Andrea was an 8-year-old who lived in the countryside with her parents and grandparents. Andrea thought that she not especially good at anything. So, she never tried to do anything, since nothing she did ever seemed to her to come out very well. The only thing she seemed to have any talent in was finding ways to waste time.
One weekend, even Andrea ran out of ways to waste time. She started feeling bored, and ran to ask her Mom to read her a story. Her Mom was sad to see Andrea depressed and sad to see her daughter didn’t feel more self-esteem. Then, she got an idea. She said, “Honey, I’ll be glad to read you a story, but first you have to find something.” Andrea didn’t think she was very good at finding things, but she really loved it when her Mom read her stories; so, she asked what it was she had to find. “Find something”, her Mom said, “that is red, round, has no windows, but has a surprise star inside”
Andrea scratched her head and wrinkled her nose. Sometimes doing those things helped her think. What could possibly be red, round, have no windows, and have a surprise star inside. She went off down the road thinking and kicking a rock, since kicking things also sometimes helped her think.
After a little while, she met an old man with a cane. She asked him, “Pardon me, sir, have you ever heard of something that is red, round, with no windows but with a surprise star inside?” The old man tugged on his beard and whistled a bit – maybe that helped him to think – but after a couple minutes, he shrugged and said, “Sorry, little one, I can’t help you with that mystery, but there’s an old woman who lives in an old green house about another kilometer down the road. I bet she’d know.”
Andrea had seen the woman before. Wow, was she old! She was all wrinkled and just sat on her porch and rocked all day long. While she rocked she would knit. She would just rock and knit, rock and knit. How would she ever know the answer to the mystery? But, there was no one else to ask, so Andrea decided to give it a try.
When Andrea told the woman what she was looking for, suddenly the woman stopped knitting. She stopped rocking. She just stared at Andrea. The woman knew! But she did not know anyone else knew. At last, she said, “Only the wind can take you to the right place.” Then, once again the woman started knitting, and soon once again she started rocking.
Andrea was disappointed. So near, yet so far! Just then, the wind blew her cap off her head. It sent the cap rolling down the road with Andrea chasing after it. It rolled and rolled until finally it stopped under a huge tree. Andrea sat down, picked up her cap, and tried to catch her breath. That had been a long chase! Then the wind blew again. It blew so strongly that the branches of the tree shook with the wind’s power. Suddenly, an apple fell from the tree and into Andrea’s lap. She picked it up. After all the walking and running, Andrea was thirsty; so, she took a bite. She stopped! She looked!
It was red! It was round! It had no windows! But there was no star inside – just apple and seeds. She still had not solved the mystery. The apple fit only three of the clues. Feeling defeated again but too tired to try any longer, Andrea took the apple and walked home.
Her Mom saw her coming. Her daughter did not look like a successful detective. Then, the Mom saw the half-eaten apple Andrea was carrying and smiled. “You found it. Good for you!”, the Mom said proudly. Andrea did not understand. “Look at it, Andrea. It is red and round. It has no windows.” Next, she picked up a knife and cut the apple in half. “See here. There is the surprise star hiding inside.” Andrea’s eyes were wide with amazement. She had never cut an apple that way. “You see,” her Mom continued, “there is a surprise star inside every apple, and there’s a surprise star in every person. All we need to do is to look the right way and we can find it.”