Long, long ago, but not so very long ago and far, far away, but not so very far away, there was a meadow. Through the meadow ran the sleepy blue river and in the middle of the meadow, right next to the sleepy blue river, was the Willow Tree. Underneath the Willow Tree, many flowers grew and the Willow Tree bent down her arms to shelter the flowers that grew under her.
And in the middle of a patch of golden flowers, all shaped like golden stars, there was a little child who was sound asleep. She had been sleeping for a very long time and might be sleeping still, if it hadn’t been for the music that the child heard while she was sleeping. At first, it was such sleepy music that the child just turned over in her flower bed and slept on. The music brought dreams to the little child.
In one of the dreams, the child saw flowers growing in a garden. There were so many flowers and they were so beautiful that the child wished she could live there. In another dream, the child saw a beautiful woman with kind and gentle eyes and a handsome man who was quiet and strong. They looked as though they were waiting for someone or something.
Then the music changed again and became lively, like a dance! Now the child could hear the music clearly and she woke up. She looked around and saw the Willow Tree and the sleepy blue river. And she saw, sitting quite close to her, an old man. He was playing a flute. And the music from the flute danced through the air and the notes landed softly upon the earth. Wherever a note landed, a beautiful flower grew.
The child watched for some time and then she crept up to the old man and said, “Could you teach me how to make the flowers grow?” “Yes,” said the old man, “for I am the gardener and that is why I am here. You are to work with me and learn how to take care of the flowers.”
So the child went with the gardener and he taught her how to take care of the flowers. He showed her how to pull up the weeds and how to dig around each plant so that the sun and rain could come and nourish them. The child worked very hard and soon grew to love the gardener and the flower garden. In one corner of the garden there were flowers that were very delicate, the orchids and hibiscus. These were the child’s favorite flowers and she took special care of them all.
Every night the gardener would play his flute for her. The music made her sleepy and brought her dreams. One night, she dreamt again of the beautiful woman and the handsome, kind man. They still seemed to be waiting for someone or something. And by their little house grew beautiful orchids and hibiscus flowers. The child woke from her dream and suddenly she knew that the woman and the man were waiting for her!
So the child went to the gardener and told him of her dream. “I am so happy here and I wouldn’t ever want to leave you,” she said to him, “but they are waiting for me. I am sure of that! Can you help me to find my way?” And the gardener smiled, “Since you have worked so hard for me,” he said, “I will take you to the shore of the great sea. I will walk with you.”
So the gardener took her hand and they walked together out of the meadow. They walked through a forest and along the base of a tall mountain. At last they reached the shore of the great sea and the little golden boat was waiting to take the child across the sea to the land beyond. As it was night and the child had journeyed so far, they decided to spend that last night on the sandy shore. The child curled up and closed her eyes. The gardener took out his flute and began to play. The music made her sleepy and brought her dreams. In her dreams, she saw the beautiful woman and the handsome, kind man. They were smiling because they knew the child was on her way! The child slept through the night and in the morning when she awoke, the gardener was still playing his flute. Now the music was lively again and the music from the flute danced through the air and landed gently upon the sandy shore. Where the notes landed, little starfish appeared. Some of the notes flew up in the sky and where those notes flew, stars appeared. Then the music flew right to the child and the notes landed gently in the child’s heart. “That is music that you will hear in your heart every time someone calls your name,” said the gardener.
Then he helped the child into the golden boat and spoke a word into the sail. The boat took off and sped across the sea. It was a long journey and the child fell asleep. She slept for a long time and might be sleeping still except that the boat finally came to the end of its journey and bumped into the shore. The child fell right out of the boat and splashed into the water. When she came to herself again, she could no longer see the boat or the sea or the stars in the sky. What she did see was a beautiful and kind woman and a handsome, gentle man. And they said to her, “Welcome dear child! We have been waiting and waiting for you!” And the child, as she grew, helped the flowers to grow because she had the gardener’s music in her heart.