Once upon a time, there lived a lonely girl.
She lived in the forest. Her only friends were the wind and the dirt—and of course, the trees.
One day, she woke up and decided that she didn’t want to be lonely anymore. She wanted to find herself a friend.
As she climbed down from the tree where she slept, she yelled out to the wind, “I am going to find myself a friend today!”
The wind replied, “What a wonderful idea! I’ll come with you.” And off they went.
Shortly into their journey, the girl and the wind ran into a squirrel piling up acorns and twigs.
“He’s trying to set up a trap!” the girl exclaimed. “If we step on these acorns and twigs, we might trip and have to return home. Then I will never find a friend.”
The wind replied, “It’s okay, my darling girl. I know this squirrel. His name is Anxiety. All you need to do is take a deep breath and hop over the acorns and twigs.”
The girl hopped, and they kept on walking. A little further into the forest, they ran into a snake dangling from a tree, ready to strike.
“What will we do?” the girl cried. “He will bite me if I walk underneath his tree—then I will certainly never find a friend.”
“Do not be afraid, my child,” soothed the wind. “I know this snake. His name is Fear. He is only hungry. If you feed him, he will let you pass. Here, give him this apple.”
An apple fell from a nearby tree. The girl gave it to the snake, and she passed underneath his tree with no harm.
A few moments later, the two friends ran into a skunk. “Oh no!” the girl grimaced. “This skunk is too stinky, we cannot pass him. I might faint and have to return home. Then I will never find a friend.”
Once again, the wind reassured her, “It’s okay. I know this skunk. His name is Self-Doubt. All you need to do is plug your nose as you walk by. If you block out his stench, then you will not faint, and we can continue on our journey.”
The girl plugged her nose and walked on by, her head held high.
As the sun began to set, the girl and the wind reached a pond, and they decided to take a rest after their long day of searching. The girl gazed into the pond; she saw her wild hair and her rosy cheeks. She sighed from exhaustion and disappointment.
“Our journey seems to have come to an end,” said the wind.
“What do you mean?!” the girl cried in horror. “You don’t believe I will find a friend?” Tears began to form in her eyes—her eyes as blue as the sky.
“It’s not that,” replied the wind. “I just believe you have already found her.” He nods toward the pond.
The girl was confused. “You think this stinky, old pond is my new friend?”
“Look closer,” whispered the wind. “Sometimes the things we search for are closer than we know. Sometimes it takes a long, tiresome journey of exploration. Sometimes we have to conquer the things that are trying to hold us back in order to see the things that we might have known all along.”
The girl peered into the pond, her face inches from the reflective surface. She saw herself—her wild hair and her rosy cheeks. She saw herself, and she smiled. Because then…she understood.
Author: Nicole Dunlap
Image: Flickr/Ivana Bugarinovic
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina