by Florence W. Deems

Every day the weather's nice, I been talking to my little tree. I promise it I won't let any silly people cut it down. It thanks me. It says it feels very lucky I found it and planted it here.

Mom and Dad have a lotta land here. It's big as a farm. But they say it really isn't a farm. We don't plant corn or anything like that. Like real farmers do. But we have a veggie garden. Sometimes I get to help pull up weeds. But I can't go in the garden unless Mom or Dad is there, too. I might step on sumpin they wanta grow. They hafta show me what's weeds and what's not weeds. But some day I be old enough to know what's a weed and what isn't.

I like my little tree the best of all the plants here. Dad says it's a WHITE oak. It don't look white! It's got green leafs, just like all the older trees here.

One day my little tree asks, Charlie, please tell me a story!"

"A story? What kinda story?"

"Well, I'd like to know how you found me."

"Okay," I laugh. "Me and Mom was out walking over at Gram's. I saw these things on the ground. Mom said they were acorns. I pick one up. It hadda long tail! Mom says that's no tail! That's its root! She said it's an acorn that's growing. She says it'll grow up to be a big tall oak tree some day. I wanted to keep it. So Mom let me bring it home. Dad says it's a white oak! He helped me plant it inna pot. And YOU came up in the pot!"

"Oh," says the little tree. "Were there more acorns where you saw me?"

"I didn't see YOU, silly. I saw a acorn!"

"When I was a very little baby, I was an acorn. That root you thought was a tail? After you put me in the pot, I could grow my root down into the soil. Then I sent my head up into the air. My head isn't like your head. My head's my trunk and my leaves. But was I the only acorn you saw?"

"Oh, no! Lotsa acorns. All over the road. But I liked you BEST!"

"I'm glad you picked me up. I would have died in the street."

"Why?" I'm shocked.

"Oaks grow in soil, in dirt. It has to be deep soil, because we have very long roots. No tree can grow in the street. That stuff's not good for trees."

"Oh, you mean all those other acorns died?"

"Yes, unless someone else picked up some and planted them in soil."

"Oh, well, I'm GLAD I picked you up!"


"Tell me a story," the little tree asks.

"You're a STORY tree! You're supposed to tell ME a story!"

"But I'm just a very little story tree. I don't know any stories yet!"

"So how'd the BIG story trees get THEIR stories?"

"Humans told them stories. And then the bigger trees told the smaller trees those stories. But since there aren't any more story trees around here, I don't have any other story trees to tell me stories."

"But you tell me stories! 'Bout the air and how humans need trees. How come you know those stories?"

"Oh, those stories. Those really aren't stories. They're FACTS. Some facts are stored inside the acorn. Then I hear the rest of the facts from the trees in the woods around here. But there are no oak story trees in those woods any more."

"Was your mama tree a story tree?"

"Yes, my parent tree is a story tree. But that tree lives a long way from here. I can't talk to it--it's too far away."

"Oh! So how you gonna get your stories?" I ask.

"I'll just have to keep listening. Not very many humans can hear me, like you do. But since you can hear me and talk to me, you can tell me some stories. Then I can get started on being a story tree that has some stories."

I think 'bout the stories Mom and Dad told me. Mom sings to me, too. Oh, yes! "I'll sing you a story that my mom sang to me when I was a little baby. 'Rock-a-bye baby, inna tree top. When the wind blows, the cradle will rock. When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall. And down'll come baby, cradle and all.'" I smile. "There! How'd ja like that story-song?"

"Oh my!" says the tree. "I don't like that story at all! Why do humans sing that to their children?"

"Why doncha like it? I like it!"

"The song teaches children to be afraid of trees!"

"But why?" I just don't get this at all!

"The baby's in a cradle up in a tree. The cradle's on a branch. The wind blows and the branch breaks. The baby falls down out of the tree. And probably gets hurt. If a baby hears this song, it might grow up to think that trees aren't friends. No WONDER humans want to cut trees down!"

"Oh," I say. I feel sad. Maybe my little tree don't like me now!

Suddenly it says, "Don't you know any other stories? Good stories? The memories stored in my acorn that I remember told me there are lots of good stories."

"Okay, there's Little Red Riding Hood." I tell that to my little tree. But it didn't like THAT one, either! So I ask, "What makes a story good?"

"Stories that make humans feel good about themselves. Not stories that scare them."

So I think for a while. All the Mother Goose stories, they're all scary--so they're NOT good stories! Then I remember The Velveteen Rabbit. "I know a good story! It's sorta sad in the middle, but it comes out happy." I tell this story to the little tree.

"Yes!" says the tree in a happy voice. "That's the kind of story I mean. That's a GOOD story. Thank you! You must tell me more stories like this one."

I hear Mom's voice calling me. "Oh-oh, Mom's calling. I can ask her to tell me more good stories. She reads me stuff like that."

"Ask your parent to read you another good story--out here where I can hear it, too!"

"Yeah. We can put some chairs out here!" Excited, I run to the house.


The Story Trees
1 ~ 2 ~ 3 ~ 4 ~ 5 ~ 6 ~ 7
8 ~ 9 ~ 10 ~ 11 ~ 12 ~ 13

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