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The Wise Old Oak
Once upon a time, there was a wise old oak tree that lived behind a pretty green house next to a wooden tool shed. It had a thick, brown trunk with branches that stretched up to the sunlight, and leaves that were green with life. They rustled happily together when the breeze blew, as if to say Weee are the leavvesssss! But as the warm weather turned cold, and summer turned to fall, the green leaves turned gold, and then brown, and finally they fluttered helplessly to the ground.
The oak tree liked living in the yard, and his friends the grass and the flowers whispered together when the wind blew. Shhhhhh! they said. Every fall, little children clung to the great oak’s branches with the top of their caps, and over time Mother Nature carefully carved a face on each child. Each face was unique, but all were smiling as they opened their eyes and gaped at the mega world around them.
For those who are willing to listen to the earth speaking, and who take the time to notice everything around them; if they walk by the wise old oak during the fall and they listen, they will hear hundreds of little cries of the children laughing and chattering with each other. The old oak loved each of the little children, and they kept him company for some of the time when his other friends went to sleep for the cold weather. But as the winter draws near, the tiny cries will become harder to hear, for one by one the children will let go of their caps and sail to the ground with a final call of
“Goodbye Grandfather Oak! Goodbye! Goodbye!” Then they will land with a little plonk! on the ground, and from then on they will be silent until they became their own trees, and have their own children. This was a very sad time for the wise old oak; for he missed the little children, and wished that they would stay to keep him company when he’d have no one to talk to during the long, frigid winter.
“Oh please stay little ones, don’t leave me!” He would call out, but no one ever stayed with him—they just smiled their cute smiles and called back,
And so it went on like this, until one day, something wonderful happened.
It was the end of fall, and the last of the children were sailing to the ground. The oak tree sighed a big sigh. Now he would have to wait until the next year for the new little children to arrive.
Just then, he heard a little voice say, “Grandfather oak,” The big oak looked, and there, on a branch closest to his face, was the last child on the tree. She looked up at him and smiled timidly. “My name is Abby, and I’ve been watching all my brothers and sisters fall to the ground, but I didn’t want to go all the way down there with them…so I was hoping you would let me stay up here with you.” The wise old oak’s worn face broke into a joyful smile.
“Of course you can stay!” He cried. “Every year I hope that someone will keep me company all year, but nobody ever does!”
And so Abby and the oak tree spent the winter together, and when the spring and summer came, she met the grass, and the flowers, and the bright green leaves. When fall came around again, Abby met all the new little children, and told them stories about what it was like living with the wise old oak during the winter. They were fascinated by her never-ending tales, and they especially wanted to know more about this stuff called snow.
To this day, should you walk by the wise old oak and take a moment to look closely, you just might see Abby high up in the branches with a happy smile on her little face.