Everybody walked down the little path from the house, so many teddies, all chattering and laughing. The Old Lady took Teddy by the hand and they all walked along the path that led deep into the forest. Lots of animals peeped out to say hello. Bunnies popped out of their burrows to see where the teddies were going, one or two decided to join in the walk. Crow followed too, hopping from branch to branch, trying to guess where the Old Lady was taking them. Teddy was looking everywhere….since he got his new eye, he was just amazed to see that everything in the forest sparkled…..and everything seemed to be dancing. He was looking round so much that he almost tripped over….but the Old Lady had his paw in a strong reassuring grip and he didn’t fall over.
Soon they arrived at a clearing where there was lovely soft grass to sit on. The Old Lady found a tree stump and sat down, taking Teddy on her knee. A big tree looked down at them all approvingly. They hadn’t really walked very far but Teddy was puffed out and he was really glad to be cuddled because hi felt a bit empty in his middle and although the world was lovely and sparkly through his new eye, he thought he might be starting to feel sad again.
I think we all need a story, said the old lady, and the big tree rustled it green leaves and cleared it’s throat. Everyone sat down in a circle to listen. I know a story about a tree that grew sideways, he said…….
Once Upon a Time, the big tree whispered softly, in the upper world that the human people call the real world, there was a place by the sea where there were no trees. He paused for effect, since to a forest, that is a shocking idea. There were no trees, because the wind from the sea blew so hard and so strong that it blew the trees away whenever they tried to grow. The wind danced and roared and shouted and whistled so hard that everybody was scared of it. The ocean encouraged this bad behaviour by making big waves and shouting “faster faster”. Every new tree that tried to grow there blew away, until one day, a seed sprouted into a tiny tree, and that tiny tree wound his roots round a big rock. When the wind started to blow, it teased the little tree, saying how it was going to blow it away. But the baby tree held on and the rock held onto the tree……and it didn’t blow away even though the wind blew its very hardest. The wind bent the little tree though, and it found that it was growing close to the earth instead of high up in the sky. At first it worried that it was not a proper big grown up tree because it did not stand tall. But the earth whispered to it….you can be a tree that stays close to me. That makes you a very special sort of tree. And the earth gave the tree’s branches a kiss every time they brushed close. Soon lots of small creatures who found the wind a bit of a bully discovered that they could make a safe nest on the ground under the tree…..and so the tree was very special, because it could help everyone who needed a safe place to hide……..and then the tree knew he was indeed a proper tree. He just happened to grow sideways, which is unusual but just perfect when you live beside the wind on the sea shore.
The big tree in the forest sighed, and his leaves shivered……which is what he always did when a story was finished. Teddy liked the story, it made him feel a bit better though he wasn’t quite sure why. He touched the place in his tummy where some of his stuffing had fallen out when he was in the bin. We worried in case more might fallout now. The Old Lady had been watching Teddy. “Don’t worry”, she said, “everyone feels a bit fragile when they have lost some stuffing. I know a way to make that all better”, and gently she hugged him a bit closer. Thank you Grandfather Tree,she said, and now let’s all have some lemonade before we walk home.” So they did.