So the little girl sat with the cactus and they watched the sun go down and the night come up. She had never seen so many stars; she had never seen the sky so big all around. They watched as the round shining moon came up on one side of the sky while the sun was going down all red and glowing on the other side.
The rocks and cactus and everything around turned deep colors but she could still see so many things in the desert from the light of the moon and the stars. The forest was always deep and dark in the night.
The cactus and the little girl sat and watched the night with its deep colors, its small creatures, its soft moonlight, until the little girl fell asleep happily next to her new friend.
In the morning cactus called out softly, “Wake up, wake up, the dawn is coming now.” The little girl woke up and they watched the sky grow red and the glowing sun slip up again into the sky.
“I know now why you love your desert” the little girl said to her cactus friend. It really is wonderfully lovely.”
“So now you will stay here with me,” said the cactus.
“No,” she replied, “
l really must go home to my forest. I love it there too.”
“No, little girl,” the cactus pleaded. “The forest is full of uncertainties. There is no truth there. Here the sun is bright and the moon is clear. What you see is true and certain. You can never be sure of what you see in the forest. The light flickers and moves, fades and grows.”
This was a new thought to her. The more she considered it the more she saw that it was true. But it did not make her happy that she could see clearly in the desert. Instead she was very sad because she loved her forest and did not want to think that she could not trust it.
The cactus could not understand why she was sad. But she was. She wanted to go home to her forest but she was now worried that there was no truth there. So she sat down and thought. She thought about the forest and then she knew where the truth was in it.
“Oh, Cactus!” she laughed, “you are wrong. There is truth in the forest. When I touch the trees that is true. And when I feel the damp moss that is true. And when I hold the furry creatures that is true. It is my own eyes I cannot trust. I love the forest because it is beautiful. But if I ever need to know the truth in it I have only to get very close and touch and I can know the truth.” And she ran back to the forest.
“No. No.” cried the cactus, “You will be deceived.”
“Don’t worry,” she called back, “I’ll be back because I also love your desert.” But she ran on to the forest because she knew she was right.
This is almost the end of the story, but not quite yet. Because the very next day she met a toad. He was from the swamp. The cedar was very distressed. The cactus was distraught. But the little girl only laughed. And you know where she went next.