The Pussy Willow and the Little Boy
Age Rating: 4 +
The Pussy Willow and the Little Boy
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful pussy willow that lived and grew by a babbling brook. It wasn’t just any babbling brook, mind you, but a laughing and joyful brook that always made happy tinkling and gurgling and splashing sounds. It loved to splash its water along the rocks of its bed and along the banks so that beautiful little flowers like the pussy willow could bathe and be cool in the warm sun.
The pussy willow had lived here by the bank of the babbling brook for as long as she could remember, enjoying the touch of the warm sun, and the coolness of the water spray on warm days, and she liked the protection that she was given by two rather large rocks that were on either side of her, but not too close, mind you. The rocks were glad that they could afford a little shade and a wind break to the young pussy willow as it grew from a little seedling to a tall and straight flower.
The pussy willow thanked the rocks every day for their shelter, grateful of the protection from the winds. And she thanked Mother Earth every morning for the nourishment she gave the pussy willow from her soil, and she thanked the wind for its cool breezes, and the sun for its warm rays and life-giving energy. The pussy willow also thanked the babbling brook every day for the company, and the laughter, and the cool showers on warm days.
One bright summer day, as the pussy willow was almost napping in the warm afternoon sun, she heard a sound that was completely new to her (of course, this pussy willow hadn’t been living very long, as you and I know). She looked and looked, and listened very hard so she could tell from which direction it was coming. And then, coming over a little rise from the bend in the babbling brook (who wouldn’t be quiet so that she could really hear what was going on), she saw the strangest thing she had ever seen in her short, but wonderful life. She saw a little boy (one of the rocks told her it was a little boy, because as we all know, rocks are very long-lived, and know many things because of exactly that) running along the bank of the babbling brook. He was laughing like the brook, but his laughter sounded sharper and more joyful (if that could be) than the babbling brook.
The pussy willow wondered what the little boy was running and laughing about. As he came closer, she could not only hear him, but she could feel his footsteps as he pounded over the ground, and she could see his long black hair flowing out in the wind behind him. His brown face was smiling and laughing, and his sparkling brown eyes were looking at the babbling brook. So she strained, and twisted this way and that to see exactly what he was watching, and what made him laugh so much. Well! You never saw a little flower go to such lengths to discover something, and I imagine if she could have, she would have uprooted herself right then and there and walked around the rocks to discover whatever the thing was. But, as luck (and Life) would sometimes have it, she couldn’t see it. She thought, Well, there is no reason for him to just be running along and laughing for no reason, is there? Wouldn’t that be silly (because pussy willows never did anything silly, you know)!
And then one of the rocks told her that he was running after a boat that was floating in the water of the babbling brook. And just what was a boat? Well, the rock said, (and very sagely, you know) it was a toy that the boys played with. Well, what was a toy, she asked? And the rock said that it was something that boys needed to have fun, like a cool breeze or a nice rain shower would be for the pussy willow. OH! she thought, well, then it must be something that is very wonderful, for she so enjoyed her rain showers and cool breezes!
And then, finally, the pussy willow could see the thing that was bouncing along in the babbling brook. It was white, and pointed on both ends and on top. A boat… she pronounced the word to make sure that it fit what she was seeing, for she had to make sure of these things. She asked what it was made of and the rock told her that it was paper. And just what was paper, she asked? Well, the rock had to shrug (if you can imagine a rock shrugging) because the flower had finally asked a question that even the rock, in all its wisdom, couldn’t answer. Well, it looked like it would be fun to ride in the boat, all twisty and turny in the bouncing water of the brook. As the pussy willow watched the boat bouncing along in the stream, she wanted to float with it, but she couldn't move. The boat bounced and bounced, scraping rocks and getting all wet...
The little boy ran along the bank of the stream, smiling and laughing as he watched his boat race along, but the boat was made of paper (remember?) and since paper does funny things when it gets wet, the boat started to ride lower and lower in the water, and lower and lower until it hugged the smooth stones along the streambed, and swirled into a little eddy and came to rest by the bank right in front of the pussy willow. Now, the little boy knew this was going to happen, since his daddy had taught him all about paper boats, and he knew that all he had to do was go home and make another one but before he could do that, like his daddy had told him, he picked up the old boat so that the stream would keep running clean and free and clear, so more boats could float in it and on it. Before he could pick up the boat, he had to take off his shoes so he wouldn’t get them wet. And after getting the boat, he dangled his feet in the cool waters of the babbling brook, feeling the cool water tickle his toes, looking up into the sky and all around him.
And just then, he saw the pussy willow, and he said, Hello, Little Flower, how are you this wonderful, boat-sailing day? And the flower answered him that she was doing very well, thank you (for pussy willows are known for their courtesy). And how are you, little boy? He laughed and laughed, and the sound of his laughter was like the sound of the water in the stream laughing over the stones. And he said that he was very well and thank you for asking. The little boy had a thought: maybe he could take the pussy willow home and give it to his mother since they didn't have any pussy willows in their garden at home. So he asked the pussy willow how she would like to go home with him. And she asked permission to have some time to think it over, and maybe while she was thinking the little boy could go home and make sure his mother really wanted pussy willows in her garden (because not everyone likes them, you know, and she wasn't sure she wanted to leave the stream; and pussy willows are really very smart, and she didn't want to just get pulled out of her nice patch of ground, for that might hurt a bit).
The little boy thought about this for a while, listening to the song of the babbling brook, and the voice of the wind as it sighed around him there, and then he said that he would run home that very minute and ask his mother. But before he ran off, he leaned over and kissed the pussy willow right on top of her petals, causing her to blush (and don't think it can't happen, because I've seen a pussy willow blush before), and when he saw the blush, he turned away quickly so she wouldn't be embarrassed, and ran off at babbling-brook speed to find his mother.
Well! The pussy willow had to calm down (she had never been kissed before) and thank goodness that the stream was there and splashed up and cooled her so that the heat from the blush didn't wilt her petals. So, she waited as the sun warmed her, and the babbling brook cooled her, and the wind ruffled her leaves and petals, and she smiled at the goodness of life here by the stream. Then she heard footsteps coming, and some were much heavier than the little boy’s, and there was another voice talking with the little boy. The pussy willow heard the other voice, which was calm and sweet and filled with love for the little boy, and it asked just where this flower could have run off to. He answered that flowers don't run off, and you know that, Mom. So he had to look all up and down the bank until he found the pussy willow again. She greeted him with a smile and hello, and he greeted her the same, and then he introduced his mother to the pussy willow, who, of course, smiled and said that she was glad to meet Mom.
Now this Mom was different than most, because she knew the secret language of flowers, and said that she was glad to make the pussy willow's acquaintance. And that made the pussy willow smile even more than before! Mom looked at the little boy, and said that she thought the pussy willow would look very nice in their garden at home, but only if the pussy willow wanted to go there to live.
So Mom asked the pussy willow if she wanted to go. The pussy willow asked what it would be like, and Mom told her all about the other plants and flowers that lived in the garden, and the sprinklers that kept them all fresh and cool even in the hottest summer day, and the good clean earth that nourished them. The pussy willow thought for awhile, comparing the place it was now with what Mom had described. It sounded wonderful in the garden, and if Mom and the little boy were there, then she would have someone to talk to, which she rarely had where she was, and other flowers. Now wouldn't that be fun!
So, after much thought, and then saying her goodbyes to the rocks and the babbling brook, the pussy willow told the little boy and Mom that she would be very happy to go home with them. Well, wouldn't you know it! Just in case the pussy willow had said yes, Mom had brought along a little shovel and a pot to plant the pussy willow in. So, after asking the earth if it minded, and getting permission, Mom dug the pussy willow up from her place between the rocks and put it in the pot with lots of her native soil so she would grow stronger. And after she was potted, Mom picked her up in one hand, and took the little boy in the other hand, and they walked all the way to their home,
taking their new-found friend with them so that they would always be together. And as they left, the babbling brook said goodbye, and good luck, and the rocks said goodbye, and the wind stroked the pussy willow's petals and leaves, and sighed that she would be wherever the pussy willow ended up, and that she would bring any messages from the brook and rocks to the pussy willow and back again, so that her friends would always be in contact.