The Stars Inside
Once upon a time when the earth was covered with forest there was a corner of the world thick with trees of all shapes and sizes. Like a family of many generations some of these trees were thousands of years old. They stretched up high to the heavens and spread out from mountain to mountain.
There were also young trees, budding and growing each day. One such tree was a very sweet and little (at the beginning of this story) apple tree.
She was born one morning surrounded by adoring family who smiled upon her and waved their branches over her head. “Welcome to the world!” they sang as the wind whistled through their leaves.
The little apple tree grew and grew every day. She learned many stories and secrets of the forest and sang with her grandmothers and grandfathers every
night when the sky become a dark dark dark blue. One night when she had just grown tall enough to see past the branches of her Aunt Fern and all the way up to the branches of her Uncle Oak, she saw the most amazing thing. The night sky! Full of stars, planets, comets, and the moon, it seemed that there were stars dangling off of Uncle’s branches! And wait a minute. There were stars dangling off of all of those branches up there! ! !
Stars! Beautiful shining sparkling dazzling bright stars! Oh they were so special and right away the little apple tree knew that she just had to have stars dangling off of her branches too.
She looked up, took a deep breath, and addressed her Creator.
“God?” she asked gently. “I would like to have stars dangling off of my branches.” Nothing. She didn’t hear a peep from God. “Um, God?” she asked again with a hopeful smile. “I see that the bigger and taller trees have beautiful stars hanging off their branches and I want some just like that!”
And then she heard God’s laughter. Have you ever heard God’s laughter? What do you think it sounds like? “Little apple tree,” said God, “Just be patient, you’ll see your stars one day.”
“Hmmmmph” thought the little apple tree, “I want them now.” But that was that. She didn’t hear another peep from the forest that night.
Time moved forward and the days grew shorter and colder and colder and COLDER until the ground was covered with white snow. Guess what season the forest was celebrating? That’s right,
it was winter and the trees shuddered together to stay warm during the day. At night when the sky turned dark dark dark blue, the little apple tree would look up to her tall grandparents
and what did she see? She saw those beautiful stars dangling off of their branches. They shone brightly and warmly against the dark winter night.
“Pleeease God! I really really want to have stars like that hanging off of my branches. Can I please have them? Pretty please?” And God laughed that kind of a
special God laugh and said, “Little apple tree. Be patient, you’ll see your stars one day.”
Not too long after, colorful flowers started popping up through the snow. The forest began to yawn and stretch, waking up from the long winter’s rest. Many trees playfully sprouted little green leaves while others shook off their heavy winter coats and spread their branches wide. Red and pink and blue
and purple and orange flowers appeared everywhere. The air was thick with a wonderful scent. Can you guess which season the forest was celebrating? That’s right, it was springtime! People walked through the grounds and ooooohd and aaaaaahd over the magnificent sights, sounds, and smells. But they always stopped in the same place, right next to the little apple tree. She had the sweetest smelling flowers in the whole forest! Children and grownups alike would rest under her branches and breath in the heavenly scent of apple blossoms.
“Thank you,” they always said to the little apple tree.
This made her very happy and she loved having so many new friends. But at night, when the sun went down and the dark dark dark blue sky appeared over her head she saw nothing but the stars dangling off her family’s branches. She sighed with sadness and asked each night “God? Why can’t I have stars on my branches? Please? Please? Pleeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaassse? Please give me stars on my branches!” And you know what happened. God laughed. Can your remind me what God’s laughter sounds like? “Be patient little apple tree. You’ll see your very own stars some day.”
Spring passed as seasons do and the days grew longer and warmer. The flowers blossomed and blossomed until finally the sun shone so brightly they could barely keep their heads up.
During the day it was hot hot HOT! Can you guess which season the forest was celebrating? That’s right it was summertime! The thirsty trees drank up every drop of rain and each one grew bigger and stronger in the sunshine. People passed through the forest and oooooohd and aaaaaaaaaahd at the wonderful sights, sounds, and smells. But they always stopped in the same place, right next to the little apple tree. Her branches were so thick with flowers and leaves that she provided the most shade in the whole forest!
“Thank you,” they always said to the little apple tree. What a relief it was to find the shade! This made the little apple tree very happy indeed. But every night when she looked up at the dark dark dark blue sky, guess what she saw? That’s right, she saw those stars dangling off branches and she sang out “Dear God!
Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaassse!! Can I have some stars on my branches?! I will take very good care of them I just want stars so much please can I have some stars pretty pretty pretty pleeease?” And … God…. Laughed. Just laughed. “Be patient little apple tree,” said God’s smile. “You will see your stars soon.”
The long summer days seemed like they would stretch on forever when finally new colors arrived in the forest: dark greens, oranges, reds, and browns. When people passed through, they heard the lively crunch of dried leaves beneath their feet. Can you guess which season the forest was celebrating? That’s right, it was fall! And the little apple tree began to grow and grow in a whole new way. She was growing apples! Big beautiful red apples that were heavy with juice and sweetness. People oooooooohd and aaaaaaaaahd at the delicious smells, sights and sounds of the forest. But they always stopped in the same place, right next to the little apple tree. They reached up and plucked a big apple from her branches and the juice rolled down their chins with each bite. “Thank you!” theyalways said to the little apple tree.
This made the little apple tree very happy and proud of her apples. But every night when she looked up into the dark dark dark blue sky and she saw those stars, she just couldn’t help it! “Pleeeeeeeeeeeeee-” she started to cry one night when suddenly a strong wind blew through the forest. It blew so hard that all of the trees swayed and shook with laughter! (Trees are ticklish too you know.) The wind blew and blew until one of the apples just dropped right off of the little apple tree and fell to the ground. It
cracked right down the middle. And do you know what she saw when she looked down at that apple?
There was a star right in the middle of her apple!
“Wow!” she exclaimed. ”Look at that! I had stars inside me all along!” The forest trees smiled down at her. She knew that every one of them had stars inside them too.
And God…. Winked.
Adapted by Shira Kline