The Acorn and the Maple Key

By Franice Stirling  (2.7 reading level)

Acorn:  My hat’s off to you!

Maple Key:  What?

Acorn:  That was an amazing aerodynamic stunt.

Maple Key:  Oh, it was nothing.  The wind just spins me around.

Acorn:  But I can’t do anything like that. I just drop underneath my tree. Have you heard the saying, “An acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree?”

Maple Key:  Well, how do you get to a place where you can grow?  You can’t grow well under this big oak tree.

Acorn:  No, I can’t.  So, I have to wait for an animal to come and carry me away and bury me in the earth. Or, some water could carry me away.

Maple Key:  There must be thousands of your brother and sister acorns under this tree.

Acorn:  Yeah.  And our parent tree grew from just one acorn.  Ralph Waldo Emerson, the poet, said, “The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”

Maple Key:  I suppose that would be true about us maple keys, too.  Our real same is samaras.  I’ve often heard kids call us whirlybirds, helicopters, or wings.

Acorn:  You do have lots of names, and I've never even heard the scientific one.  If I may change the subject, are you edible? The Native Americans used to eat acorns. What about you?

Maple Key:  While maple seeds are edible, I don’t know if Native Americans ate them, but they tapped the sugar maple trees and made syrup and sugar to eat.

Acorn:  Your maple syrup on my acorn mush might make a good breakfast.  Can you get maple syrup from all kinds of maple trees? 

Maple Key:  There are about 125 species of maple trees.  Only the sugar maple is good for making syrup.  Are there different kinds of oak trees?

Acorn:  Yes.  There are about 600 species of oak trees.

Maple Key:  Wow!  

Acorn:  Haven’t I seen your tree's leaf on a flag?

Maple Key:  Yes!  The maple leaf is on the Canadian flag.  By the way, I like your cap.

Acorn:  Thanks.  It is called a cupule, because it is like a cup.  I grew from it.  Oops!  Here comes a squirrel.  I think I’m on my way somewhere new!  Bye.