Mari is a marigold that lives in a beautiful garden. She is a happy flower. She has many friends. Life is good in the garden, but not without some hard times too.
There is a kind and gentle Gardener that tends the garden. He wears big rubber boots and overalls. The Gardener has a thick, black beard and sometimes tucks pencils into it. From time to time he takes out a notebook, and scribbles something into it with his pencils. This makes Mari laugh.
One of Mari’s best friends is Sunnie the sunflower. Sunnie is tall and has a big bright face full of sunflower seeds. Mari and Sunnie are best friends, and they love to talk about the weather, or about video games, or best of all, about the kind and gentle Gardener.
One day when Mari and Sunnie were talking, the biggest, blackest, noisiest crow that the flowers had ever seen flew in and alighted right on Sunnie’s face! Her head swayed back and forth a little from the weight of him. He let out a terrible noise, “CA-CAW!” and every flower in the garden looked to see what the trouble was.
What they saw was alarming. The big crow peck-peck-pecked a sunflower seed right off of Sunnie’s face and then flew away with it in its beak!
“Ouch!” Sunnie yelped.
“Oh my!” said Mari.
“Did you see that?” Sunnie said with fear and anger in her voice. “That crow he… why, I can’t believe… I know he didn’t!!” Sunnie was beside herself with anger.
Mari felt bad for her friend. She listened to Sunnie fuss about it for the rest of the day as she tried to be supportive.
“Yes, I know it.” Mari would say, and “No, I can’t believe it either.”
Mari looked across the garden and saw something that surprised her. The crow was sitting on the Gardener’s shoulder and they were walking in their direction. The Gardener was talking and scribbling some notes in his little notebook.
As they came near, the Gardener said “Sunnie, Mr. Crow has something he wants to ask you.”
Then Mr. Crow spoke up softly, “Sunnie, it was (caw) wrong of me to take your seeds (caw) without permission. Would you please (caw) forgive me?”
Just then the Gardener tore off a sheet of paper from his little notebook and put it into his mouth. Everyone looked at him as if to expect an explanation, but he just chewed it and smiled broadly with his lips closed.
Mari tried not to laugh.
“No I won’t forgive you” Sunnie said sharply. “It still hurts where you pecked me!”
The gardener swallowed the paper and spoke to Sunnie.
“You know Sunnie, you can forgive someone even if you are still stinging from what they did to you. Forgiveness is a choice. It’s not just ‘feeling’ better about what happened, it’s choosing to let the other person off the hook anyway, even if it still hurts.”
They all sat in silence for a minute while Sunnie thought about it.
“OK, I will forgive you” Sunnie said.
“Thanks” the crow said, and he flew off.
The Gardener asked her how she felt now.
“Well” she said, “I am still sore from yesterday, but somehow, my heart feels better now.”
The Gardener laughed his gentle laugh and tucked the pencil back into his beard as he walked on.
“Good, Sunnie. That’s good.” And as he did, he ate another piece of paper.