Old Turtle

“NOW, MY CHILDREN,” said Old Turtle, her voice as gentle as the breeze among the blossoms, “there is one more question you have not asked, perhaps the most important one of all. It is a question asked by every dawn—a question of the rising sun and of the light that fills the world. It is whispered by the first morning breeze and by the bird that sings the first daybreak song. Every sunrise brings this question—a question only the heart can hear: Who are you, and how will you live this day?”

“But where is the answer, Grandmother?” the children asked.

“We give our answer each day,” said Old Turtle, “in all that we do, and in all the choices that we make. Our answer is there in the way that we treat one another, in the courage we must find to face a challenge. It is there in our eyes when we choose to look for beauty, and in our hands when we reach out to help someone. It is in our minds when we strive to understand, and in our hearts when we choose to love. It is there in all the important questions we ask, and in our journey to find the answers.”

Then the Old Woman wrapped the children gently in her arms, and held them, and they laid their heads against Old Turtle’s great shell. And softly, so softly it was more a feeling than a sound, they heard Old Turtle say, “You are the answer, little ones. The person you try to be each day is your answer to the whispered question of the dawn.”

(From my book: ‘Old Turtle: Questions of the Heart’, Scholastic Press, illus. Greg Ruth)

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