The story of the excellent leaf by Catherine Broughton
Once upon a time a leaf was born on a tree.
He was a teeny weeny little leaf, all curled up so that at first he didn’t look like a leaf at all. In fact, at the very beginning he wasn’t even green, and everybody knows that leaves are usually green. He was a yellowy-pinkey colour, but as he grew he started to turn mostly yellow, then yellow-green. And at the same time he started to unfurl, a little more each hour, till all of a sudden there he was ! A beautiful bright green leaf.
He sat on the tree and he waved. He waved at the other leaves and at the other trees. He waved at the people that came by and at the grass and at the sky. Sometimes he got really wet when it rained, and sometimes he got really warm when the sun shone on him. He loved it on his tree, and he watched children playing in the park below and thought how lucky he was that he could just wave in the breeze all day long.
“I love it here on my tree,” said the leaf.
“It is not your tree,” said an older leaf. “It is everybody’s tree, and we are here only for a short while. Our job is to give shade if it is hot and shelter if it rains. Our job is to look beautiful so that people can admire us and all these lovely leaves.”
“I am the brightest green of all!” said the little leaf.
“For now you are,” said the older leaf, “but one day soon you will turn dark green.”
“Oh ….” the little leaf was disappointed.
“You will get bigger and dark green. Then, as the weeks go by and the weather gets colder, you will turn yellow again, and yellow red, and red-brown. That is when you will be your most beautiful.”
“Oh!” the little leaf was pleased.
“And then,” continued the big leaf, “you will be admired by all who see you.”
The little leaf was very very pleased about this.
“And what happens next?” he asked.
“As the days get colder and more windy, you will fall off.”
“No!” the little leaf was horrified.
“That is what we all do,” explained the older leaf. “It is called autumn. We turn our most beautiful colour and then we fall to the ground. It is fine. It is like flying.”
“But I want to stay on this tree for ever and ever,” sighed the little leaf.
“You will be somewhere else,” said the older leaf. “Perhaps you will nourish the ground under the tree, and perhaps you will be picked up and put in a child’s scrap book. Or you might be part of a lovely display in a vase. You will have to wait and see.”
Sure enough, just as the older leaf had explained, the little leaf got bigger and darker. He was stronger too, and he loved watching the children who came and went off and on all day and played on the swings and the slides. The days went by and the little leaf started to turn a bit yellow at the edges, then a bit reddish and brownish. The weather was no longer so warm. And the leaf got redder and browner. He looked around him and saw that the older leaves were already starting to fall off the tree.
“Soon it will be my turn,” he thought.
Then one day a whole crowd of children came to the park. They ran around and picked up sticks and leaves, and there was a lady with them and they called her “Miss Gains”. She kept calling things out to the children and clapping her hands.
Suddenly the little leaf realized he was about to fall.
“Oh no!” he cried.
Just as the older leaf had told him, it was just like flying. Weeeeeeeee! He drifted through the air and floated on the breeze. Weeeeee! He travelled a little this way and that, across the swings, and landed gently on the grass.
“Hey look!” he heard a little boy shout, “look at the colours on this leaf!”
And before he realized what was happening, the leaf had been scooped up in to the hands of a child, and all the other children and their teacher crowded round to see.
“Beautiful!” they said, “really lovely!”
The leaf had never felt so proud in his life.
Then all the children went back in to their classroom, carrying the leaf – and lots of other leaves – with them.
And where do you think the leaf is now ? Well, he is on some paper with a lot of his friends, up on the classroom wall. From there he can watch the children every single day, and out of the window he can see that his tree has turned dark and wet and gloomy, and all the leaves have gone. And he is very glad he is not out there any more.
by Catherine Broughton
Catherine Broughton is a novelist. Her books are on Amazon – order them there!