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Posts Tagged ‘tale’

Sometimes in life the paths that are laid out before us twist and turn with no discernable end in sight and even worse, where they lead is often not fully understood. Even for a grownup the choices can be daunting to say the least. So how is it that a small child faced with what she feels is such an overwhelming task begin to navigate what is needed to be done, and at the same time remain positive about the outcomes.

It was a warm summer’s afternoon, and as the clouds meandered across the deep blue sky, with the shapes shifting like desert sands to bring them to life in his vivid imagination, the small boy sat and waited just as he had done so for many months now. Strands of his long white hair dangled across his face, with the gentle breeze flicking them to life like a puppy dogs tail wagging across his wide blue eyes. He had seen so much in his short life, and as he sat patiently he wondered about the many dreams he had seen and how much there was that may yet come to pass, and at the same time he wondered whether or not he still had the magic that had been so prevalent in the past. As he looked along the branch on which he sat, he stared at the vacant space that would long ago have been taken by his friend with her hair tied so neatly in pink bows, and a giggling laughter that came with some of the silly stories they shared. Overhead were suspended the sparkling dragonfly mobiles that he had continued to hang in recent times, which danced upon the slightest breeze and created rainbow reflections on the soft green leaves that surrounded them. Nearby were the last of the tiny butterflies that his friend had hung, and although few would read them, he kept them alive by blowing a gentle breeze of kind words upon them so that they too would spring to everlasting life. He had been told that butterflies were ethereal, but then he knew differently, and he believed that they could be whatever a young inspired mind chose them to be.

In the distance the Magic Forest had become quiet, and he had not visited it in a long while as he explored newfound places full of all sorts of wonderful adventures. Although in the evening the light still radiated from within, it had become dimmer and the soft sweet sounds of the faeries as they celebrated the life they lead had become subdued as if muffled by an ever-present force. He looked closely at the rough bark on the tree trunk that he had laid his back against and he thought about how it looked like a finger print that made it stand out amongst all other trees.

“Hello,” called a familiar voice in a slightly desperate tone. He sat bolt upright from where he rested against the trunk of the Tree, at first wondering if he had fallen asleep, but then it came once more, with even greater desperation. “HELLO, are you in there, it’s terrible?” she shouted as she caught her breath. She stood at the base of the Tree puffing and panting and then she looked deep into the leaves, just in time to see him peer through with his wide smile, and she too formed a smile upon her face for a brief moment before being replaced by a desperate look of a confused little girl. He could not hide his excitement that she had come to the Tree once more, and as she stood below, he beckoned her to climb so that they could sit and talk, but she shook her head, before turning to look along the path she had just run down. He sensed the urgency now in how she had reacted and with a concerned voice he asked. “What’s wrong, why the look of dismay?” She was beginning to catch her breath, and at the same time she was trying to blurt out the many words that were needed, but in the end all she could simply say was, “it’s dying.” He looked at her rather questioning and asked, “what’s dying, what are you talking about?” She turned once more and still puffing she pointed the tiny finger on her outstretched arm in the direction of the Forest.

He swung down from the branch on which he sat, and by this time she had already began to lead the way along the lush grass covered path lined with soft pink and red flowers that swayed in the wash of breeze as she ran past. He chased after her and before long he was just behind her and as they neared the forest, he could see why it was she had shown the concern she had, as the wide path tapered into a dark tangled mess of blackberry brambles, which twisted and turned and made any further journey almost impossible. They entered the forest and as they wound their way along the tight path, tiny butterflies and dragonflies could be seen caught, now lifeless upon the sharpened thorns that adorned the long strands that reached out to catch even the most unsuspecting of creatures. She shed a tear, and at the same time he also felt sadness at what he now saw. Even more so he felt a great weight upon his shoulders, because had he have taken the time and shown a greater concern, it may well be that this had never even got this way. ‘Off on adventures of less importance,’ was the thought that went through his mind, ‘if only I had not neglected something that had been such an important part of the life I led.’ Very little light penetrated the matted, thorny vines, and here and there rats and mice ran, terrorising the creatures that usually called this place a home. As they reached the centre of the Forest, the heart of its being, the twisted tangled mess was still evident, but so were signs that a fight had begun. The faeries had been hard at work, and although they had begun, it was very clear that they needed help. The statues that had been placed here long ago were slowly being uncovered, and the sunlight penetrated the depths from above.

They made their way back to the beginning and stepped out from where they had entered, emerging from the dim light of the forest into the evening light that had begun to paint itself across the land, with a soft pink glow penetrating only slightly into the twisted tangled entrance. With a puzzled look upon her face she whispered as if not wanting to let anyone else know, “It’s bad isn’t it, what are we going to do?” The small boy sat quietly on the edge of the path and pondered. He looked up at her worried face, then suggested, “We could poison it and do the same with all the rats and mice.” I know it will work, I have seen if done so many times before. She nodded at first, but as a pink butterfly landed on her arm, and a dragonfly landed on a nearby flower she hesitated and then she thought. “But what about everything else that lives there, the trees, the small creatures, what will happen to them?” A vision formed in his mind of the dead and desolate state that the forest would become as if it were foretelling the future, with the indiscriminate bombardment that method would entail, and at the same time the damage it would do to all the creatures that relied on this place as a home, and for the food that would sustain them. “You are right, and I have seen it so often before, and in its depleted defenceless state, the brambles will return and they will thrive where before they grew but were at least able to be contained.”

They sat quietly once again, staring into the distance across the wide expanse of the distant wheat field. There a single fox leapt as it ran, enjoying the freedom that sometimes being alone gave, and seeing this the boy remembered and smiled, because he had another idea. He looked at the small girl and smiled and she returned his look wondering for just a moment what had come into his mind. “How strange it is that something so obscure could mean so much?” She looked at the fox and was perplexed with what it may have meant, what it was he saw. Then he went on to explain, without trying to confuse her. “Remember a book you once asked me to read? One about a little prince?” She smiled as she remembered, but then she was still a little confused, so he went on to explain. “In the story, the little prince wanted a sheep, and that in turn got me thinking about something I had seen recently. It was about goats and how they can be put to use because they eat brambles like chocolate.” She smiled because she liked sheep and chocolate, the organic kind mind you, but she was a little unsure about goats? “So what we do is, we get a flock of goats and we set them free in the forest. They will eat all the brambles and their digestive system actually kills all the seeds so that the brambles don’t come back. Nothing else is destroyed in the process.” She clapped her hands gleefully and then he went on to explain that once the brambles are gone, the owls and other birds that that live in the forest will take care of the rats and mice, so everything will be restored to its natural beauty and balance. She was so excited by what he had said and she could not wait to put the plan into action.

They found a farmer and brought a flock of twelve goats, each of them healthy and strong, and within days they had begun to clear a path through the Magic Forest once more. Time flew and in six weeks the brambles were gone and the owls and other birds had decimated the rat and mice population. With this the faeries rejoiced and the two friends watched on with glee, as they sang and danced to merry tunes. Now the forest was back to its natural state and the white haired boy set the goats free to roam the fields and live a happy life. One single goat with long white hair remained as if at home in this wonderful place and it would ensure that if for any reason the brambles tried grow again, it would dispatch them without a further thought.

The two friends now sat in the Tree on the branch of old and they thought back to a day not long ago when a fearful child came looking for help. In the fading evening light they smiled at what they had achieved and how the choices that were made were done so for the better of all. They thought how over many years grownups had sought the quickest options to deal with life issues on a daily basis, and how greatly that had impacted on so much that was now wrong in this unfortunately ever changing world. Long ago before all the quick fixes that now exist, things used to just fix themselves and what two children did was prove that for fact. “So I guess my friend that we have learnt something new, but at the same time we believed in what can be, and the outcome was more than wonderful.” Despite all her fears the small girl now understood much more about herself and the trust she had in her own life choices. The white haired boy would continue to grow strong and share his strength and magic. He too would continue to believe, and as a matter of fact he would never stop believing. Just for good measure, a shooting star raced across the night sky, and instead of fading it burst with a flash of colour, sending a resounding laughter from the stars, through the valley, and in the distance, dancing in the glow, the fox could be heard to call, Yeeeee Haaaaw.

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“You never signed up for this,” she explained as she tried to make him understand the full extent of her predicament. He looked at her in a puzzled manner, and not knowing whether to nod or shake his head, he began to reply. “But I …..”. She stopped him and as the breeze tossed his long white hair, she paused for a moment, before she continued to explain. “I’ve been here before and it is not nice, as a matter of fact it is too much at times even for me to comprehend.” He listened to all she had to say, telling of a myriad of treatments and side affects, not to mention what the future may hold for her. The look on his face was one of sadness as all that she said began to sink in, but then for a moment he began to smile. She looked at him with her eyes all scrunched up, and an expression that in some way questioned how it was that he found the situation so funny or how it could be that he was happy. He knew what she was thinking, but then his outlook on life was always a positive one, where believing in yourself was so important, so he very quickly explained.

He looked in her direction and then he began to speak. “Did I ever tell you I was magic?” She looked at him and wondered, then she sat listening intently as he explained some more. “Do you know what magic is?” She nodded her head so that her pink bows bounced. “It is like pulling a rabbit from a hat, or making something disappear, isn’t it? I like magic.” He shrugged his shoulders and he continued. “Well, it is sort of but, that is more of an illusion than magic. You see magic is something more, it is believing when others may doubt, it is not an illusion, it is something special” He knew right now she was more confused by all that had happened to her and how it was she had come to be where she was once more. So in the fading light he began to weave his words. He told her stories full of hope, he painted pictures in her mind that only a crafted imagination could weave, and as he continued so his words became like air and water that would give her the strength to believe in herself. When he was done, she smiled and she understood that with the complexities that had filled her mind she would navigate what lay ahead and she would make the choices she needed for the right reasons.

She looked at the white haired boy as he sat staring into the distance in deep concentration, and then she posed a question that she wondered if he would ever be able to answer. “The future.” He broke from his thought and turned, “huh?” “The future, what does it hold for me?” His gaze turned towards the dark sky above, sprinkled with a million or more stars and he carefully pondered his answer before he explained. “I will be there one day, somewhere there,” pointing with the finger of his outstretched hand towards a coloured smudge across the darkness. “We will all be there and it will be amazing because we will get to look down on all these wonders that we can only dream of seeing now.” She heard him but then she still did not know. “What about me? What is my future?” He smiled as he looked at her once more, then he clarified his observations. “You will be there too, but not yet, not for a long time. I see that you have much to teach and much to learn with a lifetime to go before you that is yet to be fulfilled. She smiled again, almost relieved at what he had told her, and she felt more assured, more at ease than ever. “So do you believe?” He asked excitedly. She nodded, hesitantly at first but then with the confidence that made him smile.

She realised that as her friend  he felt no burden, he understood what it was that he had signed up for. As a matter of fact it had not been her choice, her request, but his because that was what true friendship was to him. He would offer his words, his encouragement so that she would remain strong, never to stop believing, and as she took this journey she would grow to know what it was that lay ahead for her. It would never be easy, but she would survive and her story, one day written, will tell a tale that was against all odds.
The stars will shine tonight, and every night to come, and each time she looks into the sky she will hear the laughter of the children that look down upon her sending their wishes her way.

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He stood overlooking the rolling valley in the soft evening light, with the Tree bathed in the glow of the sun’s golden rays. His long blue coat with its polished buttons flapped in the breeze, gently tapping on his legs like a small child seeking his attention, with the buttons making a tinkety tink. As he studied all that lay before him, he watched as the wheat field swayed like the surface of the ocean with an ever changing texture. He glanced in the direction of the Tree and as he looked closer he thought he saw with his tiny eyes a glint of light as it reflected from within the Tree, and as he concentrated harder he could hear the smallest sound of laughter echoing from within. ‘No, it can’t be,’ he thought to himself, but there it was again, ‘surely not?’ Excitedly he ran through the wheat field, nearly falling as his tiny legs almost lost all control as he leaped and bounded on his way, and when he finally stood at the bottom of the Tree, he waited and he listened intently. The laughter was still there, but it had become weaker, almost more distant as if fading into obscurity far from the deepest reaches of his imagination as if drifting away from where it had begun.

He climbed the Tree to where he would usually sit and once inside he gazed around, but there was not a single soul to be found, not a sign that anyone had been here in the last while. He bowed his head and he wondered, then as the breeze blew through the dangling green leaves he heard it once more. He turned then looked overhead and there he noticed the familiar sight of a mobile with the remnants of shattered butterflies suspended precariously from the fragile pieces of string. As it wavered in the light he saw one final in tact butterfly, the last one hung from a rainbow coloured string and as it span in the breeze so the softest laughter could be heard. He thought to a time not long ago and he remembered this one, the rescue one, the one that had sacrificed all to search for the small boy that had drowned in all his sorrow and self-pity, the one that told of the lengths to which friends will go for one another. He approached it cautiously, with the light reflecting like a kaleidoscope from its silken wings and as he did so it fell, and with an outstretched hand he grasped and held on tightly so that it would not disintegrate on the barren ground below as so many others had.

Held now tightly within his tiny palms, he could see that whilst it was the same one, there was now more. Its words told of misfortune and despair, joy and suffering and waiting for the joy once more, but how could he be so sure, was that the laughter mingled with a sadness? He thought long and hard, and then he climbed down from the Tree, planting his feet firmly on the desolate earth below with a tiny puff of dust as he landed. He stepped away from the canopy that shielded him, and as he stood there with the hum of the night echoing he looked deep into the night sky. He reached out and grasped a small piece of the delicate velvet that spanned the sky which in turn held the many stars of hope in his vision and then he clenched his fist and took a piece in his hand. He made a soft velvet bag and he placed the delicate butterfly within mingled with just a few stars for protection, and as he did it began to stir before he closed the bag tightly. In the distance the light radiated from the magic forest and the faintest sounds of the faeries and elves carried upon the breeze to where he stood, their songs drawing him towards them. He trod the path of fortune that he had travelled so often before and as he reached the forest he watched in wonder as the small ones danced and sprinkled their magic dust upon the ground around them. He watched in amazement as everywhere it landed tiny flowers grew, in pinks and reds and blue, and dragonflies flitted carefree here and there. ‘Was this life giving, did it really have the magic he had come to find?’ he thought to himself. He thought no more and he quickly gathered some of faerie dust and he placed it inside the black bag alongside the butterfly mobile and stars, and as he did so the butterfly began to stir to life with its delicate wings fanning slowly like the beat of a tiny heart, which brought a smile to his face.

His soft blue eyes sparkled in the moonlight as he stood looking out from where the forest met the wheat field once more, and he watched as a fox danced in the moon’s glow. He sat quietly, unseen, admiring the enthusiasm with which she moved, full of life, full of believing, not a care in the world. Then as he looked on a flash of light raced across the sky, exploding like a firework and sprinkling hundreds of tiny stars across the land and like little diamonds they sparkled here and there and he searched through the field gathering each and every one of them adding them to his magical collection. Everything inside the bag now glowed bright and strong and the energy it contained was stronger than any he had made before. All this time with his concentration so intense on his task, he did not see that the fox had stopped and was looking on with a smile on her face, because she understood who he was and what it was he was seeking. He had nearly filled the bag but he wanted more, so he looked to the sky and his favorite constellation of Orion where stars are born, and he reached deep into it with his mind. With his imagination he gathered up a handful of the brightest ones that would shine like only a candle could shine, and he placed them into the bag as well.

With his prize held firmly, he made his way back to the Tree and he climbed inside with the silence all around him. There was still no sign that any one had been there and he wondered if they ever would again, but then maybe there was still time? He went to the Book of Dreams and he tore out some of the blank pages it contained and placed them inside like tiny blank butterflies waiting to be filled with words, then he took a single piece and put it in his coat pocket. Before he closed the bag to protect all that it contained, he made a tiny dragonfly.

 

Believing in the one you are,

Thoughts that give you strength and hope,

Words that carry you away,

At times when you don’t think you’ll cope.

 

Laughing in the morning sun,

Crying in the midday rain,

Then smiling at the stars that shine,

Because like you they’ll shine again.

 

For each and every star that falls,

A wish awaits for you to make,

A dream come true in times to come,

With every little step you take.

 

The stars you hold within your hands,

Are gathered there for you to see,

So even in your darkest hours,

You will pull through it’s your destiny.

 

He finished and put this into the bag, and then he placed his hand into a hole in the solid trunk of the Tree, searching with his tiny fingers, and when he removed it he was holding a small candle, like the light of life to be shared, to glow when the darkness was at its worst, a reminder of all that life is and ever will be. His treasure was now complete, the magic was captured, and now he placed the bag where his friend would usually sit with her pen and paper in hand and then he turned, but before climbing down he made a wish. It was a wish he would not share, but a wish just the same, a wish upon the star that he had seen earlier and had waited to use. He climbed down from the Tree with its rough-hewn bark and as he stood there, all was silent. The forest was asleep and the fox was gone, but as he always knew, the stars still shined, they would always shine, they would always smile and their laughter would be heard by all those that believed. He knew his friend believed just as he did, and he only hoped that his gift could give her the strength that his words had so often given before. Only time would tell, but like before he truly believed and he would never let any other thought cross into the enquiring mind of the child she was, and that one day she would realise her wildest dreams.

He sat now by the ocean blue, with his bare feet resting in the cool waters as if drawing from the magic that it offered. He took the piece of paper from his jacket pocket and he folded it carefully into the most wonderful of paper boats, and then he added some words of hope, of believing. In the moonlight, he watched as it set sail as so many had before in search of a dream. He had sprinkled this with some of his magic, yes his. He thought he was magic, no, he knew he was magic and his words would always be like air and water, they would always speak of all the positive things that life has to offer and they were there for all those less fortunate than he, all those that needed a helping hand. That was who he was and always would be and his happiness was found in the happiness that he gave to others, the most wonderful of gifts that costs nothing but a simple smile. He would wait here until this paper boat returned and he would hope that his friend would find the gift he left for her. Now as he sat quietly, the stars smiled down upon him and he smiled back, and the colours of the Milky Way glowed in reds and pinks, with just a touch of cobalt blue smudged across, intermingled amongst the stars. He laughed, and they laughed to. Yes life was a wonderful thing.

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Tale: Lost

The small boy sat in the confines of his own little world with confusion all around him. In the space of twenty four hours he had travelled through the outmost reaches of his mind and back again, and now he had never been so unsure. Words had come and gone like the sun and moon, but instead of light and happiness, they offered just a bitter taste for those that would write and read them. Where once flowers bloomed in the soft sunlight, now only the withered leaves on crooked stalks remained with the beauty of what had been long gone, colours faded like a weathered tapestry hung out to air, but forgotten. As the intricate details had been painted on the canvas that was his life, so they had just as quickly washed away, one by one fading into oblivion, to not become even a distant memory. He fought back the tears that formed in his bright blue eyes that until now had seen so clearly. Instead, where there was once a sparkle like the stars that filled the night sky, there was only darkness.

He now walked a different road, devoid of what he had come to know, with the magic that he had woven so often before now no more than an illusion, and not even a good illusion at that. For all that he had done, he now felt that he had let others down tenfold and his punishment was to walk forever more in the shadow of his memories. If only he could take back all the words and just replace them with a clearer understanding of what had truly been. Even now time seemed to stand still and the future remained an unknown that he feared more than anything he had feared in his life, even more fearful than death that he had seen and chased away time and again. He stared into the deep blue sky with its many clouds forming shapes that he no longer understood, at the same time he wondered if he himself was any more or just an apparition of a wild, delusional mind.

‘If only I could take back all that had been cast out for the world to see, I would do it in a heartbeat, I would accept whatever punishment awaited me just to change all the bad to good,’ he thought. Time was not his friend now, but he wished that forgiveness was easier to come by than he had seen, where misunderstandings are understood and eyes would see so clearly. But could that ever possibly be? In the chilled wind that blew, he huddled in silence listening for the faintest sign of life, of hope. Birds sang sweetly, and their songs were carried on the stiff breeze like the heady perfume of the flowers that no longer lay like a carpet before him. He stood mesmerised by the thoughts that now flooded from his mind and like a child grasping in the mist at some figment of the imagination, he watched as it all slipped through his tiny fingers. He turned his back on all he had come to know and understand as he prepared to journey now into the unknown realms of obscurity, falling, spiralling out of self control into the cold dark sea.

He struggled to take a breath as he fought to keep himself afloat, whilst all around him others watched on without a worry or a care. ‘How can this be?’ he thought as he tried in vain to reach out for familiar hands that may rescue him, pull him from the stormy seas that he had now been swept into, but they were gone. “Why is it that only I understand?” He shouted, in a last desperate attempt to be heard. “Can no one see me here, does no one care?” He uttered, as his voice faded, before he took that one last breath, and was pulled into the water’s cold depths, lost, to never be seen again.

Some say that if you listen carefully, you can hear his cries in the songs of the whales and dolphins as they travel carefree across the oceans blue. Others say his form drifts with the tides like a tiny paper boat, waiting for the day that he may come home once more, forgiven for all that he had done wrong, and for the wrong doing of others that he had taken full responsibility for. Until then, the stars that filled the night sky would offer those that had known him a token gesture in his memory if they so chose, but then like a shooting star he could be forgotten in the blink of an eye.

Lost inside the mind of a child,
Where the dreams that formed now drift away,
Gone with the stormy winds that blow,
Never to be seen again.

A faded distant memory,
Of all the things that came to be,
Banished to the waters deep,
From eyes it hides no longer seen.

Stars that twinkle in the night,
Reflecting now on waters clear,
Where sails the fragile paper boat,
Words all written true and clear.

Rescue me for I am lost,
Guide me with the light of life,
Burning in a lantern strong,
In the darkness of the night.

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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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It was quiet and calm, or was that what he saw within his mind as he pondered so many things that had come to be? Gradually the sounds of birds filled the air with their songs, and he broke free of the trance that had contained him for a while now. As he did many things began to come to light, taking shape more clearly before him until he finally woke from the depths of where he had been.

The small boy sat on the beach amongst the pebbles with their rough-hewn texture from the many years of exposure to the wind and waves, which had left them looking like small pieces of black honeycomb. He marveled at the many brightly colored shells of all shapes and sizes that lay intermingled with the pebbles, which formed a rainbow carpet around him. He was alone on the beach and it was as if he was sitting upon a cloud looking down onto the earth below, where its canvas of life magically opened up for him to see. On the distant waters edge, strands of seaweed lay tangled, intertwined in a longing embrace that reached out for what seemed like forever into the fading distance. The water was cool and clear, and the small waves gave a swoosh and then a tiny dying roar as they rolled ever so gently onto the sand and across the pebbles once more, rolling and tumbling them like marbles tinkling as they tapped upon one another. Except for the tiny ripples that intermittently travelled upon the surface, the water was soft and smooth, almost like a mirror reflecting the clouds above.

He looked up to the sky, which was dark and foreboding, where the clouds drifted like cotton candy upon the breeze, forming shapes that would stir a young boys imagination. From time to time they would clear, allowing the sun to break through and dance its golden rays upon the water leaving tiny diamonds reflecting off the surface as if it were a treasure otherwise unseen. The shadows of the clouds moved quickly across the sand like mystical magical creatures that could not be seen, dancing as they scurried into the distance. He smiled at all his imagination had painted, and he hoped that when the time came he could paint with his words all of what he saw so that those that read them would feel all that he now felt. For a brief moment, the tiniest drops of rain fell and he pulled his blue coat around himself so that he could keep warm. Each drop that tapped upon his long white hair invoked memories, and at the same time offered a promise of things to come. ‘Water is life,’ he thought to himself, and as he glanced into the distance once more to where the sunlight filtered through the clouds and a rainbow formed between sky and ocean, he knew these were the places of which his dreams were made. Within the light floated a paper boat of hope, on its own journey of discovery, which was sent out long ago and was now waiting to come home once more.

After the briefest of moments the rain eased, and as the sun broke through once more the small boy climbed to his feet and looked to both ends of the beach. In one direction lay the old wooden pier with its weathered timber boards, greying in the harsh sunlight of years gone past. Along side it sat the new, cold and rather sterile concrete one, and together they symbolized the coming together of the past and the future, a cross road at which he now found himself. In the other direction lay a horizon so distant that he could see no end, and right now this also held relevance to him. On the pier, people walked its length and returned, as if they themselves were taking a journey of discovery, but in the other direction the beach was empty and there was no one. As he stared into the distance, he wondered if that journey had become so daunting that no one dared to find out what lay beyond, if all hope was gone. He turned and glanced at a shape that had been drawn in the sand behind him, and as he looked at it he knew that at some point in time the waves would come to wash that vision away forever. His wide eyes sparkled as he realized it was a dragonfly, large and proud, with shells for its eyes and body, carefully etched by a craftsman’s hand, and alone it signified the ongoing wonders that his life was yet to reveal, offering the tiniest semblance of hope.

He smiled, and then gave a small laugh, as along side the shape, stars began to form as if by magic, and as they did he heard the laughter of the child that he had heard so often before. The stars sparkled and shone as if coming to life and as they did, so the day turned to night and the colors of the galaxies painted them selves upon the sand as if they were watercolors from an artist’s hand, sent awash on the waves. The clouds that had once filled the skies now disappeared, and above him a million tiny eyes glistened, all smiling for him to see, and with them the sound of children’s laughter filled his mind with wonder. Turning once more to the sand, he saw that the shape which once was etched into its soft surface was now gone, and as a familiar voice called soft and low, he wondered. Looking to the stars again he spied a shape, tied together by light, life and all that dreams are made of. It was the dragonfly and he knew that forevermore there would be a lasting impression of all he had become, for all to see sparkling in the stars above.

So where is it that you will find him? There, in the glow of the Orion Nebula, the place where stars are born, where life begins, but never ends, where wishes are made and dreams will come true. For now he remained earth bound, but what could now be seen would mean that he would never be forgotten.

 

Dragonfly In Sand

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She lay sleeping, her dreams carrying her from scenario to scenario, at times in a nightmarish form with faceless people barking instructions and demands without any thought of what was humanly possible. With all its wonder, the world had become a confusing mess and once again she had been torn here and there by those that knew her and had wished for the best. She had sought opinions from many, and each time the same sounds reverberated but still gave no comfort, and even if they did, they offered no answers to the complex questions that now posed themselves each and every way she looked.

Whilst she slept the deepest slumber, a small boy walked the darkened path that she had feared to tread earlier. In his hand he held a lantern that burnt soft, with the warming glow lighting his face in a ghostly way. The yellow tones flickered as the flame danced precariously on the end of the wick, at times threatening to leap away, but at the last minute taking hold once more. He was just a distant form and the path he trod had become brighter for all that he had done, yet it had been made no clearer. His hands were small and within them he held the clues to the answers of many questions, with the words he scrawled upon the coarse textured paper joined to make sentences, then paragraphs and finally stories that offered some sort of dim hope where before no hope existed.

He had heard the gentle sobbing earlier in the evening and in the silhouette of a tall tree he had stood, contemplating the many thoughts that flooded into his mind. He had looked deep into the starry sky and marveled at what was unknown, at the same time seeing all that the child could see, the shapes that had become amazing visions that only a child’s mind could form. At the same time he had realized that what the child saw was only a glimpse of what once was, and that now the reality of what was needed would challenge everything that she had ever known. In the distance the sobbing had subsided, replaced by the gentle breaths of a sleeping child with the intermittent murmur as she battled the dreams that played in her tired mind.

As the lantern illuminated the path before him, the darkness filled in each of the footsteps that he had already taken, so that what was ahead was all that was really clear, and even then for only a short distance. He knew this was much like what confronted his friend, and he also knew that it was much of what he had faced for a long while now. This gave him a different perspective on much, but then the child in him still believed and held onto that belief as if it were the air that kept him alive. He stopped momentarily mid way along the path, and he lowered the lantern for a moment. He looked once more to his beloved night sky and all the stars that smiled upon him, and as he heard the laughter from above he realized that no matter what, they would always be there, and that regardless of what lay before him, the child would still always be able to reach for his dreams if he should so choose.

He turned to where he had come from, and he raised the lantern, and in doing so he realized that in the darkness the path looked much the same in either direction, but the difference was he knew what lay behind him, because he had been there already. He turned once more to where the forest lay and he continued, with the softness of the daisies that lined the path melting like a watercolor bathed in the ethereal glow. He reached where the small girl lay, curled up with the remnants of a tiny tear still on her cheek. He thought about the things that had crossed his mind in the short time since he had left the security of the Tree. Then he reached into his coat pockets with his tiny hand and within it he held those simple words that would become sentences, then paragraphs. He held the lantern above her so that the life-giving glow would warm her, and then he carefully sprinkled the magic of the words upon her. She stirred slightly, but did not wake and as the morning light began to paint the sky with the wonderful colors that brought life and clarity to the land, he disappeared into the night sky, now joining the stars, laughing and smiling as he would for evermore.

She woke from the strangest of dreams, and as she did, she thought for just a moment that she could hear familiar laughter. She looked into the sky just in time to see the final blink of the brightest star she had ever seen, just before it disappeared into the soft hues of pinks and reds that now filled the sky. As she sat there, staring down the path, she could see the silhouette of her favorite tall tree bathed in the wondrous colors, silently waiting. She remembered the night before, and the fear that gripped her, the confusion that had consumed her into a desperate tear filled slumber, yet now it was clearer. She remembered a dream, so vivid it was almost real. The familiar flash of blue bathed in light, like a dream she had had so many times before.

The sweet sounds of birds singing reminded her that she was alive, and that she had been given a chance, maybe for one last time. She remembered her nightmare, at the same time remembering how it had stopped suddenly and how it was then that words began to form in her mind. Now one by one those words fell into place, and as she listened the story they told gave her hope, gave her strength, and the courage to believe.

The future is in our hands, guided by the wisdom of all we learn on the roads we travel. You know above all else where it is you have been for you have seen that clearly, and the question you need to ask yourself now is are you truly prepared to leave that behind, so that it never ever consumes you again. The path you now travel may be daunting, but the person you are knows without a shadow of doubt what it is that you must do. If you take control and be true to who you are, you will navigate the challenges that you now face, and you will be who you need to be. If however you succumb to the temptations that have riddled your past, then the darkness will wrap you forever more and as quickly as you go, you will be forgotten.

She thought carefully about the words and she believed that she understood their meaning. As she sat there in reflection, some final words played within her mind.  The path ahead is clear in the light of day, and all we know will be laid out before us on a canvas that was created from the dreams of one. Times will come and go, like so many things in our lives and in the darkness we may all find fear and confusion once more, but if you look into the night sky you will realize it holds the dreams of a child. You must know that through those dreams you can believe, and the fears will disappear in the familiar twinkling of the stars with the distant echo of childish laughter.

She looked along the path to where the Friendship Tree stood tall and strong, now clearer in the light of day, and she wondered. It had been a while since she had climbed there as a child, only visiting from time to time to hang the butterflies that had helped her process the many questions that had consumed her over the last months. What is it that she would find there now?

 

On a closing note.

 

A story, ‘The Little Prince,’ speaks of many things and if you have never read it, then it may just benefit you. If you have read it, then do so again. There are lessons of friendships formed and the responsibilities that come with those, and there are lessons that remind us that sometimes we do become so consumed in the matters of consequence that we lose sight of the importance of what life truly is. When you are finished reading it, ask yourself, are you the prince, the fox, the rose or the pilot, or are you one or all of the people that the prince visits on his journey. Most of all, ask yourself, does the child inside you see the elephant, and can you hear my laughter in the stars at night.

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