leer tus reflecciones e historias que son un verdadero cable a tierra en nuestras vidas. Muchisimas felicidades a TODOS!!!

  21. Oliva says:

    Amazing story… love it so much :))

    Marry Christmas to Paulo and all the readers, hope you are always receive the uncountable blessings from God. Amen.

    Lots of love…:)))

  22. mo0nzhe says:

    muy lindo cuento!!!
    Es una verdadera lastima ke haya gente ke antes de pensar en el projimo, piense piensen en ellos mismos, pues ese egoismo solo va dirigido a dios, esperemos ke historias como esta creen reflexion en todos nosotro,

  23. Christine says:

    Thank You
    And Much Love to you!!!

  24. Graciassss!!! Hermoso cuento, linda historia, eso es la grandeza de hacer el bien y no mirar a quien, me gusta!!!

  25. mariana says:

    gracias feliz navidad a todos….

  26. Anne says:

    Thank you so much for the wonderful story. Every year your story has been such a great pleasure and present for me. It completes the passing year and will accompany me through the coming year. Wish you and your family a joyful 2011!

  27. monkeyriri says:

    it was a very good story … I like it a lot ……I wish you a Merry Xmas …..we have what to learn of this story …..

  28. amir says:

    Merry Christmas’s awesome.I love it,thanks God for every things.
    I wish all the best for you.