A Very Pine Day
Characters: Reddy Red Squirrel, Hemlock Branch, Spruce Branch, Fir Branch, Pine Branch.
Reddy Red Squirrel Oh boy, it’s time for lunch! I just have to find a kine pone so I can eat some seeds.
Hemlock Don’t you mean find a pinecone?
Squirrel Of course! Find a pinecone. That’s what I said…I think. Anyway, now I’ve found one, right here on your branch.
Hemlock No, you haven’t. I’m not a pine, and this little cone isn’t a pinecone.
Squirrel You can’t fool me. You’re a pine tree. You’ve got needles, don’t you?
Hemlock Yes, but see how short they are? Pine needles are much longer than these.
Squirrel But you’ve got pinecones! Right here. They’re tiny ones. They’re probably just babies.
Hemlock No! They’re not babies. They’re full-grown, mature cones.
Squirrel Well, if you’re not a pine tree, then what are you?
Hemlock I’m a hemlock, and these are my hemlock cones.
Squirrel Hem-lock. Well, even if they’re locked, I’ll bet I can get those tasty seeds out. Let me try one. (pretends to nibble) Mmm, yummy, I do love your seeds, but they’re just too tiny. I need to pind a fine.
Hemlock (chuckles) You mean find a pine.
Good luck, Reddy Squirrel! (exits)
Squirrel Why, here’s a tree with bigger cones and longer needles. Hello, Pine Tree.
Spruce You talking to me? I’m no pine tree.
Squirrel But you’ve got needles and pinecones.
Spruce Yep, I’ve got needles, but these here are spruce cones. There’s a difference, you know. Pine cones have hard, woody scales. But the scales on my spruce cones are much softer and they even bend a bit.
Squirrel That sounds good to me. I’ll just pick one and try some spruce seeds. (moves near Spruce) Oh, ow! Your needles are sharp!
Spruce Yeah, my needles are sharp and prickly too. It helps for keeping pesky squirrels away until the seeds are ripe.
Squirrel Gee, I only wanted to taste them. I’m going to look for a tree with softer needles! Bye. (exits)
Spruce Wait, Reddy! They have to be softer and longer too! Oh well, he’ll find out. (exits)
Squirrel Why, here’s a tree with softer needles, and they have a nice smell, too. And look at those chunky pinecones. Yum!
Fir Are you referring to me? If so, then you are clearly mistaken. For these are not pinecones, they’re fir cones.
Squirrel Wow! You’ve got furry cones?
Fir No, they’re not furry, but they’re called fir cones because I’m a fir tree.
Squirrel Then you’re not a tine pree? I mean a pine tree?
Fir Not I. Pine cones hang down when they’re ripe, but my cones stand upright on the branches.
Squirrel They’re nice and fat. I bet I’ll find nice big seeds when I strip off the scales.
Fir Oh, you won’t have to strip them. When my seeds are ripe the cones just fall apart and the seeds float to the ground.
Squirrel Wow! Then it’ll be easy to eat your seeds. Only, wait. If the cones fall apart when they’re ripe, then what are those purple cones on your branches? And what about those spikey things?
Fir The spikes are what’s left of last year’s cones – just the center. All the scales and seeds are gone now. The purple cones are young cones – they’re not ripe yet.
Squirrel Oh phooey! Then I can’t eat fir seeds today. I really need to find a pine!
Fir Just look at the needles. My needles are attached one by one all along the branch.
Squirrel Just the same as hemlock and spruce.
Fir Yes, but pine needles are attached in little bundles – two or three or five needles all together in a bundle.
Squirrel Okay! Thanks! I’ll look for a tree with needles in bundles! Needles in bundles…needles in bundles…(exits)
Fir Good luck, Reddy Squirrel. (exits)
Squirrel Here’s a tree with big woody cones. I wonder if they could be pine cones.
Pine Well, they surely aren’t pine-apples.
Squirrel And it looks like you have very long needles – much longer than hemlock or spruce or fir. They could be pine needles…
Pine Well, they’re not knitting needles!
Squirrel But there was one more important thing I needed to look for. Now what was it? Beedles in nundles? Seedles in dundles?
Pine How about needles in bundles?
Squirrel That’s it! Needles in bundles! Let me see, are your needles attached in bundles? (moves closer to branch) They are! Here’s a bundle with one, two, three, four, five needles! And here’s another one, and another one. You must be a pine tree!
Pine That I am – and it’s a pine kind of tree to be.
Squirrel I’ll say. I’m glad I finally found you. I don’t suppose you’d like to share a cone with me?
Pine Well, it depends. Only if you promise to plant some of my seeds instead of eating all of them! Then they can grow into new pine trees, just like me.
Squirrel Plant some seeds – for new pine trees? Of course I will. I’ll be happy to. Everyone knows we treed our nees! I mean, I mean…
Pine That’s right, Reddy Squirrel. We need our trees!