The Little Train that Asked Why?


You may have heard of the little train that said, “I think I can! I think I can!” until it got to the top of the hill and then said, “I thought I could!” But you may never have heard of its little brother, Puffy, who always used to ask, “Why?”

Puffy is the train at Gage Park, the big park in Topeka, Kansas. Puffy takes visitors around the park.

Puffy spends the night in his train shed. And every morning the conductor wakes him at 9:00 a.m.

He always smiles and says, “Time to go, Puffy.”

But Puffy would always ask, “Why?”

“Because that’s our job, Puffy. People depend upon us,” the conductor would answer.

The ride around the park is not a difficult one for a little train. Not like going up a steep hill would be. But Puffy would get tired of just going around and around.
Each time the conductor would load the passengers and then say, “All right, Puffy, time to go again.”

And Puffy would ask, “Why?”

“Because these new passengers want to see the park, too.”

So around they would go again.

They would come to where the road crossed the track, and the conductor would tell Puffy to stop, even if no cars were coming.

And Puffy would ask, “Why?”

“Because that’s the law, Puffy. And we must be careful when we have so many children on board.”

Then, late yesterday, there were only three passengers, two children and their father.

But the conductor still said, “Time to go, Puffy.”

And Puffy asked, “Why?”

“Because two children enjoy the ride just as much as twenty. They still want to see the park.”

All three passengers sat on the very front seat.

As they went by the rose garden, Becky said, “Look at all those pretty flowers, Daddy.”

“Yes. How big this park is! And look at those animals. Do you know what they are?”

“Buffaloes!” Becky cried out. “Slow down, Puffy.”

And Puffy asked, “Why?”

“So we can see the little calf with its mother,” said Becky.

So Puffy slowed down a little, wondering if that might make them late.

But then, as they were approached the long tunnel, Jimmy shouted, “Hurry up, Puffy.”

And Puffy asked, “Why?”

“So we can get to the tunnel quicker.”

So Puffy hurried up. They would not be late.

Then there they were, at the end of the ride again.

As the children were getting off, their father said, “Thank Puffy for that nice ride, children.”

Becky and Jimmy both stopped in front of Puffy and smiled.

Becky said, “Thank you, Puffy, for taking us by the lovely roses. And the buffaloes! I liked them best.”

Jimmy said, “Thank you, Puffy, for the exciting ride through the tunnel. It was really dark in there.”

Puffy smiled, too, as he watched the children walk over toward the zoo entrance, saying, “I guess that’s why.”

[Return to Stories For Chalice]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *