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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

A landed gentleman has a grove of exotic trees on his land that are reputed to kill people. All of the locals want to be rid of the trees, to which the owner says this all based on baseless superstition. The owner is challenged to spend the night in the grove. he accepts the challenge, but in he...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

Well-written and topsy-turvy as ever. This comes from the later part of GKC's career, where his prejudice against landlords and the gentry were coming out more, and it shows. Still very well-written and worth a read for the delightful style and story.

The doctor rationale

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 of it...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

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 technique to gr...more

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