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The Little Train That Wouldn't



The Little Train that Wouldn’t

By Kalen Marquis


Once upon a sad time

In the land of Kwilville

There was a little train that stood



Utter impossibly…



It was such a sad thing.

There was so much it could do!

And yet there it just sat…



“What could be the problem?

That is what everyone asked.

They all looked on in sad wonder

Each time that they passed.


But yet…



Utterly impossibly…

There the little train sat!


“It’s lazy!" "It’s bored!”

“It just doesn’t like to go!”

Everyone in Kwilville had a reason

Whether teeny-tiny Kwil Kids…

Or Kwilsters wiser than wise…

And older than old!


“It’s engine’s too small,” said one.

“It could not carry a full load.”

“The tracks are too wide,”

said another.

“Its wheels could never catch hold.”


“The cars are too heavy,”

said another.

“They always fill them

right to the top.”

“I don’t think it likes speed,”

said another.

“It’s scared it can’t stop!”


“The hills are high and steep,”

said one.

“It could never go all the way up.”

“It’s not getting the right fuel,”

said another

“It needs the brand new

super-powered stuff.”

(It's specially made

to help little trains chug!)


“It just needs a push to get started,”

said one.

“Up and over. . and then it can coast.”

“Well, what is the good in that?”

asked another

“Besides good intentions, I suppose?!”


“It should not be made to go,”

said another.

“Shouldn’t everything be a choice?”

“If it doesn’t try things now…”

cautioned another

With a worried and irritated voice.


So, as everyone in Kwilville went by…

Talking, wondering,

and suggesting this and that…

Like a bump on a log…

Or rather a train on the track…

There, sadly, the little engine…

sat, sat, SAT!


And then frizzy-fuzzy Kwil came by,

Big, yellow pencil in hand…

Scratching his big, green nose…

Trying, trying, trying… to understand!


He went over to the little train,

Smiled and wished it, “Good day!”

The train nodded sleepily…

But then… slowly…looked Kwil’s way.


Kwil asked, “What’s wrong little train?”

“Can you tell me why you don't try?”

He asked about its feelings

Listening very carefully…

And wondering, “Why? Why? Why?”


The little train did not say much.

In fact, it did not even try to reply.

So Kwil sat and waited…

And waited…

And waited…

And waited…

Until the little train finally

blurted out why!


“I just can’t do it! I just can’t go!

You’ve heard all the reasons why.

Everyone in Kwilville will tell you

They all know,” was its sad reply.


“Who says you can’t do it?

Who says you can’t go?

Why, you haven’t yet tried…

So how does anyone know?”


“I just know that I can’t.

I just know that I couldn’t.

I’m getting so big…

I’m too embarrassed to try...

And think maybe I shouldn’t?!”


“But dear little train," said Kwil

"I believe that you can!"

I am right here to help you!

Do you understand?”


“Can you push me up and over?

So then I could coast?”

Kwil looked and laughed,

Saying, “Little train…no, no no.”


“A train pushed up hill never makes it

And it doesn't get to coast!

Its cars all begin to buckle

And it does not get to go!”




“I am here to encourage you!

I just know you can do it!

But it’s all up to you!

YOU have to prove it!

(You must move-it-move it-move it! ”


“You must first turn the tumblers

In the lock of your mind.

A turn and twist of the key

And they’ll all be in line!”


“The lock will swing open...

And you’ll finally be free!

You’ll be set to take off...

To be. .

ALL that YOU...

were meant to be!


Your motor will kick in, little engine!

Zooom! Away you will go!

You may choose to climb...

Go under or around...

Why, you never-never know!


I know you can do it little engine

It is all up to you!

But we are here to cheer!

And, perhaps, give pointers too!


The little engine started its motor!

It had finally kicked into gear!

With its little engine sputtering

and its cars shaking with fear.


That’s the end of the story…

About a little train that couldn’t.

They all look back smiling,

Telling a now familiar story of…

The Little Train That Wouldn’t!


© 1999 Kalen Marquis