A Real Tall Tale

Once upon a time, not so long ago, when the world was big and peoples’ dreams were bigger, and life was harder but simpler too… just then…

Fiona lived in the city, by the river that chattered over the rocks. Carl farmed near a village out where the tall prairie grass grew.

Times were good except for one thing—city buildings were short, barns were short, houses were short. Apple trees were picked halfway up. Haystacks were only two people tall. Despite piling up stones, stacking boxes, or boosting each other up, folks everywhere could only reach so high.

Every night Fiona sat on the back stoop and watched the stars dance and the moon croon. Fiona thought about being able to build high enough to reach the sky and what it would mean for the city.

Every day, on the tractor, Carl watched the sun play hide-and-seek amid the cotton-ball clouds in the big blue sky. Musing about being able to build a shed high enough to store all the hay, Carl smiled at the good it would do for the surrounding farms and villages.

Every day, on the tractor, Carl watched the sun play hide-and-seek amid the cotton-ball clouds in the big blue sky. Musing about being able to build a shed high enough to store all the hay, Carl smiled at the good it would do for the surrounding farms and villages.

Every night Fiona sat on the back stoop and watched the stars dance and the moon croon. Fiona thought about being able to build high enough to reach the sky and what it would mean for the city.

One night, Fiona decided enough was enough. One day, Carl had an idea. Miles apart, each set to invent a way “up.” Each arrived at an answer—a tall sturdy pole with sticks out one side. They tried and tried to make it work, climbing the pole, only to topple to the ground.

All the while, the moon and the sun watched Fiona and Carl and their inventions. One early morning, as the sun and moon crossed paths, they chatted and decided it was time for Fiona and Carl to meet.

As the moon, and the stars, and the sun, and the clouds aligned, Fiona and Carl came face-to-face at the market the following week. Being polite, Fiona nodded at Carl. Likewise, Carl nodded at Fiona. After all, they each had a curiously similar stick in tow. The two reached out and shook hands. Then Fiona and Carl stared down at their joined arms. They looked at each other and smiled. They had found a way “up.”

It took only a day for Fiona and Carl to combine their inventions into a two-legged object with several rungs in between. They built one ladder, then another. They built short ones, middle-sized ones, ladders that could extend one on top of the other.

Soon barns got taller, stores grew bigger, and factories expanded. People from the city bought more supplies from country communities. Throughout the countryside, people bought more products from the city. The region thrived!

To this day, look up to the moon’s glow and the sun’s shine and you’ll see Fiona and Carl still building ladders for their communities. They’re still dreaming of more ways to grow as high as the sky.