Once upon a time, in the middle of a stand of tall dark trees, there lived a fragile little fern. The little fern was frightened by the dark trees that loomed all around her. The trees were so tall and strong and she was so little. She was so little that she thought that even the sun could not see her in the shadow of the tall trees. She crouched on the forest floor barely breathing. She curled her delicate leaves up tightly, afraid to reveal herself to the dark trees standing so tall around her, and she snuggled herself as close to the earth as possible.
Every day, high in the sky, the sun would peek down between the tall trees. Oh how she wanted to feel the sun’s warmth, but she knew that if the sun’s rays did reach down to her between the trees, she would be burnt. She was not yet ready for the sun.
Time passed and, even though she was still afraid and wanted to stay snuggled close to the earth, the little fern began to grow. Her stalk began to stand firm and hold her away from the earth. In return, the sun’s rays squeezed themselves between the trees toward the little fern tottering on her stalk. Unafraid now, she let the sun warm her. She basked in its warmth.
Although she was still scared to be away from the earth and scared of the tall dark trees, she began to stretch herself toward the sun. She stretched and stretched and stretched. When she was on her highest tiptoe, she knew she could not stretch any further. And when she looked around she was no longer frightened by the trees who continued to stand so tall, for she realized that she too was alive and part of the earth. She was beautiful and whole. The little fern looked at the sun and bowed a deep thank-you. She thanked the sun for finding her when she was so small and hidden between the trees.
The sun smiled at the little fern who had grown tall and grand between the trees. “And thank-you,” beamed the sun, “for having the courage to stretch up to greet my warmth.”