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Posts Tagged ‘rose’

The old man sat on the top of the hill overlooking the broad green valley below, with the undulating hills that rolled into the distance like the wide blue ocean he so loved. He was mesmerised by the meadow grass as it swayed in the breeze, intertwined with the colours of the flowers that grew here and there, and the clouds above that cast shadows that drifted across the land like a silent army of shifting shapes. A sweet perfume from the flowers filled the air and the soft sunlight warmed his fragile body as the rays shone upon his weathered face. He listened intently and as the nearby babbling brook’s crystal clear waters danced upon the pebbles beneath, and for a moment he thought he heard the familiar laughter that had been missing from this world for so long. Then as quickly as it came, so it went and now in the early evenings fading light, he wondered once again what it all was and what it had been.

As he lowered his head he thought about a small boy, a prince as a matter of fact, but not a normal prince with airs and graces, a humble one that shared what wisdom he had with any that would choose to listen. He was small and his white hair flowed over the collar of his magical blue coat, with a smile so wide that complimented his soft compassionate blue eyes that sparkled like the stars. He was surely different, but he did not see himself as different, he was just a boy that wanted to explore the world and all the wonders of which it did behold. He was in search of the greatest treasure that you could find, not  because he wanted it all, but because he hoped it was something that he could share with everyone.

In the valley below stood a tree so tall and wide, flush with the greenest leaves that danced like tiny butterflies on the breeze that blew.  It was a special tree, because like the boy it was magic and all those that climbed there were bound by trust, truth and integrity. The old man sat quietly in thought then raised his head, startled by a familiar sound, one of childish laughter that echoed from the deepest branches of the tree. As he looked closely he thought he could see a faint flash of blue then gold, with a shimmer of rainbow colors that radiated through the leaves from the last of the mobiles that hung there. ‘Could it be,’ he thought. ‘But then no, surely not, he has not been here for longer than I can remember?’ He looked harder towards the tree and as he did he heard an even more familiar sound. ” Yeeeeee haaaaww” came the cry, and with it he nearly had a heart attack as he watched in stunned amazement as the fox came hurtling down the flying fox, full of vigor, rolling and then bounding towards the tree with all the energy that would be expected from a child running wild in a candy store. Leaping high through the tall grass like a gazelle, she reached the Tree then scampered up it with her laughter reverberating out into the valley, and then she disappeared into the thick canopy before, “whoa!” came the cry as the little prince fell from the tree onto the thick patch of daisies below, just missing the Rose that was watching and laughing at the antics. He sat there and shook himself off before looking up into the tree and then he began to laugh uncontrollably. The fox peered through the branches and poked out a tongue, before jumping from the branch and then running in circles around him and the Rose, stopping now and then to stare and giggle before taking off once more like a child that had overdosed on red cordial.

The old man gave a tiny laugh to himself as he watched and remembered those days gone by. He had never believed it could be again, because for some time now the magic had seemed to be lost, faded into the deepest darkest regions of the mind, where many mysteries waited to be revealed. He continued to watch as the fox and the prince ran around the tree several more times before falling to the ground next to the beautiful red rose once more. They laughed as the three of them spoke about so many things, and it was as if they themselves had not spoken for some time. Their voices carried in the evening air as they talked about the adventures that they had shared in the times gone past, and how they had marveled at the mysteries that had unfolded like the petals of a newly formed flower, which put a smile on the face of the rose.

Time was getting away from them and as it became increasingly darker, the boy fell onto his back and scanned the sky above. He was in his element and his eyes darted from star to star looking for that flash, the twinkle that made it all extra special, and then in a moment he fixed his gaze and the smile on his face grew wide. “There,” he pointed with his tiny outstretched finger, “that one see, it sparkles like a ruby?” The old man sitting quietly on the hill was as intrigued as those sitting near the boy, and from a distance he tried to find it for himself because maybe it was what he was also looking for as well. As he tried to find the special star, silence fell over the valley and when he turned towards the Tree once more they were gone, the three were not there and there was nothing but silence. “I could have sworn, but.” He sat dejected. ‘Was it just a cruel dream?’ he thought to himself.

As he looked at the stars once more, he remembered what he had learnt, and how the light he saw now, sparkling brightly in the night sky had travelled many lifetimes for him to see.  He knew also that it was possible that any one of the stars that he looked upon now did not exist at all anymore, and that what he saw may have been just a glimpse of what once was. He scanned the sky with his weary eyes and there in the deepest darkest reaches he saw it, glowing bright red, just like the ruby that the little prince had explained. He smiled but then he felt alone again, although like the prince he thought the stars could be his friends if he truly wanted. As he sat in his loneliness he began to wonder once more what it was that he sought? ‘Was it there, and even if it was, then what was it and why does it seem to come and go?’ He pondered.

“Hello,” whispered the boy with his gentle voice. The old man turned and there in the glow of the rising moon stood the little prince, and either side of him the fox and the rose. He spun around from where he sat to face them and as he did they all smiled. The fox and the rose gave a childish giggle and he felt like he was going to faint, or maybe he was dying or, well he just didn’t know. He was so overcome by their sudden appearance that he had forgotten to say hello in return, but then they did not mind, because the look of awe on his face was a priceless gift in itself and they knew what he was thinking. As a matter of fact, they knew him very well, because he was actually a product of their vivid imaginations, sort of a father figure you could say.

They looked at him and as they did they saw deep within a touch of sadness, but at the same time a glimmer in his old eyes that spoke of hope. The little prince looked at him with the look of the most revered scholar, and he said. “You have lost something haven’t you?” he nodded and at the same time his face grew ever more puzzled, as though what he was after was even further from where he could find it than he had thought. The three of them chuckled, and looked at one another, then the little prince reached into the pocket of his blue coat with his tiny fingers and then removing his hand he held it outstretched, clasping something inside his tightened grip. “Close your eyes and hold out your hand,” he asked in an excited voice. “Go on, you have nothing to worry about.” The old man held out his hand and he closed his eyes, and with that the boy placed a small object within the large palm that lay open before him. “There, you can open your eyes now,” he said excitedly once more. As he opened his eyes, he saw a sparkling blue jewel resting in his palm, and he looked quizzically at it and then at the three friends staring intently at him as they waited for his reaction. He looked more closely at it once again and it was then that he realized it was a tiny shell, iridescent blue in color and so delicate with its spiraled cone shape unraveling before him. The stars in the velvet sky grew brighter and it was as though they had woken to see what it was that he had been given, they themselves stirred from a silent slumber.

He thanked them for the gift, but there was something in his voice that told them that whilst he appreciated it, he did not understand it. The small boy smiled and, as if the old man should of known, he explained. “It’s a special magic shell. When you want to know something you just think the question and then hold it to your ear. The answer will come from within.” The old man smiled, because he liked magic and he had been seeking the answers to many questions, answers that had eluded him for so long, but now maybe he would find them. He thought long and hard, and then he thought some more. ‘What is it I seek?’ He held the shell carefully in his worn and ragged fingers, and placed it near his ear, so carefully so as not to drop it. The sound of the wind and the ocean played a magical tune and then he heard this short but simple echo. “Happiness.” ‘Um, happiness,’ he thought. This was all too simple, but then it made sense that the one thing that he had wanted with all his words and thoughts was happiness. No matter how you looked at it that was what it was, nothing more and nothing less.

He smiled to himself and nodded his head in agreement with what he had heard, and the three friends nodded as well. The fox got up from where she was sitting and began to run around them all, once again poking out her tongue every now and again as she rejoiced at what he had found, and the Rose swayed in the breeze and giggled, whilst the little prince climbed to his feet and held out his hand in a gesture towards the old man. “But I am tired, and I just need to rest.” He said. The little prince gestured again, not one to give up so easily, and he spoke the familiar words he had so often spoken before. “I am little, but I am strong, and I am magic ,” and with that the old man reached out and he took his hand, and as he did he transformed before their eyes and before long, standing in his place was the white haired boy, no more than twelve years old, with all the stars of the universe reflected in his wide eyes. The white haired boy smiled as he carefully tucked the magic shell into his own coat pocket, and he made himself a promise, ‘that he would not grow old ever again.’ They all held hands and together they ran to the Tree, laughing and skipping, enjoying life and all its wonders, and when they reached it they climbed inside where they stared out into the sky with all the stars twinkling back at them. There they would dream and imagine as they waited for a small girl with her hair tied in pink bows and a wide smile, and a girl with ruby lips and eyes that sparkled like the sun. They knew that when the came, the circle would be complete.

The white haired boy lit the candle that had been extinguished not so long ago, as it now sat cold in the lantern that had protected it from all the ill winds that had blown. He then hung it from the highest branch so that the warming glow would let their friends know that they were there waiting. He then went to where the Book Of Dreams lay with its dusty cover telling a tale of neglect, and as he blew it clean so the words could be read, and the others all sneezed uncontrollably, which made him laugh.
He took a pen and within the pages of the Book he wrote.

The simple things in life are free,
There for those that chose to find.
And now it is I clearly see,
The happiness that fills my mind.

The words and thoughts I share with friends,
The dreams and wishes that will be.
Nothing to be fearful of,
Laid out for the world to see.

Whilst happiness I’ve always had,
It now completes my life for sure.
With each and every day I live,
To carry me forever more.

I see once more with child like eyes,
I dream the dreams that dreamers do.
Happy with the one I am,
Shared now here with all of you.

As he closed the Book, he ran his tiny fingers across its worn cover before glancing at the last remnants of the mobiles that hung above where they sat, spinning ever so gently and as he went to put it back, the fox sat bolt upright with her ears pricked and she turned to look through the tree out along the moonlit path that led from the Magic Forest. They all gazed out now and as they did, they could just make out the shapes in the ethereal glow of the moon, and the soft laughter that drifted on the night breeze was a familiar sound indeed. It was then in the moonlight that the shimmer from a pair of ladybug shoes and the glitter from the pink sparkly covered runners told them that their friends were here at last. Now they would sit quietly in anticipation of their imminent arrival, where they could be together once more, six friends in a Tree.

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He reached into the waste paper basket overflowing with the many crumpled pieces of paper, each one containing the remnants of words that had started to form stories only a short while ago. It was like reaching into a bucket of oversized popcorn, with his tiny fingers struggling take hold of more than a single piece at a time. One by one he removed the scrunched up balls and carefully un-crumpled and straightened them, running the palm of his hand over their surface. ‘No, not that one, nor that one,’ he thought. They were full of words, but not the ones that he would normally write, but then he had just spent the last few months where his focus was off the child that lived so freely inside, instead searching for words of strength, encouragement and believing, words that seemed to hold much more importance at the time of their writing.

Now as he searched, his mind drifted back to the very beginning, where words just seemed to materialize upon the paper, as if magically transformed from his wildest imagination. He was almost ready to give up all hope, when the slightest glimmer, like a distant star hidden deep amongst the other stars in the night sky, caught his eye. He carefully unwrapped it, and as he looked he realised it was not his best, but then he knew he could polish it, ‘just like a thunder egg,’ his friend would say. Yes, this was it, it was how it all began and it was how it needed to be again. As he began to read the words a smile formed on his face, because he could now see what would become.

“The young boy placed his hands on the rough bark of the tree, running his fingers over its surface. He closed his eyes, feeling every single line as he traced the shapes and imagined what it was that they were forming, the familiar shapes and faces that stirred in his mind. He thought how his senses came to life with the sounds that drifted from the distant forest with all the magic that could be found there.”

That was where the words ended, and as he sat in the illumination of the tiny lamp which he imagined was lit by a firefly, he took out a pen and he continued with the unfinished story.

As the boy continued to feel the coarseness of the tree beneath his hands, his thoughts turned into dreams and he imagined he was being carried upon the breeze, floating aimlessly at first before taking the form of a tiny dragonfly with a greater purpose. Following the path lined with daisies soft and pink like a cushion of swaying color, perfumed sweetly to stir the senses even further, he darted here and there as if searching for something. He reached the end, and hovered where the path met the forest, and as he did the soft glow of the firefly lanterns within welcomed him to venture inside. The lights formed a halo that penetrated the canopy of trees as if shielding it in a dome of light. The sweet song sounds of the fairies as they danced and played, with their tiny shadows moving rhythmically against the tree trunks were mesmerizing and this reminded him of the many stories he had told and the many that he longed to tell once more.

The child continued to run his fingers over the knotted wood of the tree trunk, and as he did his vision changed and as it did he found himself sitting quietly in the tree. There he watched as the pink butterfly mobiles, ragged and worn from the harshness they had been subjected to, began to spin, slowly at first then ever faster. The faded colors coming to brilliant life once more and sending out flickering rays of light, which made him smile and he could not help but feel that the journey he had taken had a purpose beyond the imagination that even he could not understand. One by one the butterflies took flight, free now to fly into the dark night sky, reflecting the magic of the stars above. They glistened and they sparkled as their wings fluttered, and he watched as one by one they faded into the dark distance free forever more.

As he sat and stared into the blackness of the night he thought about the words he had written, and he remembered how the words of his friend had drifted softly within the tree. He turned his head and hanging from the strand of pink glittery string like a single Christmas bauble, he saw one last butterfly. It had not left, but yet it was free to do so. He wondered and he held out his hand and it landed on his open palm, where its wings beat soft and slow. He could see the tiny words inscribed, though in the dim light he could not read them, but then maybe he did not need to. Whilst all other butterflies were ephemeral, this one was different, because this one remained as a living reminder of the many things that had been, and were yet to come.

He took his hands from the trunk of the Tree, and as he did the visions faded, and he stood silently waiting once more for his friends to arrive. ‘They would be here soon,’ he thought, and he sat patiently folding a tiny dragonfly that he may share with them when they did arrive.

As he put down the pen, and he read the story that he had just written, he smiled triumphantly. It was not magic like many others he had written before, but he could see his words once more returning. He could feel the child stirring deep inside and he knew that the time would come and soon he would write with the magic that he held so long ago. He carefully folded the piece of paper, and when he was done, he carried it to the waters edge. It was calm and cool with the sun’s light dancing on the surface as if teased by the tiny ripples, with a gentle breeze that blew softly out to sea. It was the perfect day, and as he waded into the cool clear water, he wondered once more? He carefully placed the paper boat on the surface of the water and he watched as it was carried on the current and the breeze. He hoped his friend might find it and that the words would carry her back to the Tree once more, where she would gently tie the smallest of butterflies for the entire world to see.

Only time will tell, but then he had time to wait and he believed.

The magic of words,

From the mind of a child,

From the thoughts that appear,

Imaginations run wild.

All written on paper,

And folded with care,

To sail on an ocean,

With all that waits there.

Words that will tell,

Tales of magic so true,

Words to inspire,

In whatever you do.

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He smiled as his hand swept across the paper with an even stroke, with the pen drawing the last line of intricate detail on the coarse white paper in front of him. He stepped back and admired the many shapes that had been formed, with each one intertwined to weave a delicate web of characters and objects that he had come to know so well. Their starkness spoke of the journey that had been travelled and the unknown roads that had been crossed. Yet he knew that just as with the journey that had been taken, the colors would soon embrace what could be seen and life would come to be what he now knew.

His wrinkled hand with his fingers worn and ragged, like the twigs on some old tree, had turned the pages of a book with a tenderness that only a young child could bring. Carefully he had crafted the many words that had formed in his mind, and in doing so he had brought life where before hope of life was frail. As he turned the pages once more, he recognized that there were stories untold, but he knew as well that they were now for another to carry forward. As he looked into the picture that opened out before him, the children played once more in his mind and the colors that would bring life washed over it. The blue, red and pink tones that he new so well, now reflected in his eyes of blue and the smile on his face was a priceless gift he had been given in return. The laughter and the giggling echoed through his mind, reaching beyond the hidden dimensions that lay between reality and fantasy, where only children and a few brave souls would dare to venture.

As he changed his gaze, he noticed the clouds in the sky were being bathed in the softness of pinks and reds, and as they were, shapes formed of familiar imaginings, shapes that would become another dream. He lowered his gaze once more where his eyes followed the brown earth path that wound into the distance to a cliff top, where the fading sunlight shimmered, bringing his beloved ocean to life. Across that shimmering ocean he could see the flickering of a light, where standing tall on an island the light remained as a beacon of hope for all the lost children, now protected by the lamplighter. All this time as the light from the lighthouse came and went, the soft dancing light of a single lantern burnt strong perched precariously on a stonewall, as if to signify how fragile it still was. This was the light of life itself and as the colors grew, so did the light that it exuded, painting all it touched and protecting it from the dreaded darkness that had been searching in vain for his friend.

Nearby the hard wooden swing, where his two friends had shared the deepest of thoughts, had begun to come to life. As the colors wrapped around the metal chain links, growing slowly up their length, the green leaves with roses blooming here and there took hold. In his mind he could see a small girl in a red dress as she tried with all her strength to throw away the thoughts and fears that had shackled her to the barren ground below. At the same time he smiled as he remembered the shocked ‘no’ that reverberated from the lips of a small girl with pink ribbons in her hair, when a small boy asked, ‘so was it witchcraft?’

Now the color was flowing fast, like the memories that were flooding back, and the forest in the distance came into full view. There the magic was as strong as the creatures that lived within, and they gave thanks for all they had become from a vivid mind, a child’s mind. Still, he knew that there were many more hidden places within the forest to be explored, with many more lessons to be learned. The forest had grown in the last few months, crossing the void that was once a lifeless desert, reaching now to where a single ivory tower, a place of foreboding, stood tall but crumbling as the magic of the forest had begun to grasp its harsh stone white walls.

He followed the path back to where the Tree stood strong, adorned with beautiful butterflies, ladybugs and dragonflies that danced on the breeze reflecting a rainbow of light on those nearby. He looked closely at base of the Tree where the Book Of Dreams, filled with many words, lay open for all with a clear mind to read. The book reminded him also of where it all began, with a little prince, a fox and a Rose, and as he looked around these to came to life. The laughter had grown louder, and the sounds of the children playing, mixed with the gentle roar of the ocean reminded him once more of how important it was to believe. So with that he placed one last paper boat on the ocean, sending thanks to all who have chosen to believe and have embraced the thoughts and dreams he has shared.

A flash caught his eye, and he glimpsed of the remnants of a shooting star, making one final wish. Often he would look into the sky, and from it he would take the fading life of a shooting star and give hope where hope did not exist, casting a simple wish that would give courage and believing. Some would mock him for such imaginative thoughts, but he did not falter in his resolve and stood steadfast in all he believed, and for what it was worth he would continue to believe that there is magic in ones mind that spans all known realms. As he watched the stars twinkle, he could hear children’s laughter echoing from the depths of space, and he knew that one day he too would laugh as they do, a shining light for all to see.

He turned his back on the picture that had been completed, now full of color and life, with the memories locked in place for all time. This would remain forever a testament of a child’s mind and now all those that read his words could see the visions he saw so freely flowing from his mind.

Friendship Tree High Resolution Photo to be converted-2

 

The above image was painted on commission by artist Jenni Ivins. It contains many elements of the stories posted on the blog, plus elements that are found in the story, The Little Prince.

 

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He sat within the confines of his tiny world shielded from so much by the knowledge of all that he had learned on the journeys he had taken on his own. Until now he had been responsible for himself, although at the same time he did care about others. Then things have a way of changing and sometimes destiny offers us a different path to choose and without really knowing we are drawn in a different direction, with a new future laid out before us. He pulled the collar of his magical blue coat tight around his neck and sighed. There was so much to be done, yet time did not seem to be his friend, as a matter of fact it appeared to be no-one’s friend.

It was a cold winter’s day and the sun was slow to rise, leaving the wondrous colours to linger as it raised its weary head to shine its life giving light on those that were lucky enough to greet the new day. The intensity of the orange, red and pink tones were such that they added extra warmth, just by way of the vision that it offered. Like so much in life, things changed and spring was just around the corner offering hope for new growth, and here and there the smallest of buds could be seen forming on the tender tree branches, like mischievous children trying to get an early look at a Christmas gift. The chilled air that was carried on the breeze bit into his skin with the sting of a thousand needles, and although the sunlight warmed him, it was still not quite enough to take away that chill.

He was far away from the protection that the revered Friendship Tree so often offered, and he was on a quest to find a very special something that he would share with his friends. What he searched for was magic, but it was not his magic, it was ancient magic that was borne long ago, and his journey had taken him far to a sacred forest full of more magic and mystery than he had ever come to know could be. As he entered the forest the dense canopy shielded most of the light that the winter sun had radiated, with a scattering of dead leaves and moss strewn across the path as he wound his way in. Strange sounds reverberated from the darkest corners of the forest and the strands of grey green moss that hung from the trees like old Christmas tinsel made for a very eerie sight indeed.

He walked for what seemed like forever, with each tree looking the same as the one before, and the winding path made him wonder if he was just going around in a spiralling circle. He had all but given up, when he saw a faint glow from around the next bend, and as he moved forward he was presented with a small clearing where the sun’s light had broken through the canopy of tall trees, revealing wooden monument in the shape of a large bird. He entered the clearing, and as he walked around the statue he marvelled at its detail. He stopped to read some ancient words, in a language he did not know, and something told him this was where he would find what he was looking for.

“Whooo are you?” came a voice, with a sharp then deep tone. He turned and sitting before him on a wide tree branch was an Old Owl. He stared intently as it tilted its head side to side, with its large eyes slowly blinking. “Whooo are you?” it asked again. He stood there with his mouth wide open, because he had never seen a talking owl before, and this was a sight to behold. “I am the white haired boy, and I am on a quest to find a special magic for my friends, a magic that will protect them when I am not there. The owl was silent and blinking slowly he turned his gaze to a nearby branch. The boy followed the owl’s gaze and there on the branch were a hundred tiny mobiles, spinning in the bright sunlight. The owl explained carefully to the boy, the story behind how they came to be and what power they held, and when he was finished he told him to take one for each of his friends and when the time was right, the owl told him that he would receive his gift.

The white haired boy thanked the owl and turned to go, but as he did the owl barked. “Remember these words. Your destiny is written, and when the time is right, you will finally know whooo you will truly be.” The boy did not understand, but he would always remember the words the wise old magical owl spoke. He followed the path once more, careful to retrace his steps so as not to get lost. The forest with all its dark places was less imposing now, and tiny fireflies had come to light the way. When he finally reached the place where he had entered the forest, he stopped and turned, once more thinking about the owl and all he had told him, the gifts he now held in his tiny hand and the words he had come to know.

It was late in the afternoon and he had a few hours travel before he would finally reach the Friendship Tree, and as he walked he took in all the beauty and grandeur that this world had to offer. He knew that if his life was to end, that he would have had the best time ever, helping so many and having the most wonderful friends. He had come to understand so much and in the journey this life had given him, he had gained a whole new appreciation for all life, not just his own. In time he hoped he would understand the owls parting words, but for now his mind was on his two friends.

The unfamiliar path had become familiar once more with the sweet smell of the daisy flowers and a single red rose being absorbed with every breath taken. The sound of the ocean as it rolled and crashed like thunder made him smile widely, as he now knew he was nearly there. Then as he climbed the last hill, there before him stood the valley with magic forest in the distance, and the mist from the ocean further away filling the air like tiny teardrops. The sun was setting, and the last of the clouds in the sky danced as it bathed them in reds and pinks, which made him long for his two friends even more, and become even more excited at the magical gifts he had that he would give to them. The Friendship Tree also stood before him in all its glory, evergreen, ever alive from the many words written in a book by the children that climbed it.

As he walked towards the tree, the sun said farewell for another day, and the stars began to light the night sky so as to watch over them.  A shooting star made a fleeting journey before disappearing and he cast a wish that his friends would be there to greet him when he reached the tree. As he approached in the dimming light, he could hear the sound of giggling coming from within the tree, then the soft glow of the Lantern of Life that was suspended within. He quietly climbed the tree, and as he reached his favourite branch he spied his two friends, the girl in the red dress with the ruby lips, and the girl with the pink bows in her hair and the wide smile. They did not see him as they played, making tiny folded butterflies, but then he coughed slightly and they turned to see him standing there smiling widely at them. They smiled widely back as the light from the lantern danced his shadow upon their faces.

They stood and hugged him, because they had not seen him for a few days, and he explained that he had been on an adventure, a journey to find something special. They both frowned because they loved adventures, but he told them that this adventure was only his to take. He asked them to sit down, and he told all about the mystical forest he visited and the old owl, he then gave them the magical gifts that the owl had given him. They unwrapped them, and found a tiny circle like a spiders web, with pretty beads and a feather suspended from below, they looked closely at them, in a slightly puzzled manner and he explained just as the owl did.

“The gift I have given you will protect you when I cannot. It is called a Dream Catcher. At night, your dreams are caught in its web, and only the good ones go through with the bad dreams caught so they will perish in the morning light. It is also a medicine wheel, with ancient magic and each part of its being has a meaning.” He paused as they sat intently focused on his every word. “The web represents the spider, ever repairing the eternal web of life, weaving your life dreams and energy as you sleep. The ring represents the mother earth and the humble walk we do upon her. Each bead it contains has a meaning too.”  He pointed with his finger at each one as he spoke. “Blue represents the sky, with the sun, the moon and the stars. Purple represents the inner self, with yellow representing the direction the sun rises each day, and it gives us the ability to see far beyond what is in front of us and focus on the task at hand.”

All the while he was smiling that he had remembered all that the old owl had told him, and he felt life flowing from his words. He continued once more. “Red is the wisdom of our ancestors, enabling us to grow strong with honesty, hard work, family, integrity and love. Black represents healing, but it also represents the road of self-destruction, and the lessons learnt that will guide us wisely. White represents knowledge and using that knowledge in a good way. Last of all green. This is mother earth, the one who feeds and protects us from the elements, giving all we need to live on this earth.”

They smiled and the girl in the red dress asked. “So what of the feather?” He smiled. “I was getting there. The feather represents the ability to fly close to the creator. It represents the ability to be love and to love, to take a risk and get out of the nest and to fly on your own. The ability to live beyond your shadows, and last of all once hung, the feather represents the air.” Finally he explained, “The gift I have given you represents the four elements of life. Earth, Water, Fire and Air, all the things necessary to sustain life.”

They took their gifts and hung them from the branch overhead, where they danced in the breeze. The magic they would bring to each of his friends would remain for all time. The white haired boy thought for a moment, and how it had told him he would receive his gift when the time was right. Just then, a sharp pain suddenly came to his shoulder blade, and as he removed his shirt, emblazoned on his skin was a Dream Catcher, except upon his there were three feathers, each one coloured to represent one of the three friends. He had always believed he was magic, but now the owl had bestowed upon him an ancient power which he would use wisely to protect all that he knew. He always had belief, and he hoped his friends would truly believe as well.

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She sat staring through the thick glass that separated her from the world she so loved to explore. The hard mattress on which she lay, with its stark white sheets, devoid of the colors that for so long filled her life with happiness, seemed fused to her body like a leaden coat. As she looked on, the sun rose and painted the wispy clouds that drifted aimlessly in pink and red hues. It had been so long since she had ventured from the confines of her room with its plain pale walls that held her like a prisoner in a tower she remembers from not long ago.

Outside, upon the cold window ledge, obscured from her view sat a single blue dragonfly, with its iridescent wings gleaming in the glow of the morning sun. It sat staring at her intently as she stirred, and a tear formed in his eye, before falling upon the ground below. Upon his back he carried a bright red ladybug, which whispered in his ear, “she looks so sad.” He nodded as only dragonflies can and turned to look at her as a tear also formed in her eye. He gently flapped his wings and raised themselves to where they could be seen. The sunlight reflected in the girl’s eyes and a tiny smile fell upon her face, but she was tired, and as the smile fell away so she drifted off to sleep.

Shortly a pale butterfly landed on the sill, and the dragonfly lighted down momentarily. The butterfly, so weak and frail, climbed upon his back, where the ladybug took her hand and gave her a smile. Ever so gently he turned and taking off they flew into the sun’s gleaming light with the warmth that bathed them offering respite from the chill that the morning air had brought. The butterfly knew not where they were going, and the anticipation of the journey was far greater than each day she had spent alone outside the room. In the morning light they moved swiftly, until the smell of salt air and the sounds of distant waves could be heard as they rolled upon the sandy shore.

They landed carefully on the waters edge, and as if by magic, three children now stood staring as the light danced upon the water before them, as if inviting them to play. The sound of rough pebbles reverberated from beneath their feet, and as they looked down they noticed they were standing amongst a treasure trove of the tiniest shells. They sat in a circle facing one another, each lifting and inspecting the most wonderful shells they could find and placing only the best in their tiny pockets. Each selected four shells to keep, and as they did they showed the others what it was that they had found. The girl with her hair tied in pink bows smiled as if she had not been on an adventure for ages, and as the other girl brushed the sand off her red shoes, she smiled, because she knew it had been too long, but that magic had brought them here.

The boy in the long blue jacket smiled at his two friends as he watched them sharing what they had found. He took his shells and gave them to the girl as she straightened her braces on her pink overalls, and the girl with the ruby red cheeks did the same. “Our gift to you, in memory of the times that were, and will now be once more.” She smiled in return, which was a greater gift in itself. “Come now, we must leave,” suggested the boy. “Time is of the essence and there are things to do, places to go.” They looked at him with sadness in their eyes, because they were enjoying this moment like so many before, from long ago, but they somehow knew he was right, as he usually was. He took their hands and they closed their eyes, then in a moment Angelica woke, with her tired eyes adjusting to the dull light once more. She took a breath, and then blinked in thought, as the smells that had filled her day were no longer apparent, replaced by a familiar scent from many days past. As her eyes adjusted, the special chair that she had bought many years before formed its shape before her eyes.

This was her room, her home, her sanctuary. Had it been a dream, had it all been a dream? No, it was not all a dream, she still felt the discomfort that had accompanied her over the last two weeks, but she was truly home. She gazed around the room, and on the bedside table she saw a heart shaped box, stained glass with a Rose and a Dragonfly intricately woven within its colorful glass pattern. She lifted it carefully, and as she opened it she saw twelve tiny shells, exactly as they had appeared in her dream. A tear formed in her eye, because not only was she home, but the magic of dreams had come true. She glanced up, as a flash of light reflected through her window. There she saw a bright blue dragonfly, a red ladybug, and the most majestic pink butterfly all hovering outside. She strained with the pain she still carried and climbed out of her bed, slipping her feet into her golden slippers that sparkled like her friends eyes. She shuffled her way, slightly hunched to the window, just in time to see them fly away.

As she stared out the window into the broad backyard that lay before her, with the golden glow of the sunrise bathing it with its warmth, she thought for a moment that she caught a glimpse of blue, and red, and the flicking tail of a red fox she had met once before, all running towards a large tree that now grew where it had not before. As she thought to herself she heard the echo of childish laughter from behind the hedge row, and the familiar, whoooooo hooooooo, yeeeeeee haaaaaaw, weeeeeeeeeee, that she had heard so often before. She smiled and gave a little laugh of her own, because she was home and she knew once again that she was surrounded by the magic that had so filled her life with joy.

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The white haired boy stood alone on the water’s edge, staring out across the sea with its pale blue water and not a single ripple upon its mirror like surface. The clouds overhead were drifting like wisps of the finest cotton, stained in pinks and reds, draped carefully across the sky as the sun set upon the distant horizon. Their colours reflected within the water so still and the surreal vision stirred his mind, as did much that life had to lay before him. The tranquil sounds of a single eagle calling turned his head and for a moment he thought of the loneliness he had afforded himself in times gone past, and how those times had changed so, now that his friends were a part of his life.

More recently he remembered how the darkness had formed and threatened to alter what he had come to know, challenging his visions of the future and all that it held. He was magic, but then sometimes he wondered, because whilst he believed, he did not know if others did as well. Over the last weeks he had set afloat several paper boats, each sent out with a message of hope and a little magic, and as he watched, the tiniest white object could be seen in the distance being teased by the softest breeze, barely breaking the water’s surface. As it came closer, he could see it was battered and worn, yet it had weathered the storm. It was indeed the very first one sent and as he lifted it from the water with the tiny droplets shattering upon his feet as he stood, he noticed some new words written upon it, the message that was written read “All is well.” He smiled widely because he knew somewhere his friend was smiling too and as he turned his back on the ocean he so loved, and the soft light that the last of the evening sun played upon all it touched, he sent a thought for his friend. He made his way to the tree and his other friend whom he loved so dearly, to tell her the news.

The path was well worn and easy to follow, especially for a young boy whose mind was always so full of adventurous thoughts, and as he walked a single dragonfly, iridescent blue with rainbows bouncing off its wings flew close by as if watching over his journey. As he made his way through the magic forest, which had begun to stir with the faeries and elves preparing for some fun and frolicking on this night, he saw a tiny light with a glow soft, yet intense. It was a firefly and it flew erratically, then its light faded which left him thinking of how right now, the message returned upon the paper boat had dissolved his worries and sadness. He continued along the path, then he stopped, transfixed at where the forest ended and the field which led to the tree began. There, dancing in the moonlight he spotted a little fox, much like the one his friend had brought back to life not long ago when the tiniest liquid diamonds were formed, and a single red rose grew. The rose could still be seen near the fox and her celebrations were as if in thanks for what it meant to her. He remained quiet watching intently and before long the fox paused, and gave a quick glance in his direction, before smiling as only a fox can then disappearing into the wheat field nearby.

He had to tell his friend the news, and sooner than later, after all she had been as worried as he was, so he moved on quickly. When he reached the Tree she was waiting, and she eagerly poked her head through the branches enquiring. “So, do you have any news yet or do I need go search for myself.” The red ribbons that tied her hair dangled in front of her face and she blew them so she could see. She was impatient, but then she loved her friend in the pink overalls and he knew she had been as worried as he had been. He nodded his head in acknowledgement and she nearly fell from the branch as she went to clap her hands in excitement. He climbed the Tree and sat beside her, with the tiny butterfly mobiles spinning memories that filled the Tree and their minds. He unfolded the paper and he read to her the simple words that the message contained. She smiled at the words, because she knew that the first part of their little friends’ journey was completed. There were many more roads to travel and many twists and turns that hid from view all that the future still held, but now they knew for sure that they and the thoughts of many others would carry her and protect her from the darkness and its steely cold grip.

He thought carefully and wrote down these words in the Book of Dreams.

 

Today I found a paper boat,

Sailing on the silver sea.

A wish I’d sent some time ago,

Came back once more to me.

 

A thought contained on paper fine,

The magic wrapped within.

Woven with a tiny hand,

Where hopes and dreams begin.

 

A journey long that has begun,

As journeys often do.

Except this time it will be shared,

By many not a few.

 

So as we travel understand,

We’re with you all the while.

And all we ask for in return,

Is the gleaming of your smile.

 

Together they now sat wondering when they would see their friend once more, and as they did, the soft giggling echoed from the distance, followed by what sounded like a ‘Yeeee Haaaaw’. She was near, and they would meet soon, they just knew it.

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The white haired boy followed the long and winding path with its white pebble surface crunching under each footstep taken like the sound of rice bubbles at breakfast. The soft pink daisies that lined the path, with the deep red roses scattered here and there with their heady perfume made the journey pleasant to say the least and the sunshine added a warmth that was life giving. He had only walked this path several times before, but in a desperate attempt to find his little friend he travelled it once more listening intently for the smallest sound of giggling in amongst the bird song that echoed from the trees all around him.

As he ambled further along the path it grew cold like winter with an icy chill in the air that stung his lungs as he breathed, with the warmth within now forming steamy breaths as he exhaled. When he looked down, he noticed the pebbles had turned from white to dark, and the daisies and roses were gradually disappearing or withering where they had once grown strong. He listened again for the familiar giggling, except now it was in the stillness of the air, which was no longer filled with the happy sounds of the singing birds. He rounded the final bend in the path and he stopped mid stride as the remnants of the beautiful secret garden unfolded before his eyes. A tear began to form, and as he walked amongst what was left, lifeless and cold, he could hear the gentle sobbing from the furthest reaches of the garden. He moved quietly past the statues that lay toppled on the ground around him, and then in a moment he saw her. There on the rusted see-saw he found her sitting and staring into the last soft pink cloud which was floating aimlessly in a now dark and imposing sky. Her overalls were worn and her ragged pink bows dangled from her hair, and she was looking tired and worn out with her ashen face drained of all that she once was.

She had not seen him and he watched as she tried in vain to make the see-saw work, pushing off with her tiny feet, rising just a little and then falling back down once again. No matter how hard she tried, the see-saw just would not work. With a soft grunt, she gave one last desperate try before she gave up, and then she bowed her head into her hands and cried. She was strong, but it was obvious this was too much and he felt sad for her, but he knew what he could do. Quietly he walked by her and without her knowing he took hold of the other end of the see-saw in his tiny hands. He whispered “are you ready?” and with that she lifted her head and with a surprised look she gave a broad smile. He pulled down on the timber seat and climbed on board. Ever so gently they pivoted, perfectly balanced. He smiled and then he explained.  “You know I have been searching for you, don’t you?” He asked in a soft tone, with a welcoming smile. She shook her head gently, at the same time bowing down and replied. “But I thought I could do this on my own, and I didn’t want to bother you.”

He smiled at her kind of sheepishly and shook his head. “You know I told you that I would help, but then I guess I knew you would try to do this on your own first.” She looked back and smiled, because she knew he was right, and sometimes she was just too proud look for help, but then he understood, because sometimes he did the same. “Well I am here now, so I guess we better get to it? Are you ready?” She nodded excitedly and as he pushed with his feet, the see-saw gently rocked upwards and as it did the rusted hinge creaked as if mimicking the words, see-saw, see-saw. Then, up she went and with each movement the sun began to break through. The clouds had begun to clear with the sun shining on where they sat, and as they continued the see-saw began to free itself from the rust that had bound it and the tired squeaking noise no longer could be heard. Around them, the flowers began to come to life, with their perfume so delicate and sweet. He spoke to her about all the amazing things they had already seen and the many amazing things that were yet to come. The many times they would play with their friends and the adventures the four of them would have together. His words filled her mind and her tired body gradually came to life with the smile on her face telling of the joy she had once again shared with her friend. He believed he was magic, but more importantly, she knew he was. His softly spoken words were like air and water, and when he spoke she came even more to life.

           “My friend, I had so worried that you had disappeared, but somehow I knew where you would be. You are strong, but with your friends you are stronger. We are all here for you and we will share this journey together as four, never alone as one.” She nodded in understanding, because sometimes she just needed reminding. Sometimes we all just need those that care to remind us of the simplest things that would need never be said between friends, but at the same time don’t hurt to be all the same. The garden was once again restored to its glorious beauty, and full of life. Then in a while they could hear footsteps moving ever so quickly on the path leading to the garden and the sounds of laughter and voices as well. They stopped, sitting now quietly, and they looked intently in the direction of the entrance to the secret garden where the girl in the red dress came running in, and alongside her was the boy with the long dark hair with that special twinkle in his eye for the girl in the pink overalls. They ran and hugged her, because they too had been searching. The white haired boy looked on, with a smile in his mind, because he knew one day that this would make a special story to be told a retold when everything is good and well. Here they were all together once more, all sharing the same journey on the same path, on one amazing adventure together, with many more to come.

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