Once upon a time, in a lush forest filled with many different types of trees, there were two young saplings named Birch and Alder. They grew up side by side and became the best of friends. One day, Birch saw that their knotty branches and slender trunks made them look very similar to each other. They even had the same delicate leaves that hung loosely, rustling in the gentle breeze.
Curious to learn how they were different, Birch asked Alder, “What makes us unique?” Alder thought for a moment and then replied, “Well, I may look like a Birch, but I’m actually an Alder, a close relative of the Birch.” Not really understanding what “relative” meant, Birch asked Alder to explain.
Alder patiently explained, “A relative is someone who shares a common ancestor, like a grandparent or a cousin. The Birch and Alder are both members of the same family of trees called the Betulaceae family. But we have some differences too. For one thing, my bark is rough and dark while yours is smooth and white.”
Birch found this revelation fascinating, and from that day on, he made sure to always remember the difference between them. Birch realized that even though they were similar in appearance, they were each uniquely special in their own way.
Years went by, and Birch and Alder grew tall and robust. They stood strong in the forest for generations and generations, always remembering that they were unique but still family. And each time someone in the forest completed a crossword and saw the clue “Birch relative”, they smiled and remembered the story of Birch and Alder, and wrote the answer “ALDER” with confidence.