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Where Do Clouds Come From?

Molly lived in a small village, alone with her mother, at the foot of the Misty Mountains. Her teachers and friends were the animals that gathered at the small meadow surrounding their cottage. Bee-Bee the hummingbird taught her of lands and people far away. Sammy the squirrel taught her to count and save. Reginald the raccoon, taught her to have wit and use words. Best of all, he made her laugh. Reginald made fun of everything. Ruby the rabbit taught her to use her imagination, to pretend that all was well, and there was no hunger or danger. The sky was the limit for her imagination, said Ruby, maybe she taught her too well, for one day …

Molly arrived before her friends and began to use her imagination. She was so lost in her pretend world that she chased a butterfly deep into the forest. Suddenly she stopped. She looked around and all the trees and shadows were different. She looked toward the sky, hoping to see the sun to help guide her, but all she saw was tree tops. Everywhere she looked there were trees. “Oh, how will I find my way back home?” she cried. She sat down under a grandfather pine and began to cry. “Oh, I should have listened to my friends. They all warned me about getting lost in the forest.”

Just then she heard a deep, loud voice singing and heavy footfalls coming toward her out of the thick undergrowth of the forest. He was very tall, and had to be the oldest person she had ever seen. His hair was pure white, his beard long and his red and green clothing was worn, but well fit to his large frame. His eyes were full of kindness and concern as he lumbered toward her. “Why do you cry little one?” He asked. “I lost my way and can’t even see the sun to find my way back home.” She cried. “Oh, what shall I do?” Molly exclaimed.

“All you need to do is see the sun to get home?” He asked. “Well, climb this ladder of clouds, my pipe is bringing forth, my child, and we will climb above the trees to see the sun!” Molly watched as the clouds of smoke turned into a spiraling stairway into the trees far above her. “Are you sure it’s safe?” She inquired. “Oh yes!” said he. “I have traveled many miles for many years on clouds such as these.” He took hold of her hand and up they climbed and climbed. Up they went over the trees and high into the sky.

“Oh, this is wonderful! It’s like flying!” exclaimed Molly. “Can you see where your village might be from here?” The strange man asked. “I don’t know. It’s so different from up here. Everything looks so small down there on the ground.” Said Molly. “Let me ask my friend Sun for help.” He replied.

Just then, he held up his hands and whistled a tune so soft and gentle, it could have come from an angel. She heard the whistle return, even softer and before she could ask why, Sun was at their side. “Good day to you, Father Yule.” Sun said. “A good day it is and back to you my friend. I called upon you to see if you would help my new friend Molly to find her way home.” Said Father Yule. Sun gazed upon the sweet little girl with golden red curls, standing next to her old friend and asked; “Why, what village are you from Molly?” “Stony Village at the foot of the Misty Mountains.” Replied Molly. She could not believe the sun was actually speaking to her. And was that really Father Yule, she wondered. “I know just where that is.” Said Sun. “But we better get going, before sister Moon joins the sky.”

Father Yule began to blow more smoke from his pipe. The rings he blew out became fluffy stepping stones across the sky, following the sun. Molly held on tight to his hand as they skipped from cloud to cloud until Molly could see her village far below.

“Oh, thank you for helping me find my way.” Said Molly. “You really are Father Yule aren’t you?” “Why who else would I be?” He laughed. “I’ll be back for a visit when old man winter comes; to give you a smile.” He said. As she descended the spiral smoke staircase, she thanked them both again.

While she ran towards home, she was wishing she would have asked where rain clouds came from. But, that story is for another day …

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