Thoughts on Midrash
That's on one level, which is the way Midrash is instructive for children, but there is yet another level that some people never move to -- that is an appreciation of what the Midrash comes to teach us, something that the Maharal does brilliantly in a number of places. Here's one of his observations inBe'er Hagolah, e in the third Be'er on p. 44 in my edition. This is a direct quote translated by myself:
A man who is a stranger to matters of wisdom will be astounded on the distance that appears [at the Midrash of Chazal] and he cannot apprehend their words. And this is nothing new, for also in the Torah and all the Scripture it is thus, for the man who is a stranger to the matters of wisdom sees in Torah some things that seem distant [unlikely]. However, the the intelligent man will say that it is not that the words are empty, and if they appear thus to him, it is due to him [the shortcoming of his own understanding]. That is the way for all the drashos in the Talmud and in all the other midrashim. Not a single one of them, whether big or small, does not [reveal] the depths of the Scriptures according to its truth. As one deeply investigates the interpretation of the Text, he will find it thus. That is why it is called drasha, for it is drishas [an investigation of] the Text with extreme [deep]chakira [digging out the truth] and drisha of up to the depth of [meaning of] the Text.
A few pages later, the Maharal offers an analogy to illustrate how Midrash is always rooted in the truth of the text even if it seems distant from it. The pshat would be analogous to the trunk of the tree, which is singular. But the tree extends into branches, leaves, and even fruit. Though they may extend very far beyond the trunk, they are still integral to the tree and stem from the same root.