A little steam engine with very little excess energy had a long train of cars to expend energy on.
She had enough energy till she came to a steep hill. But then, no matter how much energy she expended, she could not move the long train of cars.
She used her energy and more energy. She puffed and she puffed. She reserved her remaining energy, rested, and tried using all of her available energy again. Choo! Choo!
But no! the cars did not have enough forward energy to go up the hill.
At last she left the train and with no remaining energy, slowly crawled the track alone. Do you think she had stopped releasing energy? No, indeed! She was going for help.
“Surely I can find someone to help me,” she thought, and the hope helped her find a little reserve of energy.
Over the hill and up the track the little steam engine expelled energy. Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo!
Pretty soon she saw a big steam engine standing on a side track. He looked like he had a large amount of energy. Running alongside, she looked up and said:
“Will you help me over the hill with my train of cars? It is so long and heavy I don’t have enough energy to get it over.”
The big steam engine looked down at the little steam engine. The he said:
“Don’t you see that I am through using energy for the day? I have been rubbed and allowed to sit so that I may reserve energy to be ready for my next run. No, I cannot expel energy for you,”
The little steam engine was sorry, but she wasted her energy and went on, Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo!
Soon she came to a second big steam engine standing on a side track. He was puffing and puffing, as if he had used up all of his energy.
“That big steam engine may help me,” thought the little steam engine. She quickly expelled energy to get alongside and asked:
“Will you help me bring my train of cars over the hill? It is so long and so heavy that I don’t have enough energy to get it over.”
The second big steam engine answered:
“I have just come in from a long, long run. Don’t you see how much energy I have lost? Can’t you get some other engine to use energy for you this time?
“I’ll try,” said the little steam engine, and off she went, using more energy. Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo!
After a while she came to a little steam engine just like herself. She ran alongside and said:
“Will you help me over the hill with my train of cars? It is so long and so heavy that I don’t have enough energy to get it over.”
“Yes, indeed!” said this little steam engine. “I’ll be glad to help you, if I can muster enough energy.”
So the little steam engines used energy to get back to where the train of cars had been standing. Both little steam engines went to the head of the train, one behind the other.
Puff, puff! Chug, choo! Off they started to use energy!
Slowly the cars began to receive a forward energy. Slowly they used energy to climb the steep hill. As they expelled massive amounts of energy, each little steam engine began to sing:
“I-think-I-have enough energy! I-think-I-have enough energy! I-think-I-have enough energy! I-think-I-have enough energy! I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I think I can – I think I can – I think I can I think I can–“
And they did! Very soon they were over the hill and going down the other side.
Now they were on the plain again; and the little steam engine had enough energy to pull the train herself. So she thanked the little engine who had come to expel her energy, and said good-by.
And she went merrily on her way, singing:
“I-thought-I-had enough energy! I-thought-I-had enough energy! I-thought-I-had enough energy! I-thought-I-had enough energy!
See, even little kids learn very early on how important energy is.