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The Trees of Pride

G. K. Chesterton

Book Overview: 

Three trees, known as the Peacock trees, are blamed by the peasants for the fever that has killed many. Squire Vane scoffs at this legend as superstition. To prove them wrong, once and for all, he takes a bet to spend the night in the trees. In the morning he has vanished. Is he dead, and if so who has killed him? The poet? The lawyer? The woodsman? The trees?

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .a shade too cool about this sally drew the lawyer's red brows together. He looked across the table and met the poet's somewhat equivocal smile.

"Do I understand, Mr. Treherne," asked Ashe, "that you support the miraculous claims of St. Securis in this case. Do you, by any chance, believe in the walking trees?"

"I see men as trees walking," answered the poet, "like the man cured of blindness in the Gospel. By the way, do I understand that you support the miraculous claims of that—thaumaturgist?"

Paynter intervened swiftly and suavely. "Now that sounds a fascinating piece of psychology. You see men as trees?"

"As I can't imagine why men should walk, I can't imagine why trees shouldn't," answered Treherne.

"Obviously, it is the nature of the organism", interposed the medical guest, Dr. Burton Brown; "it is necessary in the very type of vegetable structure."

"In other words, a tree sticks in the mud fro. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Brilliant. A fascinating mystery that ultimately leads to a crucial philosophical point. Chesterton's writing requires some effort to appreciate, but few people in history possessed a greater felicity with language than he did--and even fewer possessed a greater mental alacrity. You'd be hard-pre...more

The wit and wordplay of Chesterton is one of the reasons I enjoy reading his works so much, this being no exception. The story draws one in and the ending, while it may have crossed your mind, will still be unpredictable. I would have given this book 4 stars, but there are other Chesterton works...more

I read this story immediately following "The Man Who Knew Too Much". I enjoyed this much more simply because it was one story. Like the previous collection of stories this one doesn't get off to a quick start. There are lots of character introductions and, as this is one of my main difficulties w...more

Unlike most of Chesterton's fiction that I've read (I humbly put forward that I've read quite a bit), Trees of Pride is surprisingly bare of philosophical or theological subtext. It's a pleasant change for Chesterton, if only because it demonstrates that he did not need to imbue his writing with...more

A fun mystery. Foreign trees planted in England. Many claim they are haunted and bring death. The owner says that is ridiculous so he goes to spend the night in the trees. He disappears.

GKC writes in such a lively way. His descriptions amaze me. A short book that is very worth the read.

3.5 stars - good!

I really enjoyed this story, but it was kind of hard for me to get through. It was written in such a way that, if I had had to pick apart the story word by word, I wouldn't have understood it. But after reading a sentence and thinking it over, I'd realize I understood the gist...more

An entertaining short read. It has many of the familiar "types" the Chesterton likes to work with in his fiction, such as the non-believing rationalist, the dreamy mystic, etc. However, in the end the truth is found out not by a religious or mystical sort, but an atheist in all but name, and that...more

If you've read a lot of Chesterton's mysteries, you see many of the twists of this one coming. Upon the first meeting of the poet and the nobleman's daughter, you can guess how that's going to turn out- it's a favorite Chesterton trope. Likewise with the eventual resolution, which I'll admit I di...more

The world of G.K. Chesterton is a strange one -- there are sensible explanations for everything, but they aren't always ones that mere humans can understand. And his novella "The Trees of Pride" is all about the people who intentionally blind themselves to the possibitilies of the world around th...more

This is at one and the same time one of Chesterton's paradoxical mysteries and one of his most pronounced moral landscapes. What I mean by this expression is that the author uses a strange, even eldritch landscape as suggesting a moral evil or imbalance that must be righted. He has used this tech...more

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