Once upon a time, in a distant land, there lived a small family in a cozy cottage, deep in a verdant, leafy forest. A small boy and his mom and dad were happy where they lived, and went out every day to see the bright green grass and talk with the beautiful animals that resided in it. Every day, the family came home from their morning walk, and while the boy’s mom made breakfast, his dad taught him a life lesson. Some days it was about knowing yourself and making decisions that would be best for you. Other times, he told his son how to live his life, how to act in certain situations, and how to be a caring, kind, calm person. This boy had followed his dad’s lessons by heart, and had earned the respect and friendship of many animals in the forest by being that kind of person.
One day the small boy was out adventuring, exploring new parts of the forest he had never seen, and found himself in a sandy clearing. He looked around from where he stood, and realized he could not find the way back. He walked further into the forest, not knowing where he was going, and soon came upon a brick house surrounded by chopped logs, branches and kindling. Smoke was channeling out of the stone chimney. A goblin stood nearby the house, cutting down another tree, whacking it ferociously with his axe. The boy was appalled by this scene, since he had always been told not to do harm to the environment; all of nature was their friend, and so his family had always stayed warm by burning the dead branches they find around their cottage.
The goblin looked over from his tree-cutting, and, seeing the boy for the first time, said, “Why, hello there, young one! What are you doing here, far away from your parents?”
The boy did not answer right away, thinking of when his dad told him, “It’s safer to be careful then to be nice to strangers who are nice to you.” Eventually he replied, “Hello, goblin. What are you doing, chopping trees down and destroying the forest?”
The goblin smiled. “I use the logs for living - everything I have, or most of it at least, I have made myself with wood! Would you like to see? I could make something for us to eat!”
The boy was wary of doing what the goblin offered, but decided to say yes. Maybe I can convince him to stop chopping down trees and be kinder to the environment. Following the goblin inside, he let himself be shown around, staring at all the wooden appliances, tables and chairs, and finally the hearth, where logs were being burned for the fire. What an abdominance!
The goblin made them both a tasty berry soup, served in wooden bowls, and made with “the finest raspberries around!” as he explained it. The boy drank it, half fearing to taste yew berries in his, but it was just delicious berry soup. He drained the bowl, and almost asked for seconds, but remembered his dad’s saying Don’t overstay your welcome!
“Thank you, goblin, for your kind-heartedness and berry soup, but I think I must be going now. My parents will soon wonder where I am.” He said this with finality, but the goblin only frowned.
“While you’re here, could you possible do one thing for me?” the cunning goblin asked. “I have bags of berries that need to be sorted out, but I haven’t gotten to it since there is so much to do around here. Could you sort them, please?”
The small boy had expected something like this, and wanted to repay the goblin for his meal, so he agreed. The goblin brought out the great big bags of berries, two bags each as big as the boy himself, and left to collect water at a nearby spring.
The kind boy gaped at the great bags of berries. He would never be able to sort all the berries out in time to get home before dusk, not by himself. Not even his dad, an experienced berry finder and sorter, would be able to sort all these in one day. He wouldn’t give up hope, though. If only the birds could help…
He peeked his head out the brick house’s window, and spotting a bluebird on the ground, he asked it, “Could you possibly gather some of your friends, and help me sort all these berries? I must get home soon.”
The bird looked up at the small boy, and replied, “Sure I could. For all the kindness you have to us and the forest, the least we could do is help you.” And so the bluebird flew off, and returned with a flock of other birds, all different types and colors of birds. They flew in through the open window, picked the berries right out of the bags, and placed them in a pile on the table according to kind of berry. It was an amazing sight to watch. In five short minutes, both bags were empty, and the birds departed, after a final thank-you from the boy.
The goblin returned with a great big jug of water. He saw the sorted berries and exclaimed, “Why, thank you! And so fast, too! Could you just take this jug and pour some water into that pot, while I finish cutting down that tree?” Without waiting for a reply, the goblin heaved the massive vase of water onto the table and left again. Again, the boy had a seemingly impossible task to attempt.
The vase of jug was much too heavy for the boy to lift and pour into the pot, but the clever boy had an idea of how he could do this. He took the empty pot from the oven, placed it on the ground, and using all his might, tipped the vase onto its side on the table so water flowed out of it and into the pot. Once the pot had enough water, the boy tipped the now lighter jug back to its right place, and placed the full pot on the stove for the goblin. A loud crash echoed outside, and the goblin came back inside a minute later. Again, he was impressed again at the boy’s speed of completing these jobs.
“I have one more thing I could have you do, if you would be polite enough to do it for me. I need those logs outside brought into the house. Could you please do that?” Once again the goblin was taking advantage of the boy’s kind nature. So the small boy agreed a third time, and went over to the large, chopped logs outside the brick house.
He immediately saw that there was no possible way for him to get these logs inside the house quickly enough to get home before dusk. It seemed that this task was next to impossible for him, a small boy without much brawn. But then he remembered how he had asked the birds for help with the berries. Who could he ask for help moving these logs? Certainly not the birds again, they were too weak. Who else could he ask, that he could find easily?
Luckily for the boy, there was a grizzly bear watching this scene, and seeing the boy struggling with what to do, he trotted over to the boy and the log piles and spoke. “I can move these logs for you. Where do you need them moved to?”
The crafty boy was about to reply to the grizzly, but then thought of something else. “Could you move the logs in front of the door and up against the windows?”
“Sure I could.” the great brown bear replied, and went to work straightaway, blocking the door and the windows so the goblin could not escape from his house. The small boy thanked it for doing this, and after asking for directions, he found his way back to his cozy little cottage, as the sun was setting. His worried mom and dad listened to his long story about the goblin and the three favors he was asked to do, and when he was finished, they sat in silence for a moment, giving the story a thought. The boy’s dad took the small, intelligent boy aside, and after thinking for a moment, said, “I think you’ve already realized this, my son. But let me confirm it for you; nothing is impossible, not as long as you have your friends, your determination, and your cleverness.”