Ping was lying in her bed, when she saw the moon get tangled in the branches of a tree. She called for Papa, who came into the room expecting monsters under the bed. Instead, he found Ping, sitting up, big tears sliding down her cheeks.
Papa put away the maracas (because monsters of all kinds can’t stand the sound of maracas), sat on the bed and asked Ping what was wrong.
She pointed out the window. “The moon is stuck.”
Papa looked out the window and chuckled. “The moon is fine. It just looks stuck, but it’s not.”
“It’s not?” Ping said, her little face full of doubt.
“Oh no,” explained Papa. “The moon is high in the sky and the tree is just reaching for it, but it can’t touch it. Nothing can touch the moon.”
“Oh. Why is the tree reaching for the moon, Papa?”
“Because it loves the moon and wants to hug it,” said Papa. “But it can’t.”
“Does the moon love the tree?”
“I don’t know,” admitted Papa. “Maybe. Time to go to sleep now, sweetheart.”
Papa tucked her in again and, just for good measure, rattled the maracas to drive away any monsters. Then he kissed Ping and said, “Goodnight.”
“It’s sad about the tree,” said Ping. “It’s sad that it will never get to hold the moon.”
“Maybe, sweetheart. But we can’t always get what we want. Sweet dreams.”
The next morning, when Papa came down to breakfast, Ping had already left for school. Mama handed Papa a cup of tea and a blueberry scone and kissed him on the cheek.
“I have to run some errands this morning,” said Mama. “I’ll see you later.”
Papa walked her out to the car. As he waved goodbye from the sidewalk, he noticed something yellow attached to the trunk of a tree. The tree was an old birch and was the one Ping saw from her bedroom window. Attached to its trunk with a bit of tape was a drawing of the moon.
Papa looked at it for a minute, then went into the house. He came back outside a few minutes later and duct taped the picture to the tree.
Then he went back inside the house and finished his breakfast.