One day, a little girl was sitting quietly in the shade of a big maple tree when she heard a voice say, "Oh, you lucky thing. How I wish I could move from place to place like you."
"Who is that?" asked the little girl.
"Me, of course," said the maple tree. And it went right on talking. "I can wave my branches and sway my trunk. I can talk to the wind. I can even talk to the birds. And if you listen very carefully, I can talk to you."
"Yes," said the little girl. "I can hear you. It's wonderful."
"But I can never move from this spot," sighed the tree.
"Really?" said the little girl.
"I'm afraid not," said the tree. "I know when a storm is coming, and the exact times of sunrise and sunset. I even know what's happening in the next valley. But I can't budge."
"If you never move from here, how do you know all these things?"
"The birds that nest in my branches bring me the news," said the tree. "And the breezes bring me tiny messages, too, about the weather, the seasons, and even my family."
"You have a family?" asked the little girl.
"Oh, I have a big family. You see that sapling over there? That's one of my children. And that's another back there on the hillside."
"Your family sure is spread out," said the little girl.
"Well, if my seeds land too close to me, they won't get enough sunlight. When the wind blows, my seeds spin round and round like little propellers, That way, they land far enough away to grow."
The little girl was fascinated. "You know a lot," she said. "Can I ask you a question?"
"Of course, " said the maple tree.
The little girl though for a moment.
"Why does the grass grow?" she asked.
"The grass loves the sun," replied the maple. "and wishes to touch it's warm face."
"But it cannot reach that far," said the little girl quite confused.
"No, the grass cannot grow long enough to touch the sun but it loves it still," explained the tree. "And, love makes it grow long enough to sway gently in the breeze."
The little girl sat quietly for a few minutes.
"Does the sun love the grass too?" she wondered aloud.
"Why yes it does." chuckled the great tree. "The sun loves all of the creatures of the earth. It loves the grass. It loves the birds. And, it loves you and I. It loves us all so much that is sends its light so we may see the beauty all round us."
"Then why do the clouds come and why does it rain?" the little girl asked.
"The warmth of the sun is too strong. Its love would parch the land if we didn't have the rain," the tree replied. "The rain is a gift from the sea. The sea loves us too. So it sends us the rain so we may have water to drink."
The little girl pondered this for a few minutes and said, "the sun and the sea are like my mommy and daddy. They both love me. Mommy makes my hot chocolate. Daddy ties my shoes and reads to me. Their loves helps me grow big!"
"That's right!" said the great maple as a cloud blocked out the sun.
The little girl smiled.
The beginning of this story was written by Pete Seeger as an invitation to start writing children's stories. I hope you like the way I finished it.