Mighty Oak, Little Maple



According to legend, two seeds (one from a maple tree and one from an oak) fell to the ground near one another. The forest in which they lived was dense, with fertile soil.

While they started out on the same day, the oak grew faster than the little maple. The oak was becoming a beautiful tree. It was tall and it benefited more from the sunshine and the rain. The little maple struggled.

Years later a craftsman came to the forest looking for a particular tree. He went from tree to tree, hitting their trunks with the back of his axe and then with his trained ear he would listen to the pitch of the sound. The very size of the great oak precluded any interest from him.

When he saw the little maple all bent and twisted, he dropped to his knees, and listened carefully as he tapped its trunk many times. He liked what he heard and quickly and skillfully cut it down, carried it to his shop, and placed it on a shelf.

He examined the little log frequently and when it was ready to mill he cut it into thin slabs which he kept in presses until they were ready to use. When ready they were taken out, bent, curved, and shaped into a beautiful violin and placed in a showcase with other violins.

One day a famous violinist came to the shop looking for a violin that produced the perfect sound, which he found in the little maple. This violin had the tone he had been seeking for years. So the little maple, with all its challenges and struggles to survive, became the creator of sounds with which the great master charmed and thrilled the world.

Sometimes it is hard to recognize our child’s talent and it’s easy to compare them to other children whose talents may be more visible. One positive thing we can do, however, is to accept who they are, appreciate their uniqueness, and praise their attempts, otherwise we may overlook a beautiful violin hidden within.


Bryson, J.G. (1965). “One Hundred Dollars & A Horse: the Reminiscences of a Texas Country Doctor”. William Morrow & Company, New York, p. 52-53.


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