Christmas was coming. We were living in Aijala, way out in the countryside, in the midst of woods.
I asked two of our daughters to take a letter to a neighbor who lived less than half a mile from our house. There was a way through the forest to her house. Two of the girls - aged 9 and 11 - said they would leave right away. They went to put their coats on and I turned to other duties.
Some time later, the girls returned, calling to us from the doorway: "Come and see the Christmas tree we brought!"
Amazed, we gathered to see what they meant. They had brought home a beautiful Christmas tree, neatly sawn and the right size. I felt like laughing but was also concerned, since we do not own any forest.
We asked the girls where they found the tree. They explained that as they were about to leave with the envelope, they saw a car drive by with a Christmas tree tied to its roof. That reminded them that it was only a week till Christmas and we still did not have a Christmas tree. So they went to the garage and got daddy's saw thinking that they would take the letter and on their way back through the forest they would get a tree.
We explained that all trees are owned by somebody. And that although it is ok to play and run around in the forest, pick berries and mushrooms etc. it is not ok to cut down trees.
"That's stupid", the younger one said sternly.
We had the girls explain exactly where they got the tree. I knew the owner of those woods and gave him a call. I explained what had happened and offered to pay for the tree. I gathered the tree had been planted and feared it might be expensive.
He did not ask for money, he just commended the children for having initiative. We were very grateful.