The ” Abigail” in All of Us

Dear Reader:

There are some stories that are so memorable that even two decades after first hearing it… it is as fresh in our memories as the day we first heard it.

It was fall of 2005. I was working at the district office as the social studies specialist the year the district was trying to align all the subject areas with the ” new” state standards entering the curriculum.

The most favorite part of my job was walking through the schools and listening to social studies lessons being taught at all levels. It was September and I was in an elementary school walking down the second grade hall when I heard clapping and excited children talking about drawing and then making their ” Abigail” leaves.

Curious I slowed down and stood outside the door…apparently the teacher had just finished a lesson about fall leaves and now the children were going to make their own ” Abigail” leaf while the teacher was explaining about seasons and historical celebrations that took place in the fall.

I tapped on the door, I introduced myself, and asked the teacher if I could watch the children make their ” Abigail ” leaves and by the way … what was an ” Abigail ” leaf?

The teacher called on a little girl to explain to me what an ” Abigail ” leaf was. ” It’s a leaf that doesn’t want to let go”… the child excitedly shouted.

The teacher asked the class if it would be okay if she re-told the story so I could hear it while they worked on making their ” Abigail ” leaves. Everyone started nodding and clapping again! The teacher began…

… Once upon a time a little leaf named Abigail was heard to sigh and cry, as leaves often do when a gentle wind blows. And the twig asked, ” What’s the matter Abigail?” Abigail replied,” The wind just told me that one day it will pull me right off this tree and throw me down on the ground where I will be left all alone… tattered and torn ”

The twig told the branch on which it grew and then the branch told the tree. And when the tree heard it, it rustled all over, and sent back word to the little leaf ” Do not be afraid. Hold on tightly, and you shall not go until you are ready… and then you will willingly let go.”

Abigail was still a little ” anxious ” so she held on tightly whenever the wind blew and she grew stronger with time… to the point that she thought nothing could ever pull her off. And so it went until October arrived. And when the bright days of autumn came Abigail saw that all the leaves around her were becoming quite beautiful! Some were yellow, some scarlet, and some mixed with many colors!

She then sent word through her friend, Twig, to his friend Branch, to the Tree that she wondered what was happening to the leaves with all the bright colors. Tree sent her a message:

” All these leaves are getting ready to fly away, and they have put on these beautiful colors because of the joy they feel about their upcoming new adventure.”

Slowly Abigail began to realize that she didn’t want to be the only lack-luster leaf left all by herself in the barren tree… she wanted to be pretty and joyful too… so she began to grow more beautiful each day because of the way she now thought about things… about letting go. There was a special aura around her and she shone first like gold and then a brilliant scarlet!

One morning as she looked down , the fallen leaves looked so beautiful around the tree that she leaned farther out as a strong wind suddenly blew. Without even realizing what she was doing she freely let go of the branch.

Suddenly she began whirling and twirling like a spark of fire in the air… until she was gently placed among her friends in a pile of leaves at the edge of the fence. Everyone was so happy to be back together at last. Abigail tingled with joy and the warmth of a love that totally enveloped her.

Sometimes letting go, she realized, is the best thing that can happen to an anxious leaf… a whole new world of possibilities awaited her and she happily began to play with her new friends.

***At the end of the story the teacher asked if anyone knew what the lesson in the story was? A little girl, with long pigtails, replied ” Sometimes letting go of only what you know …is the way to make new friends and see new places.” AMEN!

So until tomorrow… What a wonderful story, what a wonderful lesson for all of us… seven or seventies! New possibilities await us… no matter the age!

This is my ” Abigail!” A photo called ” Fall’s Flame” by photographer Carol Weeks …Anne sent me!

Today is my favorite day… Winnie the Pooh

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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3 Responses to The ” Abigail” in All of Us

  1. Rachel Edwards says:


  2. Pam says:

    I love, love, love this story! What a wonderful fall art activity. I would have loved to have done this with my classes. Bravo to that teacher for using her creativity to teach a life lesson, too.

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