Props: Four toys, owl wall hanging, shoe box, duck caller (or equivalent!).
Hello children. I wonder if any of you have a close friend. I mean someone you might share a secret with. You do? You're very lucky. I find that most people, even popular people, are lonely at times and wish they had a close friend.
There is a verse in Proverbs, Prov 18::24, which says ‘there are friends who pretend to be friends' – you know, “I’m your friend; can I have one of your lollies?”! – ‘but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.’ Well, it’s great to know that God loves us, and that Jesus is our special friend, but most of us like to have other friends as well. I want to tell you a story ... .
Teddy lived by the side of a large lake. Teddy had no brothers. Teddy had no sisters. Worst of all, Teddy had no friends. Teddy felt very sad, and started to cry. “Boo hoo!”
Suddenly a strange thing happened. A voice from across the lake said, “Boo hoo!”
Teddy looked up, but then remembered how sad he was, and cried again, even louder. “Waaaah!”
The voice came back across the lake, “Waaaah!”
There was someone on the other side of the lake who was crying!
“Helloooo,” called Teddy.
“Helloooo,” called the voice.
“Why are you crying?” called Teddy.
“Why are you crying?” asked the voice.
Teddy thought for a minute and then called “I'm crying because I’m lonely and I don’t have any friends.”
The voice called back, “I'm crying because I’m lonely and I don’t have any friends.”
“That’s terrible,” thought Teddy, “I must find this poor person and see if I can cheer him up.” So Teddy jumped into his boat, and paddled across the lake.
He first found a little duck swimming in the water.
“Hello Ducky,” said Teddy. “I’m looking for someone who needs a friend. Have you been crying?”
“Well,” said Ducky, “Quack! I am lonely and I do need a friend, but I haven’t been crying.”
“I’ll be your friend,” said Teddy. “Hop in!”
“Quack!” said the duck and hopped in, and off they paddled.
Next they came to a water rat, sliding down the mud into the lake.
“Hello Ratty,” said Teddy. “We’re looking for someone who needs a friend. Have you been crying?”
“Well,” said Ratty, “ I don’t have anyone to play with, and I do need a friend, but I haven’t been crying.”
“We’ll be your friends,” said Teddy and Ducky. “Quack! Hop in!”
So Ratty hopped into the boat, and off they paddled.
Then they found a little puppy running around on the grass by the lake.
“Hello Puppy,” said Teddy. “We're looking for someone who needs a friend. Have you been crying?”
“I am a bit lonely,” said the puppy “and I do need a friend, but I haven’t been crying.”
“We’ll be your friends,” said Teddy and Ratty and Ducky. “Quack! Hop in!” And off they paddled.
They came right to the end of the lake where there lived a very large, wise old owl. Teddy told the owl the whole story, and how he couldn't find the owner of the voice who’d been crying and didn’t have any friends.
“Oh,” said the Owl, “that would be the Echo. He always lives on the other side of the lake. No matter which side you are on, the Echo always lives on the other side. When you’re sad, the Echo is sad, but when you’re happy, the Echo is happy.”
“But I must find him,” said Teddy, “Because he is sad and has no friends. And I’m sad because I have no friends.”
“Well, I’m your friend,” said the duck. “Quack!” “And so am I,” said Ratty. “And me too,” barked the puppy.
“Why I do have lots of friends,” said Teddy, very pleased. And he said it again, more loudly ... “I do have lots of friends!”
And from across the lake came a pleased voice: “I do have lots of friends!”
Teddy and his new friends were so pleased they gave a happy shout, “Yaaay!”
And from across the lake came a very happy sound: “Yaaaay!” And everyone was happy.
Now boys and girls, that’s the end of the story, but I have a question for you. At the start, Teddy had no friends. At the end he had lots of friends. How did that happen?
Yes, Teddy went out and found the others who were lonely and made friends with them. You can do that too!
Story adapted from ‘Little Beaver and the Echo’ by Amy MacDonald and Sarah Fox-Davies (Walker Books 1990).