"The Gift"

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Children Stories  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a great childrens book, written by a great woman!

Submitted: July 31, 2012

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Submitted: July 31, 2012

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THE GIFT

Bang! The playroom door slammed shut forever behind the last of the children.

 

“There they go,” sighed Angelina, the forgotten rag doll slouched against a

battered toy chest in the corner. “All grown up and gone.”

“We both saw this coming, lamented Angelo, an abandoned teddy bear slumped

beside her. “No one needs us anymore.”

They looked glumly about in the strange silence of the childless playroom. Near

the door was a small table carefully set with four tiny teacups, matching saucers and a

dead dandelion bouquet at its center. A library of well read picture books lined one wall

by the window overlooking the garden outside. Scattered about was a fading rocking

horse, a doll house with no furniture, a battered old drum with no drumsticks, a paint-

Ccped puppet on a miniature stage with no curtain, a guitar with two strings and a toy

piano missing a leg.

They lifted the lid of the toy chest and peered inside for forgotten memories.

All that remained was a blue bi-plane with a broken wing languishing on a shabby

patchwork quilt.

“I know what to do,” announced Angelo. “I’ll just fix up this old bi-plane so we

can fly out and find a new child to belong to, because children are who we’re stitched for.

They’re our job.

So he dragged the fix-it kit off a shelf and with swirling bursts of whirling energy

Angelo sawed, glued, painted and polished the bi-plane. Then, when it was all mended

Angelina stuffed the patchwork quilt into the pilot’s seat and they both hopped in and

flew away to find a new child.

Whoosh! Out they soared through an open window with the bi-plane flying free

in the sky, aloft again at last. Swoosh! Up they winged their way through the fluffy

white marshmallow clouds polka-dotting that fine blue skied summer day.

Swoop! The plane sleekly glided, guiding the search from high above their little

Seaside town. “Whoop!” They shouted zooming up and down, down and up, over and

over, again and again as the bi-plane spiraled through its lazy loop-de-loops and the day

slowly waned. But alas, not one new child could they find to belong to.

Then suddenly just at dusk as they descended to earth for one final sweep through

the approaching darkness, a beckoning beacon of brilliant light flashed up from the

the middle of a great dark woods to surround them.

Down, down, down Angelo nose-dived the bi-plane closer to the ground. Fast,

faster, fastest it plummeted wildly through turbulence to the earth below. Oops! It

crashed into a tree, tangling them all up in its topmost bough. Whoops! Out tumbled

Angela and Angelina onto the cushioning embrace of the rescuing tree’s welcoming

branches. So there they were -- the rag doll, the teddy bear and the bi-plane. All stuck.

They had landed themselves deep in the heart of the Enchanted Midnight Forest.

“Ah, you have seen my light,” bellowed a welcoming voice. “I have been waiting

for you.” The rustling leaves of the tree bristled impatiently against the night. “But what

are you doing way up there?” it asked, untangling them from its long, leafy green

branches.

“Where are you?” asked Angelina looking about but seeing no one.

“I’m right here,” thundered the voice. “All around you.”

“Who are you?” asked Angelo.

“I am the Story Tree,” it answered. “I am caretaker for all the stories in the

whole world!” The shimmering aura of its light pulsed brilliantly through the darkness

of the forest. It’s a big job.”

“Why?” asked the rag doll and the teddy bear together.

“Because everyone is writing their own story,” the Story Tree answered. “And it

is a great responsibility taking care of them all.”

“Are we writing our own story too? Angelo asked.

“Yes,” answered the Story Tree. “Every minute of every day.”

“We’re looking for a new child to belong to,” said Angelina who was eager to get

on with their search. “Our old ones grew up and left.”

“Yes, I know. Such a sorry-ness,” pitied the Story Tree. “And that is exactly why

I have summoned you. I can help.

“Do you know where to find one?” asked the teddy bear.


“Yes. You might try looking on the other side of my Enchanted Midnight Forest,”

the Story Tree kindly suggested. My wood nymphs tell me there are quite a few

children living in the town there.”

“Can we stay with you tonight?” asked the rag doll.

“Absolutely,” boomed the Story Tree who was very pleased to be asked. “Now,

you just climb yourselves into that little bi-plane and I’ll slide you all down my trunk to

the midnight Forest floor below for a good night’s sleep before you journey on.”

So they did. Whump! Angelo and Angelina landed on the ground, hopped out of

the bi-plane, then spread out their patchwork quilt over the solid strength of the

Story Tree’s roots and beneath the sheltering umbrella of its protective branches.

Angelina stared up into the twinkling black night above. “It’s very dark here in

the Enchanted Midnight Forest, Angelo,” she sighed.

“If it isn’t dark, you can’t see the stars,” he replied.

She gazed up at the winking sky blinking back down at her. “I feel as if I’m

adrift in a sea full of stars,” she murmured dreamily. “We could go up there someday,

Angelo. You and me. We could tend our own star garden and make night flowers

bloom.”

“Someday we will, Angelina,” he answered quietly. A silence fell between

them as the Story Tree pulled the curtain of night across their dreams.

*

 

“Wake-ey, wake-eys. Time to wake up little ones,” announced the Story Tree as

the bright sun rolled itself high into the early morning sky. “It’s a fine child finding day.

Up you come, off you go,” it farewell-ed. “Carry on. Good bye.”

So up arose the two yawning adventurers. Angelo tossed the patchwork quilt into

the bi-plane and with Angelina, off they both went to find a new child to belong to.

It wasn’t until late afternoon when the two weary travelers finally trudged through

the Enchanted Midnight Forest. They had been walking now for a very long time and

stopped to rest, hidden beneath the shading branches of a weeping willow tree.

“What’s that?” The heavy black booted feet of a sinister band of hooded

woodsmen marched dangerously close to them on their way into the Enchanted Midnight

Forest, their sharp axes clanging ominously from their belts.

“This forest will suit us fine!” said one.

“We’ll chop down all these trees and build houses here,” said the second.

“Let’s start in the middle of it and work our way out,” said the third.

“So off they tramped into the Enchanted Midnight Forest on to their dark mission.

“Run back, Angelina!” screamed Angelo grabbing her arm. “We’ve got to

run back to the Story Tree and warn it! Now run, run, run and don’t stop until

we get there.

So back they fled, fleetly fleeing on wing-ed feet through the looming

darkness into the doomed Enchanted Midnight Forest as the woodsmen closed in

 

on the unsuspecting Story Tree.

But they were too late.

Crash! The woodsmen were upon the Story Tree with their axes raised at

the ready.

Neither the rag doll nor the teddy bear moved. Fear turned them into

statues. For now surely the legendary days of the Story Tree and its Enchanted

Midnight Forest had ended.

“Goodbye,” cried the Story Tree to Angelo and Angelina. And the

ominous silence of words never to be written and stories never to be told bore

 

unbearably down.

Then suddenly into that endless moment tip-toed the clear quiet voice of

 

the little rag doll. “Angelo,” she asked the teddy bear, “do you remember what

the Story Tree told us? About how we are each writing our own story?”

“Of course, Angelina.”

“We then, she said, “if we are each in this story and we are all writing it

together, why don’t we just write these woodsmen out of it and send them back to the

back they came from?”

Now the little blue bi-plane took up the gauntlet. Whoom! It revved its motor.

Schwoom! It solo-ed skyward. High, higher, highest it ascended sweeping the heaven’s

matching blueness and trailing behind it a thin, widening line of puffy white chalk. The

bi-plane was skywriting!

“In our story, the woodsmen have gone.”

And then, of course, they were.

“Good job!” the grateful Story Tree roared. “Now let’s go find you that new child

to belong to.”

So lifting aloft its topmost branch, the Story Tree grew it up, up, up into the

receiving sky. Out, out, out the branch stretched itself through the cosmos. Past planets

and across galaxies it journeyed until finally it reached the Land Beyond All Time.

And it was there that the leaves on the branch gathered one thousand ancient stars, plus

one brand new star and sent them all shooting down to the ground of the Enchanted

Midnight Forest to gently nestle their own secret enchantments.

It was just before dawn the next morning when he miraculous gift of the

Story Tree’s shooting stars finally appeared. For now, waiting to be tended by the rag

doll and the teddy bear, blossomed a magnificent star garden with one thousand night

flowers budding to bloom. And in its glorious midst sat that one brand new star, a

star child which was the Story Tree’s gift for the rag doll and the teddy bear to belong

to. And it was singing to the giver of the gift who was the gift.

 

“When I am grown, my Story Tree

 

I’ll remember the tales you’ve told to me

And I’ll tell them to all I happen to meet

When I am grown, my Story Tree.”

 


© Copyright 2017 Joan Simon. All rights reserved.

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