from Heart to Heart
Happiness lives in the World.
Where? Nobody knows . . . But still,
Happiness lives where we live.
We live in one big Home.
It has no walls, doors, or windows.
Our Home has:
Sky, Sun, Water, Soil . . .
How many inhabitants are in our Home!
Everyone is unique . . .
We all live together!
We are connected by thin invisible ribbons.
We live in one Home-Earth.
Look around . . .
How beautiful is, our Home!
Where do fairy tales come from? From childhood. . . .
From the warm little porch where I sat with my mother and looked at the sky. From a journey in a forest, where, it seems, every stalk, flower, and butterfly wants to talk with you. The feeling that everything all around is alive—from my childhood.
We understand our parents better, probably when we become them ourselves. It is a great miracle coming—the little person, sleeping in the stroller, and you feel the great World is opening for him and you, the World that we continue to open all our lives.
Children. . . . Each is unique, even when they grow together. Bright smiles, joyful eyes—purity of heart. Children love fairy tales . . . especially when they are narrated. That’s how mine came to be and some of these fairy tales have finally found paper.
All children grow and the fairy tales grow with them. Do only children need fairy tales? Really, there is a child in all of us, adults. . . . Welcome to Happy Home Fairy Tales!
With love, Olga Darya Verasen
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Caterpillar and Beauty
Ladybug and Seven Spots
Teddy Bear and Rain
Chamomile and Love
Little Fluffy Cloud
Old Apple Tree
In our World, there is an amazing Home with big-eyed windows. . . .
This Home is happy! Why? Probably because those who once built him looked at the World with kind eyes. In this Happy Home Fairy Tales live. . . . Yes, yes! Fairy Tales!
Happy Home is perched on a hill, nearby is a meadow, and a little further on, behind the lake, begins a forest. Happy Home rejoices with them in the approach of Spring, smiles at the Sun in Summer, is a little wistful in Autumn, and quietly sleeps in Winter.
You will see Fairy Tales, where Beauty is. . . .
Fairy Tales appear at Happy Home every night, and as soon as the day begins, they fly away. Where? Where they are needed. How beautiful they are! None are the same! They are all so different: big and small, funny and serious. Where are they from? Who knows? Happy Home also doesn’t know: they just are. Fairy Tales arrive, circling in from the Sky like colorful birds. Only their wings sparkle. . . .
Fairy Tales descend to the porch carefully . . . tired. Happy Home greets them kindly and smiles thoughtfully remembering something deep within. Then he places Fairy Tales to bed gently covering them in a soft blanket.
Happy Home keeps Fairy Tales warm and cozy. He takes care of them, and listens attentively: “What may be needed?” Even at night, he learned how to frighten the little gray mice with his squeaks. They have recently completely lost their shame, probably guessing that kind Fairy Tales live here! He also asks Fluffy Cloud to bring to Fairy Tales happy dreams. . . .
Fairy Tales appreciate Happy Home. They bring him kind stories of the World. Happy Home loves to listen to them. Even Wind, at this time, does not sing his songs in the chimney and listens too. In the morning, as soon as the first rays of the Sun appear, Happy Home sends off Fairy Tales. He carefully opens his door and Fairy Tales, one by one, rise to the heights. Easily they flap their bright rainbow wings and disappear into the big blue Sky. Happy Home does not know where they are flying and when they will return. He gazes at the Sky with kind big-eyed windows and waits.
Happy Home greets Fairy Tales. At the beginning of a new day, he sends them off to journey again. Fairy Tales fly to the World! Gently and tenderly touching their wings to our hearts, supporting the light of Love all over our Earth. . . .
“Dee-dong! Dee-dong!” Bluebell softly sang. . . .
Little Spider wiggled his legs and woke up.
Through a sweet morning dream he heard something very close by him sing: “Dee-dong!”, then, after a little silence, again: “Dee-dong, dee-dee-dong!”.
Usually, Little Spider woke up much later, so today he curled back up into a ball, but after a while, he heard it again even louder: “Dee-don-dong, dee-don-dong!”
Peeking out from under his twisted leaf, Little Spider looked around. His property! Bluebell had caught his head in the thin threads of Little Spider’s web and now, swaying under the Wind’s breath, he was softly singing about something. . . .
“You woke me up!” said Little Spider grumpily, rubbing sleepy eyes.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know how it happened.” said Bluebell meekly and added, “Please, excuse me and . . . hello!”
“Hello, hello!” grumbled Little Spider and was about to climb back into his little house, yet stopped, “Maybe . . . I can help?”
“Oh! Please, help! I’ll be very grateful to you!” Bluebell rejoiced and rang so loudly that Little Spider covered his ears with his little paws, “Oh! Enough! You woke up everyone, probably . . .”
One by one, slowly unwinding the threads of his web, Little Spider muttered, “Well, I was building it, spent my time, and then someone spoiled everything in one minute!”
Dewdrops hung on the web like magnificent lanterns, gifted by the rays of the Sun. Some slid down and fell on Little Spider like small sparkling balls. He began to grumble again, but saw Bluebell’s cheerful eyes, and . . . laughed too! The laughter lifted up and carried away all resentment. . . .
Barely visible, thin, and delicate strands of webbing were floating in the air. Little Spider finished his work, and Bluebell finally straightened his head.
“Thank you!” said Bluebell and bent down . . . “Ding-dong! Dee-dong! Oh!” Bluebell tried to hold back but couldn’t!
Magical sounds drifted all around in light waves, awakening all living things with a gentle, delicate echo: “Dee-dong! Dee-dee-dong!” With secret notes, they called and invited all light and good in the World. Bluebell called the new day: “Dee-dee-dong, dee-dee-dong!”
The sounds subsided . . . Little Spider was sitting with closed eyes. He was listening intently! Then said softly, “Thank you so much . . . can I listen to more?”
“Yes! Of course!”
In the blue Sky, the Sun was smiling affectionately, and on Earth, again and again, as a sonorous spring, the melody was flowing . . . where, like bluebells, Joy sounded. . . .
Rainbow Drop hung on a thin stem and was not going to fall!
The rain had passed. Rainbow Drop smiled happily at the Sun with all her rainbow colors and did not fall! Her own small weight did not bother her. She continued grasping onto the stem for a long time and smiled.
Her friends, the other drops, had become bored and tired. So they talked to each other about the weather and then, together, slid down the stem, greeting the puddle loudly: “Plop!”
Rainbow Drop didn’t want to slide down. . . . “I don’t want to go there! I will smile until I have lost my strength!” she decided and clung to the stem’s edge, continuing to smile. Even Wind stopped rocking the stem so as not to disturb her. Rainbow Drop was grateful to him for such tenderness and . . . saw Snail. Slowly moving his house, Snail was heading in Rainbow Drop’s direction. The stem was thin and light, and Snail was fat and heavy.
“Excuse me. Maybe it would be more convenient for you to go the other way?” Rainbow Drop began, but Snail did not listen to her. “I can’t! It’s not convenient and . . . I don’t want to!”
He stubbornly crawled forward, despite that at any moment, he could fall.
“Ahh . . . it’s a pity if we fall together,” sighed Rainbow Drop, frantically holding on to the swaying stem.
“What? I don’t care about you. Even if I fall down, I won’t have a problem, my house is strong. And actually, I want to drink!” Snail puffed and continued crawling forward.
“Umm . . . could you get a drink somewhere down there?” Rainbow Drop asked quietly, clinging fearfully to the rough stem.
“What? Down there?! I would need to crawl down!? Heh! No! I want to crawl up! Besides, you are so transparent and probably tasty! Why are you hanging here anyway? Why?” Snail asked and looked to the puddle. “All your friends have gone there a long time ago.”
Snail looked down and asked again, “What are you doing here? Are you not afraid of the Sun?”
Rain Drop smiled. “Why do I need to be afraid? It’s beautiful and fun. Look, see how the sunrays play with me!” she said joyfully.
“Playing? Heh-heh! First, sunrays play with you, and then they will dry you up!” Snail snickered.
“Let . . . anyway, I will be back to Earth with the rain!” Rainbow Drop laughed merrily.
“I’ll be back. I’ll be back!” Snail mimicked her and added, “Who knows you? Too many of you are similar. All the same . . .”
Snail wanted to say something more but lost his hold and fell to the ground with a thud. There, chagrined by this surprise, Snail first hid in his house, and then leaned out and looked up.
“Hey! Haven’t you fallen yet?” he asked and added sarcastically, “You are becoming very small!”
“I didn’t fall! I’m here!” Rainbow Drop laughed and looked around.
The land, wet after the rain, absorbs the sincere warmth of the sunrays.
Everything that Rainbow Drop saw was reflected on her as transparent images. All that lived and rejoiced the Sun, sparkled in her with multi-colored shades, as if a wizard had miraculously made a magical crystal ball and placed there all his treasures.
Rainbow Drop hung on for a very long time. Finally, she settled down more comfortably and did not feel tired. The offended Snail hid in his house again, puffing and grumping about the stupidity of someone who hung without any sense.
“Look, the rain is long over, and there is a droplet still hanging!” Butterfly’s voice sounded. “It is so beautiful! Look! In it, the whole World is clean and transparent! It would be a pity if it fell . . .”
“Oh! Be careful!” cried Butterfly to Dragonfly, who almost touched Rainbow Drop with her wings. Let her hang! For as long as she has strength,” Butterfly added tenderly.
“I will not fall! I have enough strength!” Rainbow Drop said smiling as she felt herself rising higher and higher.
“I’ll be back! I’ll be back again . . .” a quiet light whisper sounded from above. . . .
Little Hedgehog could not understand why he had quills. . . .
He felt the quills every day, looking at their sharp ends, and kept asking himself one question: “Why do they grow on me?” But he could not find the answer.
He didn’t want to ask his parents: they were always busy with daily affairs and didn’t have time just to sit with him. But both Mom and Dad loved, took care of him, and, gently calling “Little Hedgehog”, were proud of him.
Only parents can be proud like this, rejoicing in the way their child grows, and seeing in them the fulfillment of their dreams. Little Hedgehog never lost the feeling of reliable support, gentle, and at the same time big and strong. Little Hedgehog himself could not give it a name: he just had it. He just knew there was a warm, round, slightly fluffy Mommy’s belly in his World, which he could always bury his wet nose, snuffle a little, and then everything complicated became simple, clear, calm, and not so painful.
Today, when Little Hedgehog again accidentally scratched himself with his own quills, he finally decided to find out why he had them. “Clever Raccoon arranged his house near the Big Christmas tree yesterday!” Little Hedgehog remembered and, hastily moving his short, small paws, headed over there.
Clever Raccoon was very old and so, being tired, he often basked in the Sun, turning his gray snout with long shaggy hair to the warm sunrays. No wonder the raccoon was called “Clever Raccoon”, because, despite his old age, no one of the forest’s inhabitants could give the best advice for any of life’s situations, except him.
“Good morning!” Little Hedgehog said stomping on the ground and was embarrassed to see that Clever Raccoon was not asleep, but his shining eyes were looking at him with a smile. “Good, good!” Clever Raccoon answered and, without delaying the conversation, immediately asked, “Why have you come?”
Little Hedgehog was confused. “Um . . . as for my quills, I . . .” Clever Raccoon, raising his snout, chuckled, saying, “Heh! Do you want more?”
“No, no, I’m not talking about that,” Little Hedgehog hurried to explain. “Dear Clever Raccoon, tell me, please, why do I have them?”
Clever Raccoon did not expect such a question. . . . He was silent for a long time, looking thoughtfully at Little Hedgehog, then at the trees, then at the grass, and then said, “Well, when my grandma was still alive, I heard from her that a long time ago, you Hedgehogs did not have any quills.”
“O-oo . . . really?!” Little Hedgehog was surprised and carefully touched his paw to their sharp ends.
“Y-e-pp! None!” confirmed Clever Raccoon.
“And why do I have them now?” asked Little Hedgehog touching his quills again.
“Because now there are fangs and claws.”
“Who needs them?”
“Those who have them.”
“H-mm. It turns out, that is so.”
“And you can’t do without them?”
“I don’t know . . . maybe someone has tried.”
Clever Raccoon was silent for a long time and then huskily said,
“I somehow haven’t thought about it.”
“Why? You’re the smartest in our forest. If not you, then who?”
Simple, and at the same time profound, as is our World, Little Hedgehog’s questions made old Clever Raccoon consider himself from the height of his years.
He couldn’t find a response for this little prickly lump, quietly sniffing his wet nose, who still didn’t know why he had quills on his back.
Little Hedgehog, waiting no longer for an answer from Clever Raccoon, quietly padded his way home. He knew there was a warm, round, slightly fluffy Mommy’s belly. Maybe today, he would bury his wet nose there and snuffle a little again. Then everything complicated will become simple, clear, calm, and not so painful.
“Or . . . maybe,” Little Hedgehog thought, slowly moving his paws along the forest’s path, “I will find the answer to this question myself . . . ?”
A chubby green Caterpillar daydreamed about being beautiful. . . .
She could not imagine when but had no doubt it would happen.
In the meantime, she continued to dream with inspiration, “In just a little while, I will be blue or yellow, as the flowers that grow in the meadow. I won’t be green anymore, I’m tired of it! Well . . . maybe a red color might be better?”
Caterpillar did not notice that she had begun to speak loudly. From the outside, it looks funny: a green creature, hanging from a stem and talking to herself. Big Beetle, who was flying about his deeds, stopped and landed close to Caterpillar.
Looking around, and not seeing anybody, Beetle asked carefully, “Err . . . who are you talking to?”
Caterpillar flinched in surprise, nearly falling off her stem. She was silent for a moment, and then answered sheepishly, “I . . . I was talking to myself.”
“Foolishness!” Beetle muttered and was about to fly on, but at the last moment, he paused and asked, “I’m sorry. Don’t you have anything better to do?” Caterpillar was surprised. “I do! I am dreaming about my beauty,” she said. Now, Beetle almost fell off the stem and, flying to a more stable place, a strong leaf of burdock, asked carefully, “E-mm . . . how much time?”
“O-oo! I have dreamed about my beauty for a long time!” Caterpillar smiled modestly and began to crawl from her stem to the burdock leaf, near Beetle. On the way she continued, “A true dream always lives a long time. A real dream ripens like a seed and you take care of it, cherish it, and return to it as if you would to a fabulous place.”
Beetle thoughtfully stroked his gorgeous tendrils with his paw and, looking attentively at Caterpillar, asked, “Is your dream just to be beautiful? That’s it? Nothing more?”
“Of course! Is it bad? It is better to be beautiful! Everyone loves you. . . . Now, no one looks at me because I am green, ugly, and fat. If I was beautiful, o-oo . . . then it would be a different matter! I would look at the World differently, and the World would look at me differently. Isn’t this a real dream?” asked Caterpillar.
“Hmm! Who knows which dream is real and which is not? For me, for example, your dream isn’t interesting, because I’m already beautiful!”
Beetle proudly puffed forward his red tummy, buzzed his shiny black wings, and continued, “I have a dream of my own. But I won’t tell anyone what it is . . .”
“If you don’t want to, don’t tell . . .” Caterpillar sighed sadly and added, “I so want to be beautiful! I don’t know when or how, but I want to be different. I’m so ugly now—phooey!”
“Uh-oh! How is it possible to offend yourself like that?” From under the burdock leaf, came soft rustlings, and soon Centipede appeared upon the leaf, quickly flickering her countless legs.
“Good day! How is it possible to offend yourself like that?” she said again and smiled. “Look how many legs I have!” She, one by one, lifted each small leg and became like an undulating ribbon touched by the wind. “So what? You are proud of them!?” Beetle exclaimed.
“That’s it! That’s what I’m talking about.” Centipede eagerly responded, “Of course, I am very proud. I have as many of them as Nature herself gave me and I need all of them. Nature will give someone else exactly what only he needs. Every living thing has its own Beauty . . .”
“Beauty, beauty . . .” muttered someone from below. On the ground’s surface, under the burdock, a mound appeared, and at the next moment Mole emerged from it and asked grumblingly, “What do I care about your beauty if I can’t see it?”
“Real beauty is always visible,” Centipede responded.
“If beauty is visible everywhere, it would be difficult to hide it. Maybe hide it underground? But . . . why hide it, if everyone needs beauty?” reasoned Mole.
Caterpillar crawled to the burdock leaf’s edge and finally stopped.
“Yes! Everyone needs beauty!” she said and continued, “Real beauty is when everyone feels good! Even if you do not see it, but only know it is in the World.”
“Hmm! Does that mean that my beauty is all I need?” Beetle was indignant, offended, and puffed up his gorgeous tendrils. He turned in a huff and trudged to the burdock leaf’s edge.
Centipede gently stopped him, “Wait! Beauty is not just your eyes, tendrils, and tummy. Who yesterday helped small Striped Bug to bring food to his house? And who, earlier, saved Butterfly from a web? Who picked up little Ant, who was late for home?”
Beetle was agitated, touched his paw to his gorgeous tendrils, and asked, “Do you mean beauty is also beautiful deeds?”
“Yes! Yes!” laughed Bee, who flew to the white chamomiles in the meadow. “Everyone who has in his heart Kindness, Love, Wisdom, Joy, and Respect for others is really beautiful!” she added and, saying goodbye to everyone, flew away.
It had become quiet around the big burdock.
The day continued with everyone going on with their own affairs. Everyone has their own uniqueness given to them by Nature . . . and everyone has the same within that can’t be hidden. . . .
Only the chubby green Caterpillar remained. But now, her own color and size did not bother her as much as before. And for some reason, she didn’t want to eat at all. Her eyes began to close and only one thought kept spinning in her head: “Sleep . . . Sleep . . .”
Caterpillar felt that something unusual was waiting for her.
She began to wrap around herself in a soft, soft blanket, which she spun from thin, shiny threads surprisingly quickly. “I really want to sleep,” Caterpillar whispered again, and fell asleep settling under the burdock leaf, like a baby in a cradle.
She didn’t know what was going to happen, and what she would look like when she woke up. It wasn’t that important anymore.
On an unknown mysterious journey, she took with her the amazing greatest feeling—Beauty of the World. . . .
Little Bunny was dreaming of a Big Carrot. . . .
He hid under an old fir tree and thought, “I’ll munch on my Big Carrot for a long, long time. I’ll never give to anyone!” He sighed and closed his eyes, “Oh . . . when will Summer come? If only it would start sooner. I want my delicious Big Carrot so much! M-mm . . . it’ll probably be really sweet!”
Little Bunny, in fact, has never seen nor tasted such a carrot. But Bunny’s mom has told him about the beautiful Big Carrot, so Little Bunny can’t wait until the weather finally warms up, and then, he imagines, from over the hill, the long-awaited Big Carrot will appear. . . .
“Maybe my Big Carrot will be round. No! Better it’ll be very long . . . so long that . . . I can’t even see the end!” Little Bunny thought, imagining the carrot each time differently. “Ooh, it’ll be so crunchy and juicy! M-mm, I can almost taste it. It’s so delicious!” he squeaked with delight. “What are you talking about?” a voice sounded.
Little Bunny jumped in fright, pulling his ears over his head with his paws. Looking at him from the other side was a small gray lump, almost invisible, sitting under the old fir tree. Little Bunny waited for a little, raised his head, touched his ears, and looked around. A little further away from him sat a gray Little Mouse, gnawing a dry blade of grass and looking attentively at him.
“What are you talking about?” asked Little Mouse again and reached for another blade of grass.
“I’m dreaming about a Big Carrot,” Little Bunny responded shyly.
“Is it good to eat?” Little Mouse flashed his black eyes, and confused added, “Sorry, somehow I always want to eat . . .”
“My Big Carrot is very delicious,” Little Bunny said thoughtfully. He was silent for a moment, then added, “only . . . I have never seen it . . .”
“Then how do you know?” Little Mouse asked in surprise.
“My mom told me,” said Little Bunny, sighed, and added, “When will Summer come? Summer is wonderful! The Sun warms everything. . . .”
“Yes, it’s warm! And there are so many different seeds!” Little Mouse declared happily, sighed, and added hesitantly, “Will you let me try this carrot? Maybe just . . . a little?”
“No! I’m not sharing it! There won’t even be enough for me!” grumbled Little Bunny.
“If ‘no’, then ‘no’. No need. I understand . . . everyone wants to eat.” Little Mouse sighed again, looked at the spring Sky, and wanted to run away, but heard Little Bunny quietly say: “Wait! Let’s do it together . . .”
“Do what ‘together’?” Little Mouse asked in surprise.
“Let’s dream about the Big Carrot together! And about Summer too. Please forgive me, I’m not usually like this . . .” Little Bunny lowered his eyes and added shyly, “I’m not greedy for the carrot, I will definitely share it with you and someone else too! It’s just now . . . I also want to eat. . . .”
Little Mouse smiled happily and moved closer, “Let’s dream about flowers too! My mom told me they’re very beautiful!”
Under the big old fir tree, two small gray friends sat and . . . dreamed together! About what?
That, sometime soon the cold days will end, and wonderful warm summer days will arrive. Their mothers had told them about it. What Summer is, Little Bunny and Little Mouse really didn’t know: they haven’t had Summer in their lives yet. . . .
The two small fluffy lumps sat, huddling together. . . .
It doesn’t matter when they see a Big Carrot or how many days they will wait for this marvelous Summer. Little Bunny and Little Mouse, keeping each other warm and beginning to understand: in our sometimes cold World, there is something very important that always makes everything warmer. . . .
Yesterday Ladybug learned to count to seven. . . .
This was taught to her by her old friend Ant, who lived in his big anthill across the stream. Ant said that she has seven spots on her back. Why exactly seven, and not more or less, Ladybug did not know, but Ant promised to ask his friend big, fluffy Bumblebee about it. Bumblebee flies far and wide and can find answers to everything.
That’s why, in the early morning, Ladybug flew to the yellow center of a chamomile’s flower. From there the path, along which her friend Ant usually ran every day, was clearly visible.
A large number of small inhabitants of the neighborhood were moving along this path, hurrying about their deeds. From above, it seemed as if a living thin ribbon stretched across the meadow. Ladybug was closely watching for him and, from time to time, repeated in a whisper: “One, two, three . . . one, two, three, four, five, six, seven!” She looked around with pride: “Who will notice me!” But there was no one around and she fell silent.
To see her friend Ant sooner, Ladybug flew to a bird cherry tree that grew near the middle of the meadow. She landed on a leaf, barely having time to fold her soft wings neatly when she heard someone grumbling: “What are you doing here?”
Ladybug looked around and saw big, fluffy Bumblebee, Ant’s friend.
“Oh! Excuse me, did I bother you?” she asked politely and added, “If so, please forgive me.”
Bumblebee was embarrassed by this affableness, and he buzzed more kindly, “Well, not much . . . I was sleeping, but you woke me up. By the way, I was carrying out a very important errand! I am very tired and I got a little wet from the dew and froze.”
Ladybug smiled meekly and apologized once more. Her puzzled look gave Bumblebee a sense of self-importance. He stroked his antennae and said, “I have completed the assignment! Now I’m waiting for Ant to explain everything to him.”
Ladybug exclaimed joyfully, “That’s probably about my spots!”
“How many of them do you have?” asked Bumblebee.
“One, two, three, four, five, six . . . seven!” answered Ladybug proudly and showed him the seven spots on her back.
“That’s right! There they are!” Bumblebee confirmed, paused, and asked, “Why?”
“What ‘Why?'” Ladybug did not understand.
“Well, why do you need to know?”
“I wear them on myself! Why exactly so many?
“Is it so hard?”
“What is ‘so hard’?” Ladybug did not understand Bumblebee again.
“Wearing spots on your back!”
“No, it’s not difficult, but why are there exactly seven?”
“You are strange! I’m not asking you: ‘Why am I striped?’!”
“Why not?” Ladybug was surprised.
Bumblebee grabbed his head with his paws, “O-oo . . . because I don’t care! Isn’t it clear?”
“No. . . . How can you be uninterested in yourself?”
“I’m thinking about where to find more nectar!”
“To eat! And eat to live!”
“And . . . that’s all?” asked Ladybug quietly.
Now, Bumblebee didn’t understand, “What do you mean by ‘that’s all?’”
“Is living only eating?” asked Ladybug again.
Bumblebee thought for a moment, and then responded confidently, “If I don’t think about it, I will starve to death!”
“You do think about it, but not all the time . . .”
“H-mm! What else can you think about when you work from morning to night?”
Ladybug’s questions seem to have completely angered Bumblebee, but he was passionately trying to prove to Ladybug what he probably more wanted to prove to himself. . . .
“Why do some flowers close their petals at night? Why are the leaves green? Why does one grow big and the other small? Why . . .”
“So many ‘Whys’!” Bumblebee summed up the conversation and repeated it once more. “‘Why-why-why’! Really!”
“Sometimes my mom also says that . . .” Ladybug sighed. She was about to go back to her chamomile’s flower, but Bumblebee stopped her.
“Wait! I know why you have seven spots on your back! Wise Owl told me this morning. Seven spots—seven days.”
“And why . . .”
“Wait. Let every day be a good one!”
“How are these ‘good’?”
“I don’t know!”
“Why then . . .”
On the meadow’s path Ant finally appeared.
“Ask him! I’m in a hurry . . .” grumbled Bumblebee.
Ladybug did not even have time to thank him—so quickly he flew away.
“Good days create a good life! One, two, three . . .” Ladybug repeated. She waved to Ant, spread her wings, and flew toward him.
“Good days create a good life!” she exclaimed instead of a greeting, and added happily, “I understand! If you do something good, then the day will be good!”
“Every morning our mom reminds us ants about that!” Ant said, greeted her, and continued, “Our mom also says: ‘If you don’t do something good, the day has passed in vain!’”
“My mom says that someone that is good will never do anything bad to anyone!” said Ladybug, “Good is always stronger. And so the one who sees my spots will remember this. That’s why there are seven of them! Finally, I understand! Thank you, Bumblebee and Wise Owl!”
Ant looked around, “Where’s Bumblebee?”
“He flew away,” responded Ladybug, and sighed, “He said that I ask too many ‘Why’ questions!” Ladybug sighed again, “Is that bad?”
“It is very good! My mom tells all of us in the Anthill: ‘If there are questions, then I know—you are noticing what exists all around. If there are questions, the answers will be found.’”
Ant looked up at the Sun that rose higher over the meadow and started to leave, “I’m sorry, but I also have to go. I’m glad we now know why you have seven spots on your back!” Ant hurried off to do his deeds.
A day was beginning, another new day in which there is always a place for good deeds. Ladybug looked at herself in a dewdrop and laughed gaily, “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven!” and then she added resolutely, “Seven good days, a week, a month, a year . . . a good life! Let every day be a good one!” She spread her little wings and flew off to meet her days, where there is always time for good deeds. . . .
Teddy Bear loved to cry when it rained. . . .
As soon as the first drops fell from the Sky, Teddy Bear becomes very sad, and oh-oh—from his round, little button-eyes, one by one, tears rolled down. They left thin paths on his soft wool, gathered on the tip of his nose, and then drip-drop-dripping down to the ground.
Today, Gray Cloud hung for a long time in a corner above the forest, then crawled out into the middle of the Sky, swelled, and splashed all with light rain.
“Oh-oh-oh! Again, the Sky is crying . . . oh-oh-oh! I need to help!” Teddy Bear thought, puffed, and quickly ran to the lake’s shore. There, under a big birch tree, he had his own quiet place where he could be with himself.
What else could be done to help the Sky, Teddy Bear did not know. But when you cry alone, it’s so sad. “It’s better if there are two!” he had decided once, and since then always tried to help with his own tears. He didn’t tell anyone about his decision: he worried he would be laughed at. Teddy Bear sadly sighed once, and a second time . . . there was a familiar tingling in his nose. Drip-drop-drop . . . his tears were gathering on the tip of his nose and drip-drop-dripping with the raindrops, into the lake.
Two small carps peered out of the lake, shook their heads, and slapping their tails on the water in farewell, disappeared.
“Of course, the Sky cries. The Sky is consoling us all!” Teddy Bear sighed again, “Oh-oh-oh! Yesterday Ant pinched his paw between two pinecones. It’s too sad . . . and the little striped Beetle, who lives under the old stump, wet his belly in the morning, maybe froze, and probably caught a cold. Oh-oh-oh!”
Another drop rolled down to the tip of his nose. . . .
Teddy Bear looked at the Sky compassionately. “Yes, yes, it’s all so sad, our neighbor, Motley Woodpecker screamed yesterday. Someone probably offended him—there was a lot of shouting. Oh-oh-oh! Also, Cuckoo is poor. She left her eggs somewhere, and, maybe, is still looking for them.”
The rain kept falling. It was as if through a fine sieve, quietly dripping and sprinkling small raindrops drip-drop-dripping to the ground. It really seemed like someone unknown up there was also shedding their own tears. Even the whisper of the leaves under the drops created a sad rainy melody. Teddy Bear listened, occasionally wiping his wet eyes with his paw, then sniffled once, and again. . . .
“Well, that’s enough!” said a voice. Startled, Teddy Bear looked around.
Green Frog jumped out from the water onto a large, yellow lily pad. She rotated so the raindrops were drip-drop-dripping straight onto her shiny back, and looked with a smile at Teddy Bear.
“How much can you cry? I’ve been looking at you—you’ve been crying for a long time! Why? If someone has offended—forgive them. Don’t cry, it’s hard for the Sky!”
Teddy Bear was confused, “Why is it hard for the Sky?”
“Because when someone cries, it’s hard for everyone: who weeps has lost Joy!”
“Then why is the Sky crying?”
“The Sky doesn’t cry. The Sky is giving water to us all. Rain is good!” Green Frog jumped up on another lily pad and laughed, “Listen how the raindrops joyfully sing on my back! It’s a real drum!”
“Oh, I think that the raindrops are Sky’s tears . . .” For the first time, Teddy Bear shares his secret with Green Frog and is not anxious. Maybe because he felt that he would be understood. “I cry because I want to help the Sky. It’s hard to cry along.”
“And why cry at all? If you want to support, why is it necessary to cry? Who will your tears help?!” Green Frog questioned in surprise.
“That is what I thought . . .” replied Teddy Bear, wiping with his paw another drop on his nose.
“In vain! I tell you: ‘In vain!’ Through tears, it is difficult to see, let alone help someone,” Green Frog reasoned.
“What do you mean?” asked Teddy Bear in confusion.
“What-what?! I said: ‘Hi!’ to you several times, but you didn’t hear or see!”
Teddy Bear blushed and mumbled, “Sorry, I really didn’t notice you . . .”
“Of course, you didn’t! If in your eyes there are only tears, what can you see?”
Green Frog jumped up and laughed, “Look around! See?”
“What?” Teddy Bear looked around puzzled.
“The World! Look how beautiful is our World! And interesting!” Green Frog exclaimed admiringly.
Teddy Bear looked around for a long time . . . then wrinkled his nose and responded uncertainly, “Well, maybe I see . . .”
“What?” Green Frog asked.
“Lake . . . birch . . . there are carps looking out of the water . . .” Teddy Bear sighed, and added, “They can’t talk . . . it’s so sad! Oh-oh-oh!”
“Wait, why are they sad?” Green Frog stopped him, “They can talk! You just haven’t understood them yet!”
In amazement Teddy Bear looked at the carps, at Green Frog, then at the carps again, and . . . carefully whispered in surprise, “Green Frog . . . they are smiling at me!”
“Well now! You finally noticed! Yes, yes, they are smiling . . . and have been smiling for a long time. And also, Duck wanted to tell you many times that from your tears the water in the lake will soon become salty!” Green Frog exclaimed and jumped to yet another lily pad.
Teddy Bear was completely embarrassed by such words, lowered his eyes and, rubbing his wet nose with his paws, said quietly, “I’m sorry, I really didn’t see . . .”
The rain was over. The last drops occasionally fell from the Sky, leaving large circles rippling on the lake. The circles expanded outward on the surface of the water and gradually disappeared. The Sun appeared, and the gray cloud did not seem so gray and bloated anymore.
The forest sang with different voices. The flowers dried their petals. Many colored butterflies were flitting in the air. Teddy Bear looked around in amazement. “How much I haven’t seen . . .”
“We see what we are able to see. If you have tears in your eyes, what will you see besides your tears?” asked Green Frog, smiling, then answered himself, “Nothing!”
Teddy Bear roused and shook off the raindrops. They flew in all directions with rainbow colors shimmering in the rays of the Sun. Teddy Bear laughed, at first quietly and hesitantly, and then louder. His laughter, sounding like merry bells, spread throughout the neighborhood. Teddy Bear fell silent, wondering to himself. . . .
“How joyful it is to see the World,” he said thoughtfully, was silent for a moment, then added quietly. “I don’t want to cry anymore! Nothing is really visible through tears!”
Teddy Bear smiled. . . . A beautiful blue butterfly cautiously settled on his nose. Thin wings rose and fell, gently drying the wet paths on his soft fur. Teddy Bear was happy! He stood there, with bated breath, and felt the last of his tears disappear. . . .
Pink Cat was sitting on a cloud and gazing down. . . .
From above, everything seemed small, like children scattering their toys on a colorful blanket. Pink Cat stretched out and lay down cozily on his cloud to better observe everything happening down on Earth. Down there, life gradually awoke after a night’s sleep. Roosters sang, people hurried about their affairs. . . . The river shone with a beautiful winding ribbon in the Sun, like milk in a saucer, leaving the remnants of a thick white mist under the hills.
Pink Cat closed his eyes, letting the Sun warm his back. Pink Cat was unusual, not only because he sat on a cloud and was pink in color. His large blue eyes were unusual. They seemed to look at the whole Sky and see in the distance what others might not notice: Pink Cat was from the Land of Childhood. He lived on a cloud and composed dreams, and when night came, he sent them, like precious postcards, to people on Earth.
The dreams were different: funny, humorous, sad, but all were kind and gentle, like a tender mother’s hands. Down there, people did not know where these dreams came from. Children were just happy for them, and adults were surprised and looked for secret signs that would explain the meanings of what they had seen. . . . Everyone who saw such dreams forever saved a wonderful feeling of inspiration and harmony. This is probably why no one wanted to talk about them. As a great treasure, they were kept by everyone in the most secret corner of the heart, warming with their light.
While composing dreams time flew imperceptibly. But when the last stars closed their weary eyes, Pink Cat also felt weariness and usually went to sleep. Only this time he could not—he saw Little Girl. . . .
Little Girl ran to the river, like a mischievous grasshopper, jumping high so as not to wet her skirt with dew. Her thin legs were glistening among the grass, her braid unraveled, and light linen hair rose easily in the air. Little Girl had a marvelous pink dream today! Such a beautiful dream! Little Girl ran to the river and, laughing happily, plunged into the cool morning water. She greeted her friend Duck, raised her head, and . . . saw Pink Cat on a cloud! Little Girl was surprised by the unusual spectacle but was not afraid.
“Hello!” she said to Pink Cat.
“Hello!” Pink Cat smiled back.
“What are you doing there?” asked Little Girl.
“I live here,” purred Pink Cat. “I compose dreams and send them to people on Earth as postcards. Do you want to come here, closer to the Sun?”
“Yes! I do!” Little Girl exclaimed happily. “How do I get to you?”
It was the first time Pink Cat had made such an offer. But he remembered what he had seen before: the wind had been blowing and scattering fluffy clouds across the Sky, making them like long, thin, white strands of wool. Pink Cat carefully scratched the edge of the cloud with his paw, and a part of the soft cloud’s wool came out. . . .
Little Girl knew how to twist wool into threads. She often sat next to Grandma, looking at how she made wool yarn, and had even tried to help her several times. But she didn’t make it very well at the time, and the thread was uneven. Grandma kindly comforted her, saying that Little Girl is still small, but with just a bit more time, everything will work out. . . .
Now, everything really worked out—a thin, but strong white thread stretched from the Sky down to Earth. The cloud decreased in size, and Pink Cat couldn’t lay down on it as cozily as he had before. But at the bottom stood Little Girl, clutching the end of the thread in her hands, and with hope looked up at the Sky.
Pink Cat picked up with his paw a barely visible thread and started to pull it to himself. As a small sparrow flies off a branch, Little Girl broke away easily from Earth and rose into the air. . . .
She settled down next to Pink Cat and looked around. Sitting on the cloud was soft and cozy. The sounds of Earth came up from below as a light bee buzz. Large fluffy clouds floated across the Sky. If they were a little closer, Little Girl would have jumped to them like an air grasshopper.
“Where did you come from?” she asked Pink Cat.
“From the Land of Childhood,” Pink Cat purred.
“This is why you are pink?” Little Girl curiously continued.
“Yes!” replied Pink Cat.
“Your eyes are like the Sky,” Little Girl said. “How beautiful the Sky is!”
“Your eyes are also like the Sky,” smiled Pink Cat.
“No, my eyes are like cornflowers! My mommy told me so!” Little Girl laughed and clarified, “Cornflowers are like your Sky. They are also blue and beautiful!”
“We all have one Sky,” smiled Pink Cat.
Pink Cat and Little Girl, sitting on the cloud, talked. They seemed to have known each other for a long time.
“You know, today I had a dream,” said Little Girl. “It was a light and joyful dream! I didn’t tell anyone down there. Do you want me to tell you?”
“I know your dream,” Pink Cat closed his eyes. “I sent this dream to you last night.” Little Girl laughed merrily.
“Oh! Yes, of course! How could I have not guessed, I’m still asleep!” To prove it, she pinched herself and gasped in pain, “Ouch!”
“Why did you pinch yourself? I would have told you that you are not sleeping!” purred Pink Cat.
“So, you are real?” Little Girl said in surprise.
“H-mm. How else would you come up here?” said Pink Cat thoughtfully. “I am the real Pink Cat from the Land of Childhood. If you do not believe that such a country exists, then I really do not exist . . .”
“No, I believe, I believe!” Little Girl hurried to assure him. “But it is sad that Childhood disappears with time.”
Looking intently at Little Girl, Pink Cat nodded.
“Childhood will never disappear if people don’t forget.”
“I will never forget!” Little Girl assured Pink Cat forcefully. “Childhood is beautiful like a fairy tale! I will remember your dream!”
They were silent for a moment, looking down at Earth, then Little Girl asked again, “Is it difficult composing dreams for us people?”
Pink Cat smiled, “No! But sometimes it’s harder to send dreams to someone who needs them.”
“And what happens to those dreams?”
“They remain in the Sky, flying in the air like invisible birds.”
“If someone calls his dreams, will they be back?”
“Of course . . .”
Little Girl thought, and then said firmly, “Your dreams are needed by everyone! From them, a heart is filled with joy! You know, my grandma always says: ‘Joy, Love, Kindness will fill your heart like spring water quenching your thirst on the path of life.’”
Little Girl looked down at Earth.
“Oh! I need to go home,” she said. “Look, my mommy is already looking for me!” She gently stroked Pink Cat on his pink fur. “I will remember you! Thank you!”
“There will always be a place on my cloud for you,” said Pink Cat, and closed his eyes so Little Girl would not notice the sadness in them.
Grasping the thread, Little Girl easily slid down, immediately becoming a small dot on the river bank. She waved to Pink Cat and ran home to the earthly affairs that awaited her.
White clouds continued on their own journey in the high blue Sky. It seemed there was no meeting . . . but now Little Girl knew that she is connected with the beautiful blue Sky by a thin but very strong thread. And up there, on a fluffy white cloud, lives Pink Cat from the Land of Childhood, in whose eyes you can see what you want to say.
Pink Cat, basking in the Sun, fell asleep. He knew—his dreams would always be needed. When the next night comes, he will compose new ones and send them to people so the thin threads that connect Earth and Sky will be saved. . . .
Grasshopper anxiously waited for the Sun to set, occasionally glancing at the small green Violin that lay beside him. Wrapped in soft moss, this Violin had waited a long time under the Christmas tree, and finally, it was needed. . . .
Violin was old with scratched sides and a tiny crack in the middle, but when it sang in such a way, there was probably no living thing in the whole neighborhood who wouldn’t come to listen.
For as long as Grasshopper could remember, his Grandpa Grasshopper played the Violin every evening. Tall and entirely gray, he slowly touched the bow to the strings and the Song poured out into the air. . . .
One day he called grandson Grasshopper over, held out the Violin, and said, “Here, hold it . . . take care of it and yourself too.”
“What about your Song? What will you say to your listeners in the meadow?” Grasshopper asked.
“Now it’s your turn.”
“I can’t play it like you! You have lived a long time in the World, you have something to say.”
“It is not needed. Everyone has their own Song.”
“So why do they listen to yours?”
“To awaken their own. Everyone’s heart sings, only sometimes the sounds are very faint, and not always discernible.”
“Does your Violin help them?”
“I hope so.”
“And no two songs are the same?”
“We are all different.”
“What will mine be about?
“What your heart will tell. . . .”
“Will they understand me?”
“Those who are attentive to others will understand.”
Grandfather gently stroked the Violin and handed it to Grasshopper,
“Take it. . . .”
Small and light, he liked it at once, but Grasshopper did not know any melody then. So he brought it home and put the Violin in his hiding place.
Since then, no familiar sounds have been heard in the meadow. The listeners, accustomed to them, first asked Grandpa Grasshopper when they would hear the Violin again. He smiled and replied, “The time will come. . . .”
Grasshopper missed Grandpa when he passed. There was no one else who could always support Grasshopper with his wisdom and kindness, and with whom he felt cozy and warm. Loneliness appeared, especially in the evening when the Sun considered leaving the day and going to rest. A new day, then night, and everything repeated with the same . . . and the Violin was still silent.
That’s when Grandpa was here, then everything was different. He saw something interesting everywhere. Grasshopper sighed, “Again, he ‘was’. . . .”
Once he had asked Grandpa, “What does ‘Life’ mean?”
Grandpa smiled and answered simply, “All that is around us, and we are within it . . . in its sounds, colors: you just feel it.”
“How do we feel it?”
“Everyone in their own way, and in their own time.”
One day, Grasshopper looked around and saw what he had not noticed before: how beautiful a new day begins! Droplets of dew hung on the thin cobwebs, glistening like diamonds. . . . The flowers in the meadow stretched their petals towards the gentle rays of the Sun. . . . Even the gray clouds huddled in the corner behind the hill did not look sad, and hung in the Sky like a fluffy, slightly puffed-up pillow.
Grasshopper wondered to himself, “Where have I been?” It all became so light! He jumped high, throwing up his thin long legs, and laughed happily. It is as if only now, the new day brought with it a unique and big miracle, called by one small word, ‘Life’. . . .
Grasshopper waited for evening, occasionally looking at the small green Violin lying nearby. The Sky, slowly counting each star, gradually filled up with them. The evening came and changed its color from bright to dark blue. It became quiet. . . .
Grasshopper took the Violin. . . .
He carefully touched the strings with his bow once, twice, thrice . . . and his Song was heard in the meadow! Merging with each other, sounds floated into the humid air, composing a melody known only to one performer. This is how every heart sings when the time comes. Grasshopper played, and in his Song was Life! The scent of flowers, the warmth of the Sun, the ringing of the rain, the whisper of the wind—is it possible to list everything?
Grasshopper was playing!
The small green Violin was creating sounds in a boundless concert hall. Piercingly high, then mysteriously low, they rushed to the heights, singing about what lived in his heart . . . and this Song inspired, gave joy, filling the whole neighborhood!
The inspiration of one was passed on to others. Grasshopper finished playing and wondered: “So many listeners are around!”
“Someone said we wouldn’t hear the Violin anymore, but it sang again!” a voice was heard in silence.
“This is my Grandpa’s Song!” Grasshopper said embarrassed.
“He sang differently . . . it is your Song! Thank you. . . .”
It was quiet again. The listeners gradually went home, tenderly holding within the melody they had just heard. And together with it, everyone, somewhere in the depths, responding with a pure stream, composed their own song—the Song of their heart. And Grasshopper sat on the tip of a blade of grass and looked at the starry Sky, gently hugging his Violin. . . .
Сhamomile carefully spread her petals, sighed, and guessed again.
“Loves me–loves me not . . . loves me–loves me not . . . loves me not . . . Oh! Nobody loves me! No matter how much I try!” Chamomile said sadly, bending her last petal . . . thought for a while and added stubbornly, “I’m trying again!”
As soon as she started whispering the words of eternal divination, she heard a mocking giggle. Chamomile stopped and carefully looked around. . . .
Under the fence, her neighbor Nettle was comfortably situated. Nettle was not friends with anyone, and the inhabitants of the vegetable garden knew from personal experience—it was better not to touch her!
“So, you’re starting again?” Nettle asked sarcastically.
Chamomile lowered her head and murmured quietly, “It’s good that your flowers are small . . .”
“What do you mean by that?” Nettle responded suspiciously.
“There is no need to guess about Love . . .”
“Huh?! Why do we need to guess about it?”
“It’s sad if no one loves you.”
Nettle looked at herself and chuckled arrogantly, “I don’t need it. I love myself. That’s what’s most important!”
“If you know you are needed by someone, it’s easier to live in our World,” Chamomile said thoughtfully.
Nettle leaned over to Chamomile and asked softly, “If no one loves you, maybe you can give me some of your space?”
“How is it?” Chamomile was confused.
Nettle leaned over to her and explained, “Well . . . if no one needs you, then why take up so much . . .”
She did not have time to say the last word as a kind voice emerged from somewhere, “I love you all! I need you all!”
Chamomile raised her head and looked around, but saw no one.
Nettle, looking back fearfully, edged away from Chamomile. “Err, um, that’s right . . . just asking . . . I don’t need anything!”
“Nothing?!” Raspberry, living nearby Nettle, exclaimed in outrage and added indignantly. “And who is always stinging?!”
“Come on! I only touched you once, accidentally,” snapped Nettle.
“Hey, guys! Did you hear that?! Nettle—and ‘accidentally’!” a chorus of garden inhabitants began to complain indignantly. . . .
The big yellow Squash, who was still calmly basking in the Sun, turned, and delicately asked, “Dear me, please, a little quieter!”
Nobody listened! The plants looked for who offended whom, when and for what. There was such a noise that Chamomile did not know where to hide her head. No one remembered how it had all started! The quarrel grew like a big dark cloud. It seemed that a little bit more and a thunderstorm would erupt.
“I love you very much! I need you all!” was again heard from somewhere above.
These quiet, kind words spread peace and tranquility to the garden. The plants stopped quarreling and looked around. All the same familiar faces . . . whose voice had addressed them?
It sounded again, quiet and affectionate: “You are all my children. How can I not love you?”
Squash, not understanding where these beautiful words came from, clarified, “You love everyone, really?”
“Everyone!” came the answer.
“Excuse me . . . even Nettle?” Raspberry asked in a whisper, looking around in surprise.
“What?! What about me? You’re clinging to me again!” Nettle said indignantly.
Whispering, looking around, and still not understanding who needs them all, the plants again began to list their grievances.
Seeing this, Squash said firmly, “Don’t quarrel! Quiet!”
In the unexpected silence, everyone heard the quiet voice of Chamomile. “Loves me–loves me not . . . loves! Loves!” she repeated happily. Spreading her whitish petals and closing her eyes, Chamomile smiled joyfully and stretched her bright head towards the blue Sky.
She opened her face to the gentle sunrays and whispered gratefully, “Thank you, Sun!”
“What is she saying?” Nettle asked Squash in surprise.
“What-what? She is thanking the Sun for loving us all!” Squash answered Nettle, and carefully rolled as far away from her as possible.
It now became clear to everyone where the tender words had come from.
“Sun! Sun loves us all! Without his love, as without Water, Land, and Sky, we would not live!” exclaimed Raspberry.
“Yes! Yes!” All the plants supported her in unison, jiggling their leaves excitedly.
Only Nettle was unconvinced.
“Humph! Who needs this love?! I can live without it!” she said stubbornly.
“Everyone needs it!” Raspberry replied firmly.
Sun, with his warm rays, gently stroked Nettle’s prickly leaves, which were belligerently sticking out in all directions.
“Err . . . what am I? I don’t mind . . .” she whispered, and suddenly exclaimed admiringly, “Look how beautiful our Chamomile is!”
Everyone looked at Chamomile . . . indeed, how beautiful she was!
Her white lace head shone in the bright blue Sky. Like the gentle sails of celestial ships that had gathered together in the boundless ocean to sail on across the great World.
Chamomile was grateful for those who did not care how many petals you have, what color they are, what size are your leaves, or if you have thorns or not.
Chamomile thanked those who loved her for just being on Earth. . . .
It became quiet in the garden. The inhabitants were grateful for the sincere love of One to all. . . . Each in their own way, not paying attention to the outside.
If you love sincerely, giving the light from each particle of your heart, does it matter where you are or how loud are your words? No. . . .
If you speak from the heart, can anything hinder it?
Little Fluffy Cloud had been wiping the Sky from early morning and grumbled, “There it is, the Sky is so big! I try to bring order here!”
She stopped for a minute and looked around: maybe Wind will come to help? But there was no one else in the Sky. Little Fluffy Cloud sighed and set to work again.
Sun woke up, saw Little Fluffy Cloud, and greeted her “Good morning!”
“Maybe for some!” Little Fluffy Cloud replied, instead of greeting, and began to rub the Sky so forcefully that it seemed a little more and a hole would appear.
Sun smiled and asked, “Is it so hard to clean the Sky?”
“The Sky is so big but I’m so small!” Little Fluffy Cloud muttered.
“Don’t think about it and it will be easier to do what you need.”
“It would be better if someone helped me!”
Sun rose higher into the Sky and said, “When you wait for help, first will come resentment when someone does not appear or someone is late.”
“It’s hard . . . there’s a lot of work!” Little Fluffy Cloud sighed.
“Are you tired?” Sun asked, and kindly stroked Little Fluffy Cloud with her warm ray.
“Not really . . . but still, the Sky is so big, and I’m so small! I’m wasting my time, losing my fluffy strands!” Little Fluffy Cloud mumbled stubbornly.
“You’re on again . . . look at me, I don’t spare my rays. I give my light to everyone every day!” Sun smiled and continued, “What you do with generosity will always be good and give joy to everyone. Look how beautiful and clean the Sky has become!”
Little Fluffy Cloud glanced sideways at the Sun, puffed up, and sprayed her rain at him!
Sun laughed merrily. Each drop echoed his smile. . . .
Small shiny drops fell to Earth creating a miracle bridge! A rainbow bridge between the Sky and Earth!
Like magic ribbons, all the colors of the World were woven into it: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, purple!
Little Fluffy Cloud looked around admiringly and no longer grumbled. How can you grumble when you see such beauty? She sprinkled with light rain, and rejoiced together with Sun, as the rainbow drops carry to Earth colorful gifts from the Sky. . . .
Paper lay on the table and sighed, looking at herself with pleasure from all sides.
“O-oo, how beautiful I am! I’m so white!” she thought proudly.
She glanced at Colors laying nearby and moved away from them.
“Huddling there, next to me . . . I won’t give anybody even one of my sheets!” she rustled them and moved a little further away. “Some say: ‘Paper is tolerant’ And what?! Draw on my beautiful white sheets?! Humph! Never!”
Colors, of course, heard all and once again complained to their friend Brush, who lived in the same box with them, “Well, Paper is going on again . . . humph! She found something to boast about! What is so great about being white? There is nothing to look at! Blank!”
Paper couldn’t ignore their conversation, “It’s better to be white than to have the spots you and Brush would leave on me!”
“What?! Colors are beautiful! And, they are not spots!” Brush tried to explain, but Paper began to cry out so loudly for her beauty lost, that she heard no one but herself. . . .
At that moment, Sunny Ray peered through the window. He was about to move on but heard the quarrel and stopped.
“Good day,” he smiled.
Paper could not calm down.
“Be tolerant . . . be tolerant . . .” she continued to grumble, straightening her sheets.
Sunny Ray listened to Paper, Colors, and Brush and then asked, “Do you know the colors of our World?”
“Of course! They are red, yellow, blue . . .” Colors began.
“Green . . .” Brush supported them.
“White!” Paper announced loudly. She looked around and added,
“White is the best!”
“Well . . . those are only titles” answered Sunny Ray thoughtfully and added, “each color is an amazing gift of the World. Do you know which ones?”
“Which?” responded Colors and Brush.
“I don’t see any gifts!” Paper muttered.
“Look out the window . . . see the flowers? What color are they?” asked Sunny Ray.
“Red!” Colors responded confidently.
“There’s the first gift!” Sunny Ray smiled. “Red is the color of empathy, kindness, tenderness. . . . Red gives the World Love. . . . Look, what color have the mushrooms in that basket?”
“Of course, orange! This year Orange Fox boasted that these mushrooms were named after him!” Colors exclaimed.
“Orange gives us the joy of knowing the World, where we live,” continued Sunny Ray.
“Hmm! Why were mushrooms given such a color? I am also smart!” Paper said grumpily.
“Wait . . . look around!” comforted Sunny Ray. “Each color is reminiscent of itself everywhere. They are not separate and do not offend each other. They are friends. Look at how many different shades: pink, crimson, magenta—too many to name! Only together do they make the World beautiful.”
“I’m so . . . just a little . . . actually . . . I do love dandelions!” said Paper shyly, rustling her sheets.
“How beautiful those words sound in which there is no resentment. Well, here you have another color—yellow! Yellow, like the Sun, gives everyone light, joy, and the warmth of a kind smile!” Sunny Ray described. He settled more comfortably on the table edge, and asked Colors, “Do you know the color blue?”
“How can I not know it!” Colors marveled, “Blue is as glorious as our Sky!”
“The bluebells near the fence, and the butterflies that fluttered by yesterday, are also blue!” Paper added thoughtfully.
She was no longer angry but looked with interest out the window, where Summer showed her amazing colorful clothes.
“Blue gives to our World wisdom, boundless as the depths of the clear Sky, and lofty thoughts, free as birds!” continued Sunny Ray.
“Err . . . excuse me . . . what about green?” Brush asked quietly and added, “I like it so much!”
“Of course! How could we be without green!” smiled Sunny Ray affectionately. “Green gives the joy of inspiration and awakens the talents that everyone in our World has!”
“O-oo! I really like to look at the color green and draw!” Brush exclaimed enthusiastically, then carefully glanced at Paper.
Paper lay quietly on the table, not even moving one of her white sheets. She listened . . .
“I love watching the Sun setting . . .” she said wistfully, sighed, and added, “but Colors don’t have this purple.”
“How is that?!” Colors said excitedly. “If my red and blue mix, we will have purple!”
“Here’s another gift! Purple gives the World faith and hope for the best.” Sunny Ray described, sitting on the table edge and looking into the distance. The evening came and brought with it that same purple color. . . .
Paper rustled her sheets again and then whispered, “And . . . what about white? Is it needed?”
“Of course!” answered Sunny Ray, “How could we be without it? Where else can we see all colors? Only on white!”
Pondering, Paper rustled her sheets again, but not for long. She opened them and said to Colors and Brush, “I don’t mind . . . draw your spots!”
“They’re not just spots . . .” Brush, beginning to respond, stopped in surprise: proud Paper was different!
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend,” Paper said and added, “Paint! I will be happy . . .”
Sunny Ray looked at them and smiled. Then rising up, he disappeared into the Sky. Of course, sunrays have many deeds to do. . . .
Paper was no longer grumpy. She befriended Colors and Brush.
Since then, beautiful paintings have begun to appear on her sheets. Paper is very proud of them, considering them now not just spots, but real and amazing paintings. What is portrayed on them? The World!
In these paintings, Beauty of our World shines in different colors. Which Beauty? Beauty that is always close. . . .
Look around! Beauty of our World reminds us of itself! How?
From colors. . . .
Dandelion dreamed to fly. . . .
He looked at the clouds floating in the Sky and imagined their long journeys over the World. The clouds were always different, unlike each other: white and pink, fluffy and heavy, or barely visible in the blue Sky. They didn’t hurry anywhere, and sailed slowly, talking to each other and with Wind. It seemed that on a big canvas, an invisible artist was drawing scenes, surprising with his talent for all living everywhere.
Dandelion dreamed to fly. . . .
Here and today, as usual, he raised his bright yellow head to better see the celestial path of the traveling clouds. “Hey! You are stretching your neck up to nowhere! It has become very thin and long,” sounded a quiet, creaky voice. “You will grow old with your dream, someone will blow, and all will disappear as if it never was!”
Dandelion noticed Big Toad among the thickets of tall grass. Big Toad looked mockingly at Dandelion with her big bulging eyes, heavily crawled over a dry log, and hid under it from the summer’s heat.
“Well, now Big Toad is also laughing,” Dandelion thought sadly, but he did not hide his head, and it shone as a bright yellow spot among the green color of the grass. “Yesterday, I was tired of impudent Fox, and today—Big Toad”, he sighed and thoughtfully looked up at the Sky.
“How good it is for the birds and butterflies! They fly wherever they want. I want that too! It feels like just . . . a little more . . . and I will rise to the heights! Maybe there, breathing will be easier, and also there—closer to the Sun. I want to rise up someday, feel free, and see Beauty of our World from above. . . .”
Dandelion dreamed to fly. . . .
It is unknown where the light Wind came from and kindly stroked Dandelion, consoling after Big Toad’s hurtful words. There was someone buzzing nearby, “Good morning, beautiful Sunspot, little Sun on our Earth!” Dandelion saw a striped Bee, who was diligently collecting pollen from Chamomile. “Good morning!” he sincerely smiled in response. “Thank you for your kind words!”
Dandelion spread his leaf-arms, fluffed his head, and extended them towards the sunrays, which seem to remain in the labyrinth of thin petals-tubes of his flower. The sunrays caressed and warmed the flower, gently touching each petal, as a mother would talking with her child.
Dandelion dreamed to fly. . . .
In the meadow were many plants. Each of them has their own dreams and desires—everyone has their own conscious life. The plants are friends, sometimes arguing, but between them, and known only to them, they remain a mysterious green brotherhood.
Dandelion just knew that his friend and neighbor Bluebell has long been in love with the great blue Sky, and that white Chamomile, who every morning counted her petals, loves fairy tales.
Yet . . . only about his dream Dandelion told no one else. He kept it in the depths of himself, hidden from others. This is the same, as we carefully keep within, the greatest value of our treasure, which always gives strength.
Dandelion stretched his fluffy head, looking at the clouds, and it seemed to him like just a little more, and he would fly with them, floating in the air—light, transparent, free. . . .
“If you wish for something very much, it will come true.” Came to him the words of Butterfly, who often flew to him for nectar. And Dandelion wished to fly very much! At night he often had dreams of long journeys and interesting impressions, but the main sense in them was always a feeling of harmony, joy, and peace.
“If you wish for something very much, it will come true,” remembering Butterfly’s words again, Dandelion smiled and looked around. . . .
In the meadow, life was in full swing. Every living being was bustling to do their own deeds, and then, at the end of the day look at the stars, realizing that along with daily needs, there is something more in life. . . .
Dandelion dreamed to fly. . . .
The day ended imperceptibly, taking with it a series of thoughts and deeds. The Sun was going to rest, having painted the Sky with various shades of colors before bedtime. Night musicians tuned their instruments. The night quietly covered the Earth with a soft blanket. . . .
The first rays of the Sun woke the birds, and their songs spread all around, greeting the new Day. The mist gradually settled onto the stems, leaves, and flowers, washing them, and awakening them with its own coolness.
“Good morning,” Dandelion said, nodding his head, and suddenly . . . felt an unusual lightness. While he slept, something had happened to him! He could not explain what it was, but he understood: a very important and significant event took place in his life during the night. . . .
Dandelion reached for the clouds in the Sky and he, as usual, wanted to attend them on their long journeys, but . . . heard the excited whisper of his friend Bluebell, “Dandelion has become a cloud! Look, look! He has become a real cloud!” Bluebell repeated excitedly, looking him over, and not finding his friend’s familiar yellow hat.
“How beautiful! So very beautiful!” Chamomile nodded her head.
What are they talking about?” A puzzled Dandelion asked. “Good morning,” he said, embarrassed by such attention.
“Good morning, good morning!” hoarsely mimicked Big Toad, who protruded from under the dry log. “I warned you many times, but you were so smart, and didn’t listen. Why do you need the clouds? Wind will blow and all will be gone! So . . . you waited—now you have become like them.”
There was no insult or anger in Big Toad’s bulging eyes. Rolling hard from one side to the other, and looking at Dandelion with pity, she climbed again into her hiding place saying in farewell, “Well, so be it . . . good luck to you. Goodbye!”
“Why did she say that?” Dandelion thought in surprise but did not have time to answer. Suddenly a mischievous Wind appeared, laughed, and . . . blew!
Countless little hats broke away from Dandelion’s head and rose into the air. Dozens of celestial travelers, each of whom Dandelion gave his own wings, were able to make his cherished dream come true. They . . . flew away!
Thin modest fluffy parachutes carried with them seeds, that most precious of treasures, the continuation of life on Earth. Another masterpiece of Nature, her little creations, in which is all Wisdom and Beauty of the World. . . .
Wind picked up the fluffy parachute-seeds, and they, light and transparent, rose higher and higher into the Sky, catching up with the clouds. It was as if the silver stars in the morning Sky were gradually disappearing in the heights, so that somewhere far, far away, tired of their long journey, they could descend to our Earth and after a while, again become dandelions.
Dandelion dreamed to fly. . . .
Time passes from one day to the next. . . .
“It’s time to go!” said Wind and began to carefully pick up each small Dandelion’s fluffy parachute-seed, sending them all over Earth.
The fluffy parachute-seeds joyfully called out to each other and descended back onto Earth one by one. Wind left each one where each one was needed. . . .
“Now it’s time for me!” the next Fluffy Parachute-Seed said and flew like a small silver star to where, what is called one great word “Life”, awaited him.
Fluffy Parachute-Seed landed on the ground and looked around. “It’s very noisy here!” he thought.
Bees buzzed, collecting pollen from the flowers. Bluebells discussed the latest news. Grasshoppers hurried somewhere jumping over each other. Ground Beetle dragged a large piece of food by herself and moaned loudly about how hard it was to find food for the poor little ground beetles. Longtail Lizard warmed his sides in the Sun and watched Colorful Butterfly, who sat on a blade of grass and sang while carelessly examining itself in a sparkling mirror of dew.
After the silence of the spacious blue Sky and fluffy white clouds, it was unusual and funny to see and hear all of these cares. Fluffy Parachute-Seed was about to fly further when he heard very close by, “Hey! Fluffy guy!”
He looked around and saw Green Big Toad.
“Who are you?” the toad asked in surprise and, heavily waddling, moved closer.
“Me? I am Dandelion!” Fluffy Parachute-Seed said proudly, thought a little . . . and added, “I can fly!”
Old Apple Tree rejoiced the next morning. . . .
She did not count how many there would be. She knew that she had very little left, but this feeling did not give her last days a sad tone.
“All mine,” she replied to Gray Crow, who asked about it in Winter. Gray Crow sat down on a branch and brazenly asked how much she, Old Apple Tree, still thinks about standing and whether will she be able to bloom this year.
There had been almost no apples on her in recent years, so Old Apple Tree did not hold resentment toward Gray Crow. She understood that it would not be long. Some of her branches were withered and her trunk, long torn by severe winter frosts, leaned to the ground.
Spring came in cold, with rains, and frosts. The real heat came very late. Her younger neighbors, some from overseas and very valuable varieties, did not even bloom.
Late in the evening, Old Master approached her. “You are getting old, just like me.” He kindly stroked her bark with wrinkled hands and slowly went into the house.
Old Apple Tree and Old Master were the same age, as far back as they could remember, they had grown up with each other.
The children loved them so much! They enjoyed Old Apple Tree’s delicious juicy apples, and because she was good to sit on, dangling their legs . . . o-oo, how many children’s secrets she knew! Children loved Old Master’s toys, which no one created better than he. . . .
When the first truly warm days began, Old Apple Tree gathered all her last strength and blossomed, feeling the fragrant spring air! Each bud from the still-living branches helped her, adorning Old Apple Tree with white-white blooms.
The flowers covered the blackened branches with a magnificent veil, and Old Apple Tree, just as in its youth, easily swayed them.
“The apple tree, Old Apple Tree has blossomed!” chattered the children.
Old Master was not surprised, he stroked her trunk and said thoughtfully, “You want to go, Belle . . .”
Old Master had taken much on his shoulders. He had been living alone for a long time, but he was not alone. Is it possible to be lonely if Kindness and Love live in the heart? That is probably, why children so loved his toys. Small, made of clay and then dried in the oven, the toys were always different from each other not only in appearance and color but also in sounds.
Old Master’s toys sang! The sounds were so beautiful, like singing spring birds, river water, bumblebees in the meadow, the wind in the leaves of the trees. . . .
Children, and even adults, sometimes brought the small lump of clay to their lips and a song poured out into the air. . . . Everyone sang according to their own, so the sounds were different. Some were bright, happy, strong; some soulfully poignant and sad.
How glowing were the faces of those who sang together with their toy! Like a spring that is happy to quench thirst, they talked with their own. . . .
Lately, Old Master made a lot of toys and, without regret, he sincerely gave them to people. So, those who share the warmth from their hearts with others do not regret giving away their creations.
His heart was a little tired of the lived years, and more and more was reminded of it, but Old Master was not worried. “Everything has its own time.”
Old Apple Tree was blooming, and she knew: for the last time. She would give delicious pink apples to Old Master and everyone who came to her.
Her apples with fading red stripes on the sides carried a special aroma and taste. Nobody knew what kind it was—there was no such variety in the whole neighborhood.
For so many years, in Autumn, Old Apple Tree shared the wealth she had, even as it was becoming more and more difficult for her.
This year she was losing all her strength and did not regret it. . . .
“You’ll wither completely! It would be better if you were to grow at your pleasure—you will live longer,” said Gray Crow, looking at her in disapproval. “Why do you give someone else the last one?” she asked Old Apple Tree, perched on a branch. Old Apple Tree didn’t know what to answer: to do otherwise, she couldn’t.
What you give sincerely carries Love, and awakens feelings with which the one, who considered himself weak, becomes stronger. Gray acquires color when you understand that next to everyday worries and difficulties, there is the greater Joy of Life. . . .
When you see the light of happiness in others’ eyes, is it possible to regret the warmth of your heart? Old Master did not regret it . . . even knowing it was the last.
Summer had given her days to Autumn. Wandering birds stretched into the Sky like thin ribbons. The Sun covered the neighborhood with its gilding that shone, surprising with its richness of colors. Light cobwebs were flying in the air. Silence, and only occasionally the crystal cries of cranes were heard. . . .
Old Apple Tree sighed, looked at her still-living branches, and smiled.
Pink, fragrant apples hung on them! How many there were! Nobody could remember such majesty. But everyone understood: it was for a reason.
Even the children waited for the apples to ripen, not plucking them early, so that later, at a certain time, they could carefully hold in their palms the amazing miracle of inspiration.
Old Master had finished his last toy—a gift. The toy appeared quickly and somehow was especially beautiful. It always happens when there is Beauty living in the heart. Old Master will give it to the little boy with a bell voice who ran to him yesterday. He sighed—a little rest would be. . . .
He went to Old Apple Tree, sat down, and leaned his back to her.
Old Master and Old Apple Tree were together.
How much did they have left?
They did not count the time, did not think about what will happen tomorrow or whether tomorrow will be at all.
They watched the Sun drop down and were amazed at this miracle all over again. . . .
White Cloud looked in her pocket and saw the last Little Snowflake there. . . .
“How didn’t I notice you?” White Cloud asked in surprise.
The pocket was big. . . . Last Little Snowflake was sitting quietly in the corner and not moving. White Cloud looked down at Earth and asked, “Why are you hiding here? Look, there are your friends! And you’re in no hurry. . . . Why?”
Little Snowflake clung to White Cloud’s soft fluffy pocket and said quietly, “I don’t want to! I’m fine here! With you.”
White Cloud swayed in the Sky, “Everyone begins their own journey someday. . . . “Your time has also come.”
“I don’t know . . . what is my journey?”
“If you do good deeds, your journey will be good.”
“I’m very small! Can I do anything?” Little Snowflake asked, looking around uncertainly.
“You can! From small deeds, large deeds come. It is important to do them sincerely!” White Cloud smiled, carefully raising the last Little Snowflake up in her pocket. “Look!”
Little Snowflake looked down and saw Earth. . . . There, in a bewitching dance, the snowflakes were circling easily, looking similar to her and at the same time not quite. Each of them had their own unique exquisite crystal pattern.
The snowflakes sparkled beautifully in the Sun quietly floating down to Earth, creating a large white blanket and gently covering all corners, to protect every living being from the winter’s frost.
“And what will happen after?” asked Little Snowflake, looking to White Cloud, then down to Earth, which was becoming completely white.
“Our Earth will become stronger: resting in Winter, waking up in Spring, and will give everyone the Joy of Life.”
“And where will we snowflakes be?”
“You will return to me as drops of water, and after a time, will become snowflakes again!”
“Will it always be so?”
“Yes, always!” replied White Cloud.
Little Snowflake sat still for a moment, clinging to the edge of White Cloud’s soft fluffy pocket, and then, flew away. . . . The little sparkling beauty was circling in the cold winter air. Floating down, she caught up with her friends, to support together the strength of our Earth. . . .
Forest lived in the World. How old he was, Forest could not remember. None of his inhabitants even knew: it all happened such a long time ago. Forest never thought about it; he just lived. . . .
Forest loved the Sun. He felt Sun’s light and warmth, while happily stretching his arms–branches. Forest thanked the Sun for being on Earth. The Sun loved Forest and greeted him every day, touching him with his sunrays.
Forest lived in a circle of time. With the singing voices of birds, he awoke in Spring, breathing the aroma of flowers and honey in Summer. In Autumn, he sincerely gifted everyone his treasures, then, a little weary, he rested in Winter. Winter covered him with a soft white blanket, and Forest fell asleep, waking up at the right time, and continuing the familiar circle: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter.
Little Fluffy Cloud lived in the World. She had been born very recently and was childishly mischievous, even a little naughty. Little Fluffy Cloud was interested in everything that was happening all around. She also liked to run across the Sky in a race with Light Wind. Her grandma, Old Heavy Cloud, looking at them, was not angry but occasionally muttered: “Ooh! There’s no stopping you!”
Little Fluffy Cloud ran across the Sky too much and got tired. She nestled up to Big Pine Tree growing on a hill and decided to rest.
Forest noticed Little Fluffy Cloud in the morning. She, like a baby, slept sweetly on Big Pine’s crown. Forest smiled, seeing how tenderly Big Pine had covered the fluffy traveler from the night’s cool air. He sprinkled drops of dew on both and they woke up.
“Why are you bothering us?” Little Fluffy Cloud asked.
“The day has begun—enough sleeping!” laughed Forest.
“It’s been three days since I was born!” exclaimed Little Fluffy Cloud.
She hid under the branch, then peered out, and settled upstairs. “And when were you born? When is your Birthday?” she asked.
Forest was confused, “I don’t know. I don’t have one . . .”
“How can it be?” asked Little Fluffy Cloud to Big Pine.
Big Pine lowered her branches shyly and sighed, “Nobody knows. It was a long time ago. . . .”
“You need to know your Birthday!” Little Fluffy Cloud said decisively and look around. . . .
The new day began, and the Sun rose to work again: cherishing, combing, hugging, and warming.
Little Fluffy Cloud called out to Light Wind. They whispered about something, and he quickly disappeared—as if he had never been there.
Little Fluffy Cloud rose into the Sky above, and announced, “Do you know that today is our Forest’s Birthday?”
Such an announcement was so unexpected that silence fell throughout the Forest. Probably for the first time, his inhabitants thought about when someone, who was always a reliable friend, appeared in the World.
“Do I have a Birthday?” Forest whispered in surprise.
“You do!” Little Fluffy Cloud laughed.
Light Wind appeared in the blue Sky, pushing Old Heavy Cloud in front of him. She was grumbling unhappily but Little Fluffy Cloud whispered something to her . . . and Forest felt a warm gentle rain shower down from above! Small sparkling drops of water fell from the Sky and jumped on the green steps of foliage, descending lower and lower to Earth. The Sun laughed, and his smile shone in these drops, cheerfully shimmering in different colors. . . .
“Look, look! Our Forest has been given a rainbow for his Birthday!” exclaimed the inhabitants.
“It’s a miracle! I’ve seen it before, but to receive it as a gift on their own holiday! What a precious gift!” Big Pine said admiringly.
Light Wind supported her, “What is done sincerely, from the heart, is most valuable.”
“Thank you for the congratulations, but I’m sorry, I don’t remember . . . do I really have such a day?” Forest smiled modestly.
“It will be now!” replied Old Heavy Cloud, puffing slightly at her weight.
“Everyone should have their own Birthday!” concluded Little Fluffy Cloud.
And suddenly, it became clear to everyone: Little Fluffy Cloud was right! The young, childishly naughty Little Fluffy Cloud had said something that was, and will always be, very important. If there is Life in the World, it must have been born someday. Everyone has their Birthday in the World. . . .
Birthdays and Life are equally joyful, one cannot exist without the other. It doesn’t matter when or where you were born what is most important is, that it happened!
Starling walked along the path, occasionally looking around. . . .
Proudly folding his wings behind his back, throwing forward his long thin legs, he thought about only one thing, “Do I look significant?”
He stumbled upon Earthworm, looked at him, sighed, “Well, I do need to eat something, but . . .” and went on. At first, Earthworm was terrified that he would be eaten, but then he came to his senses and, slipping off the path, quickly slithered to hide in the rain-softened soil.
Seeing this, the neighbors–wagtails laughed, but Starling turned up his beak and saw no one but himself. Yes, yes! He admired himself, imagining himself from all sides. Only lately he had become more and more worried, “Am I significant enough?”
When this question began to bother him as a daily thought, he went out to the path and began to walk back and forth, waiting for one of his acquaintances, or maybe even strangers, to say something pleasant.
“If I raise my head higher and turn my beak to the side, it will be quite good! Er . . . it’s a little uncomfortable, but no one walks like me!” he reasoned, stumbling occasionally on pebbles scattered on the path.
Starling reached the tall reeds that grew on the bank of the pond, and then, elegantly spinning on one foot, turned back. He did not count how many times this exercise was repeated, he just walked and waited for someone to finally notice. But for some reason, no one looked at him.
Everyone was hurrying.
“Well, now Ground Beetle will definitely pay attention to me. She is running exactly in my direction. Well! I will raise my beak higher, and I won’t even say: ‘Hello!’ If she gets offended, I will say: ‘I don’t have time! I have a lot to do!’” Starling thought and raised his beak even higher.
Ground Beetle did say ‘Hello’, but she ran somewhere so fast that she didn’t notice either. An acquaintance, Crane, was carrying something tasty. He looked at Starling and, saying nothing, flew away. “Well, I also need to eat something.” Starling thought again, sighed, and . . . walked on.
“Hey! Not tired yet?” Someone’s question was heard from the reeds. Out of surprise, Starling stumbled and plopped down on the path. His thin, long legs, with knotty knees, ridiculously stretched forward.
Realizing that his appearance was not significant at all, Starling raised his beak even higher and, without turning his head, asked, “Excuse me, do you have a conversation for me?”
“‘You have’, ‘for me’?!” someone mimicked from the thickets. “I have nothing for you, I am watching over my kids! But you have been here so many times: back–and–forth. At first, it seemed that you had lost something and maybe needed help, but now I see . . . no—is this really how to look for something lost?”
Water Rat’s sharp nose protruded from the reeds. “So, why are you wasting your time?” he asked.
Out of surprise, Starling lowered his beak and, blinking his eyes, looked at Water Rat not knowing what to say. But then he remembered his significance again, got up, and, throwing his wings behind his back, moved on.
“What is he?” Magpie asked Water Rat.
“And you need to know everything! From morning to evening, you only feed on chatter!” grumbled Water Rat.
“Ah-hah . . . that’s it! I already understand!” confidently screamed Magpie and hurried on. “Well, okay . . . bye!”
“You don’t understand anything!” shouted Water Rat, but Magpie was already far away.
The Sun filled the day with warmth. Starling tired and sat down on a birch branch.
“Look, look . . . Starling! Magpie said: ‘Starling is thinking about something very significant!’” came a whisper from above.
Starling listened with pleasure, “Ooh! Finally, it’s what I have been waiting for! It’s about me . . .”
Nearby, on the branch, two tomtits were talking to each other.
“And what is significant?” Small Tomtit asked the larger one.
Big Tomtit was silent for a while, then replied, “That which everyone needs . . .”
“And me too?”
“O–o . . . And . . . is it enough for everyone?”
Big Tomtit laughed, “Is the Sun, Sky, Water, and Land enough for all of us?”
“Are those the most significant things?”
“Yes . . . and also Love.”
“Is there also enough Love for everyone?”
Big Tomtit laughed again and answered kindly, “Love can’t be measured. It has no limits.”
The tomtits flew away. Light Wind slightly swayed the branches and seemed to agree, “Yes, yes, yes. . . .”
Starling sat on the birch branch and thought about . . . significance. Only now, for him, it was different. Starling remembered how amazing it was to see morning from his house: the beautiful Sky, the Sun. . . . How wonderful to fly home and know that there is someone waiting for you.
“Is it possible to be without? No. . . .” he reasoned.
One by one, memories came. There were so many of them, that probably a day would not be long enough to describe them all. . . . And the more he remembered, the less significant it seemed to him: how he looked on the outside. If you see in life more than yourself, only then will you notice what is around you. . . .
Starling looked at his thin long legs with knotty knees and smiled happily,
“Funny . . . how much time I have wasted.”
Magpie noisily sank to the branch beside him.
“Hey! How’s your head?” she asked, and without waiting for an answer continued, “Everyone is wondering what you think about all the time!”
Starling commiserated, “Are you tired?”
Magpie tilted her head suspiciously, looking: is he laughing at me? But her curiosity was stronger, so she could not resist, “Not too much . . . so, what are you thinking?
“Well, about . . . significance. . . .”
Magpie shook her head in surprise and asked, “Which one?”
They discussed it for a long time, sometimes agreeing, sometimes differing. The Sun hid behind the tops of the trees and took the heat of the day along with him.
Starling and Magpie sat on the birch branch and decided for themselves the questions that are really significant for everyone who asks them at some point in life. . . .
Light Wind, slightly swaying the branches, listened to them and seemed to agree, “Yes, yes, yes. . . .”
Curious Piglet was poking his inquisitive nose everywhere. . . .
His nose was really very inquisitive. Actually, it was difficult to call his nose a ‘nose’. Button! Yes! Yes! A button, with two small holes! This button-nose always appeared where nobody expected it to be. When it appeared—what else, but along with it, the questions appeared, of which Curious Piglet had many.
Perhaps that is why there were never enough answers. Curious Piglet has pestered everyone in the Farmyard with his ‘What?’ and ‘Why?’ But most of all, Curious Piglet bothered proud Turkey. He had long held a grudge toward Curious Piglet. . . .
“Why do you, Mr. Turkey, have a long stocking hanging instead of a nose?” Curious Piglet had somehow asked, and since then no one addressed Turkey in any other way.
On this early morning, Curious Piglet could not find the answer to a very important question: “Why do I need such a nose?” When he asked Turkey about it, Turkey grinned caustically and replied, “To see clearly . . .”
“To see what?” said Curious Piglet not understanding.
Turkey was silent for a moment and added, “To notice what others do not see, you need to dig deeper. Whoever is capable of this, is the smartest.”
As soon as Curious Piglet heard the word ‘smartest’, somewhere in his stomach, he felt something very sweet. “M-mm . . .” He even sighed, reminding himself that this is exactly what Mrs. Farmer calls him when she brings food.
He sighed again and, in a voice trembling with excitement, asked carefully, “And . . . where should I dig?”
Turkey looked around him and nodded, “Everywhere!”
“How can I . . . everywhere?” Curious Piglet asked in surprise.
“Yes . . . everywhere!” Turkey continued very kindly, only his small eyes gleamed spitefully.
Piglet looked around and asked again, “E-ee . . .where is the best?”
Turkey thought a little and responded, “Well. Where everyone is, but where they don’t notice what only you can find!”
“O-oo . . . How does it look?” Piglet whispered breathlessly.
“I don’t know! I don’t have a nose like yours! Besides, as you said, I have a ‘long stocking’ hanging instead of a nose.” Turkey said these words in disgust, but probably not in vain because, after such sincere advice, Curious Piglet was no longer there. . . .
When Mrs. Farmer came out onto the porch, the yard was unrecognizable! Holes dug by Curious Piglet stretched along the yard in orderly paths! What had happened near the fence was difficult to describe! Mrs. Farmer gasped and sat down on the porch with her head in her hands.
Curious Piglet saw her out of the corner of his eye. “O-oo! She is in awe of my smartness!” he thought. So, he did not stop working but, on the contrary, dug with even greater zeal, plowing a piece of soft earth with his button-nose right in front of the porch.
Something whistled and Piglet felt a burn where his tail grew from. It wasn’t so much painful as embarrassing. Curious Piglet did not understand why he could not show everyone how smart he was. No one had such a wonderful button-nose as he! He showed his abilities so diligently, and he was not even thanked for the work done. . . .
His tail hung a little. Curious Piglet stopped and sighed: “If they could just hear me!” He wanted to say something . . . but he saw Mrs. Farmer’s furious eyes, looked back at his tail, and turned to his little shed.
“All for nothing! Nobody needs my smartness!” he thought. He lowered his ears sadly and, jumping over his pits, moved away. . . .
Turkey, looking at Curious Piglet with pleasure, pulled forward his ‘long stocking’, and hissed, “Well, did you get thanks, ‘Button-nose’?”
Turkey closed his eyes, waiting for a quiet and confused Curious Piglet’s gasp, but . . . he heard nothing!
Curious Piglet plodded around Turkey, passed his little shed, and . . . continued on.
He sat down on a hill and tilted his scratched button-nose to the warm Sun . . . just sat and warmed up. And then thought, “If I have a nose that is so convenient for digging, he absolutely has to find something . . . interesting and smart. Otherwise, why do I have such a nose?”
His tail still hurt a little, but the thought of his own smartness was no longer sweet in his stomach.
There was no burden of self-importance either. That is why it became easier. Having warmed up a little more in the Sun, Curious Piglet went digging further. Where? Where it is interesting. . . .
Chicken laid the egg! Another one. . . .
She looked, and again plain, not golden. She expected that exactly today she would definitely have a golden one. It will be shining over the whole chicken coop. And now look! As usual, it was slightly yellowish, with small spots on its sides! Chicken looked into the neighbor’s hen nests and sighed, “Hm! As everyone has . . . Pff!”
She didn’t want to go to the yard—it was too noisy there. She sat down in the chicken coop by the small window, closed her eyes, and fell silent. Chicken dreamed of how she would lay her cherished golden egg. . . . She really wanted it, but so far, all in vain.
“Ooh, I’ll lay this egg and immediately become famous,” thought Chicken with pleasure, imagining herself in a beautiful chicken coop.
“Not just a chicken coop! It will be a Palace! No less! Because the egg will be gold! Only a Palace will do! Even the food will pour into my beak—just open up and that’s all. Ooh, this is the life!” Chicken became so obsessed with her own thoughts, that she fell asleep. Of course, birds sleep while sitting, and is Chicken not a bird? And Chicken saw an unusual dream. . . .
It was as if Mrs. Farmer came to her and brought grain, not for anyone, but only to her, Chicken. This grain is unusual: gold and big! Shining, shimmering so that the eyes hurt to look at it. . . .
“Here,” says Mrs. Farmer, “when you have eaten all the grain, you will begin to lay golden eggs. I will take these eggs to the farm fair and sell them. For this, I will buy you a beautiful cage as a gift. This cage is a real Palace. There is water in a saucer and grain pours directly into your beak—just open up. Even a flower grows in a pot. You will live in it like a real lady!” Chicken rejoiced, cackled as if she had already put a dozen such eggs in Mrs. Farmer’s basket, and . . . woke up. She looked around, all the same, as before: chicken coop and a small window. . . .
She sighed, wanted to go out into the yard, but saw something shining in the corner . . . like gold! Chicken’s heart pounded. She barely got to that place: such excitement swept her . . . looks . . . grain! Golden! Big! Lying in the corner! Where did it come from?
Chicken remembered her dream and began to eat. Pecking frantically—nothing left for anyone! Looks around, and again—only her beak flickers! Not even a minute has passed, and the grain is no more—like it had never been! “Oh! Last ones!” Barely breathing, she collected the last grains in her beak. “Ooh! Done! Hopefully, no one noticed! Ooh! I need to go . . . Mrs. Farmer is already calling—probably looking for me.”
Chicken went out into the yard and saw all the chickens were also feeding, only their grain was the usual. “No,” she thought, “I won’t touch this grain now and I won’t tell anyone! I will wait until my golden eggs appear!”
She puffed up and went aside . . . barely walking. It’s difficult: the grain is big, and she had eaten too much . . . just a bit more and . . . fall from her beak.
“I won’t tell anyone,” she thinks, “I’ll lay eggs like no one else. A Palace will be built for me, just like for a real lady!”
“H-mm, it seems Chicken doesn’t want to eat anything,” Mrs. Farmer thought, closely watching Chicken. “Is she sick?”
“O-oo! Mrs. Farmer is waiting for my golden eggs, counting what size they will be and how well she will sell them at the farm fair!” Chicken, thought in turn, waddling heavily towards the chicken coop.
“I will sit somewhere in the corner and wait for my time.” Sitting down by the window again, “Maybe, I ate a little bit too much. But . . . oh well! How could I leave it for anyone else?! Let it wait in my beak, then somehow shake it down slowly.”
She sighed and began to daydream again, “I’ll live in a Palace. If the golden eggs are big—let them also build for me a big Palace. Yes, yes! Only big! A Palace with carpets . . . and musicians will play while I lay my golden eggs. Hm! Of course, the eggs are worth it!”
But Chicken must have really eaten too much. Sitting on the roost was very uncomfortable and she was finding it difficult to breathe. For some reason, the grain stayed up and did not fall down somewhere as usual. Sometimes it was like this: eat a little too much—it happens. But somehow it always settled down slowly in her stomach. But this—no, it stuck somewhere in the middle, even protruding forward in rough lumps.
“It’s nothing!” Chicken thought. “I will suffer, of course, the grain is golden. Not just anything!”
She moved with difficulty and was about to doze off again when she heard an angry howl very close by: “Ooh! How many days have I been hiding those seeds, and now there are none!” Chicken almost fell down! She clenched the pole with all of her strength and did not move a muscle.
In the same corner where the chicken’s golden grain had gleamed now sat Gray Rat. He slapped his fat paws on his fat belly in despair and cried, “Oooh-ooh! How much work! How many nights without sleep! How many ears of corn I pulled down, ground, stacked, and hidden! And now?! I only left for an hour and look! Nothing! How much work, how much work!” wailed Gray Rat, clasping his head.
Chicken looked down at Gray Rat, and the grain she ate seemed to grow a little bit, ready to spew on Gray Rat from above.
“Poor guy! How miserable he suffers!” she thought, clinging to the roost with even greater strength. “Ooh! That’s how it is in life: someone is lucky and another not . . . I will have a Palace soon, and someone else has nothing to eat.” She wanted to sympathize but where is there—she couldn’t! The grain wedged her beak.
Meanwhile, feeling sorry for himself, Gray Rat lamented, “It’s Autumn now, and Winter is coming soon! How am I . . . ? I’ll die of hunger!” He howled louder and louder, “And the grain! What amazing corn I collected! Like nuggets of gold!”
As soon as Chicken heard the words, ‘Like nuggets of gold!’ in her, it seems at first glance, not so intelligent head, everything quickly fell into place.
With a loud “Ku-da! Ku-da! C-co-corn!” Chicken flew out into the yard and ran! Where? She doesn’t know . . . but, apparently, out of horror or shame, the grain got lost on the way.
She ran for a long time. And it became easier. . . . Maybe because the weight of gold and shiny things, which is such a pity to lose, did not oppress anymore.
Or maybe, while running around the neighborhood, she realized that any beautiful Palace cannot replace the feeling that you have when you run in the meadow. Even though you run, and don’t fly in the Sky, and even with the remnants of weight. Yet . . . she is a bird. . . .
Chicken laid another egg . . . plain, slightly yellowish, with small spots on the sides. Not golden . . . why does she need that? In Spring from the lost grain, here and there tall corn grew, surprising Mrs. Farmer: “Where did it come from?”
Yesterday Rooster lost his alarm clock. O-oh! This alarm clock was beautiful: little and graceful, with two shiny sticks and a chic hat. O-oh! The alarm clock was always under Rooster’s wing, and now it is gone! O-oh! Actually, Rooster knew well when to wake up and go to sleep.
The inhabitants of the Farmyard respected him for his punctuality. But, of course, each deed needs its own time. Rooster reminded everyone of this, that time passes very quickly, and we need to cherish every moment. He determined this by watching how quickly the sparkling sticks in the alarm clock’s white circle moved.
Rooster didn’t quite understand why they were needed, but he felt that exactly with them, the sticks, time passes. . . .
“O-oh! Where is my alarm clock now? Is it able to count time? And what if not?” Rooster looked around the Farmyard in confusion and sighed. “M-mm . . . It was such a spectacular alarm clock! How nice it was when I took it! Especially when I tilted my head to the side, observed the movement on the white circle with neat spots, and then stretched my neck, closed my eyes, and . . . ‘Cock-a-doodle-doo!’ O-oh! It was incomparable. . . .”
So, the alarm clock had disappeared. It was nowhere to be seen! That very morning, Rooster searched around the whole Farmyard, even looking in each chicken’s nest. Vanished! It was so shameful. To lose such value!
In all honesty, that happened yesterday. But since early evening, Rooster had pretended it hadn’t happened. Walking as always, with his right-wing outstretched, as if his alarm clock is still there.
“H-mm. Where could I have lost it? I didn’t see too much fussing over at the food trough. Maybe I should ask the Chickens about it? O-oh! No, it doesn’t make any sense,” Rooster thought, walking back and forth in the Farmyard, “they will raise a howl “Ku-da, ku-da!” No! Better to look alone!”
Rooster stepped back and looked closely at the inhabitants of the Farmyard. They did not pay much attention to Rooster, they were engaged in their everyday affairs. “H-mm. Everyone bustles for themselves and isn’t worrying about anything else!” sighed Rooster.
Sad thoughts left his head with anxiety. “I need to keep track of time, but my alarm clock is gone. Did it get stolen!? Of course! My alarm clock is so beautiful!”
Rooster looked around suspiciously. “H-mm . . . Well, that fat Duck is always late—probably doesn’t have enough time. H-mm! And . . . old Goat somehow looks at everyone, differently. Usually, he just stands, staring with ‘bulging eyes’, but today . . . where has Motley Chicken disappeared to? Has she not laid an egg yet? It’s so late!”
Rooster, by force of habit, swerved his head toward his wing, where his own value had always been. And again was reminded—it is gone! A shiver ran all the way to his tail. “O-oh! And what if my alarm clock was not just stolen, but those sparkling sticks were broken, and time stopped?! That’s right—stolen!” Rooster finally decided.
A feeling of self-responsibility strengthens everyone. . . . Nothing in the World could stop Rooster from finding the lost time and giving time back to everyone. Rooster raised his head resolutely, “I will find it! Absolutely! Wherever it is hidden!” He looked around, jumped up once, a second time . . . looked around again, thought for a while, and, wagging his long tail, ran to the big dump. . . .
From afar, everyone could see pieces of rotten straw, remnants of greenery, and other things flying about. At first, the farm inhabitants paid no attention, but then looked closely, carefully asking each other, “What is it with Rooster? Why does he need to do this?” Nobody knew.
Pig, despite the lumps of garbage flying in all directions, went closer and sympathized, “Hard, isn’t it? Can I help you? I have more experience in such matters!” But Rooster didn’t hear and dug earnestly looking for what he lost—only his toes flickered. It was an interesting spectacle!
Gradually, it was no longer possible for everyone to push through to the dump, and see. The farmyard inhabitants stood nearby and were surprised: “Oh! Such a respectable bird, and now look . . .”
There was no alarm clock. . . .
Rooster was tired, his dirty comb slipped over his eyes.
At last, he stopped, sat down on what was a pile of trash, and looked around. Around him stood all the spectators. At first, he wanted to run away, but remembered his responsibility for time and sighed, “I need to tell them the truth that there is no time now, and that he, Rooster, lost the alarm clock yesterday, and cannot find it!” Rooster opened his beak, but . . . passing the fat Duck, one by one, the chicks rolled out to him.
The little yellow fluffy balls were barely dragging something dusty on a thin chain. “Mr. Rooster! We . . . we found your alarm clock!” one of them said, breathing heavily from the quick run. “We saved it from that shameless Magpie!” another one added proudly. All the farmyard inhabitants were agitated, making noises, discussing where and when such a valuable thing could have been lost.
Rooster carefully picked up what he had been looking for. Oh! His alarm clock! Little and graceful with two sparkling sticks and a chic hat on top! Affectionately, he wiped the lovely white circle, chic hat, and pressed it to himself. “Oh! Moving! Time is running!” The sticks moved as swiftly as they always had. “Time is not gone! Time is here! With me!” proudly announced Rooster, raising his alarm clock up so it could be seen by all.
“It didn’t get lost,” Rooster heard from somewhere behind. He looked around and saw old Goat. Goat stood, staring at everyone, slowly chewing some greenery. “Time cannot be lost. What you have sparkles—is a beautiful toy. But it only reminds us about time. Like you . . .” Goat continued, “Time does not stop . . . It always goes forward. . . .” He said and went about his affairs. Rooster became embarrassed.
Time had gone by without paying any attention to where his alarm clock was. “There, the Sun in the Sky is already high! Hmm! I, Rooster, was so proud of being chief of time.”
The chicks told everyone where they had found the alarm clock and how bravely they had fought with Magpie. The farm inhabitants were buzzing, expressing their excitement for what was lost and what was found.
Rooster approached the fence and placed the alarm clock on it. He stepped away, stopped, and looked back: “Perfect!”
He noticed Magpie sitting on a branch next to him watching everything happening in the Farmyard. “Don’t steal it. Okay? Save it for everyone!” he said, started to leave, then stopped and looked around again. “Beautiful!”
The alarm clock shone! It seemed that the Sun, along with the sparkling sticks, moved on the whitish circle, reminding everyone of how quickly time passes and how precious every moment of it is. What about Rooster?
He is singing . . . as before. When? When it is necessary. He knows. As before, he is respected for his accuracy and for his sincerity. He stretches his neck forward, closes his eyes, and calls out: “Cock-a-doodle-doo!”
O-oo! It is incomparable. . . .
Stone lay warming his back. As long as he could remember, he had laid there. Many times people had wanted to take him away: someone from them for a foundation, some for other needs, but nothing had worked. So he continued to lay. . . .
Stone was distinctive: large, white, with smooth, moss-covered edges.
Near Stone was a road. The road was almost completely overgrown—only tracks barely visible here and there.
Stone looked out at the road every day, and from time to time it reminded him of what was saved in his deep wrinkles forever. . . .
Stone’s back finally warmed up. He happily absorbed the still warm autumn sunrays after a cold night. His own weight did not bother him, it seemed that in recent years he had even risen a little closer to the Sun. Stone loved Autumn. Autumn always brought with her bright colors from which all could feel good. Autumn also brought memories. . . .
At that time the road wasn’t overgrown with grass: along it people on horseback or on foot hurried endlessly, carrying with them the things they needed.
“Where are they all running to, and why are they dragging what they are not always really able to convey?” thought Stone, smiling when someone again tried to pull him out of the place where he lay, and as far as he could remember, had always laid.
In general, people stopped near him quite often, because it was very convenient. It was difficult to find a better companion than Stone: he could not talk, but he could listen. And not only to people but also to those with them. Also, Stone lay on a high hill, from which the whole neighborhood was clearly visible.
On a cloudy morning, when the Wind had not yet stretched the gray strands of thick fog, two figures appeared on the road: an old Mare and, the same, an old Man who, sweetly snoring, watched his dream from the deck of a cart.
Mare pulled hard. Breathing unevenly, she dragged by herself countless sacks, large and small bags, and something else wrapped in a rough piece of cloth.
Near Stone, Mare stopped in weariness, and then, not hearing the usual cry: “But–o, hey, go!” she carefully turned aside and began to slowly eat the grass, which, despite it being late Autumn, here on the hill, was always juicy.
Deliciously crunching the stalks, she tried to move the reins as quietly as possible, but they rattled sarcastically, reminding her who she was, and who she was tugging. . . .
Tugging. . . . How many years she had tugged. Even not knowing where she was tugging. Where she was shown. Without asking if she was tired or if she had eaten well. “Mare? Tug—and that’s it!”
She tugged. . . . At first, when she was still young, she tried to kick, but then she calmed down: “Others are also tugging . . . why am I better than them?”
Mare was not against the burden. She was not opposed to taking on herself what they were not able to carry themselves, but even to know where. . . .
“If only a little bit less . . . why so much?” In her big beautiful eyes, like in a mirror, thoughts were reflected. Mare rubbed her muzzle upon Stone and started to converse. . . .
The best help might be . . . silence. Stone knew this and so, even if he was able to speak, he would still be silent. Silence keeps silence . . . only in silence, can you hear yourself. . . . Maybe then you will find the best yourself?
Mare tells about her life. Without seeking pity, she talked with herself about herself. . . . Stone listened and wondered: how many times he had seen tears, heard grievances, and insults. There was no such thing now!
Mare did not moan, did not curse her fate, she talked to herself that she was tired of going, not her Way.
She watched as Autumn spread her motley handkerchief on Earth and, only occasionally sighing, talked about how she would like to wake up there, where her big, gentle, and kind heart called.
She is not afraid of work. It is understandable: she is a mare. But why the shouts and whip? Mare did not ask for help. . . . She fell silent, and carefully began to crunch the grass again, occasionally looking at the one who was still sweetly snoring, among the sacks.
Stone was silent. . . . Could he help her? He, Stone, who had always been pleased with his position, was proud of his permanency, now painfully felt his helplessness. Big, smart, but . . . powerless! It is not true that stones do not cry.
The wheel of the cart caught Stone’s side once . . . twice. . . .
It is unknown how much strength, at first glance, inanimate beings retain in themselves, and how much joy or sadness they are sometimes able to convey! Stone tried . . . and how!
The wheel caught on Stone’s side again and . . . like a toy, shattered into small pieces! Along with the burden, the feeling of fate’s hopelessness disappeared. The cart that had oppressed for so many years, collapsed! Numerous straps fell off, and Mare became free!
Mare stepped out of the shafts, the collar slipped from her, the bit dropped, and, miserably banging off Stone, fell to the grass. She did not hear the screams that flew after her.
She was going on Earth and felt her. . . .
Mare was going where her big, gentle, and kind heart called. Sadness disappeared from her eyes and appeared Beauty. Into these eyes, you can gaze endlessly.
What about Stone?
Stone saw the happiness of another and rejoiced. He was also happy . . . Is there anything that can stop it?
How many times after that Autumn had come, Stone did not count. He would always recognize this Mare . . . by her eyes.
She was no longer on this road. . . . She was going somewhere on her Own Way. . . .
Stone lay and basked in the Sun, happily absorbing the last warm autumn rays on his back, saving in deep wrinkles, memories: Mare, Beauty, and Way. . . .
The cold autumn Wind tore at the leaves in a large park for a long time, tired, and wanting to fly on, but decided to rest.
As Wind calmed down and settled on top of a tree, he heard a faint voice singing. It was as if a transparent stream of translucent high-pitched sounds poured into the air.
Wind looked back and saw Last Leaf singing beside him. . . .
Among the gray clouds, barely holding on to a tree branch, Last Leaf swayed softly and, staring at Wind, sang!
“Hey! Don’t you see me?” asked Wind.
He was about to blow with all his might at the Last Leaf, when he heard quietly, “I see you! Please, don’t tear me off. Wait a little bit longer, okay?”
“Okay!” Wind agreed and asked, “Hey! Why are you singing? Who will hear you up here?”
Last Leaf finished his song and replied, “I sing for you!”
“For me?” Wind was surprised, “I am cold, cruel . . .”
“For you! Here, listen!” Last Leaf interrupted and sang again.
Not paying attention to the cold raindrops and Wind’s cold breath, little Last Leaf so sincerely created his high melody, that it seemed that with every sound the air around him became warmer. . . .
“Hmm . . . Do you sing alone all the time?” Wind was confused.
“No, not alone,” Last Leaf smiled. “Others also sang.”
Wind was silent for a long time and then asked, “When?”
“Whenever you were with them.”
Wind was ashamed, he had never listened to others. . . . When he wanted, he just blew with all his power—that was it.
Wind quieted down and then said weakly, “If you want, I will not touch you. Okay?”
“Great!” Last Leaf rejoiced and swayed joyfully so much that he almost fell off his branch.
“Quiet, be careful!” Wind exclaimed, gently supported him, and asked, “Do you know that Winter is coming?”
“I know . . .” Last Leaf shifted and sighed, “I would just like to have a little more time to stay up here, closer to the Sky.”
“Why? It’s becoming cold. Even the Sun will not warm you up anymore.”
“Let it not warm up. What of that? I know how beautiful it was here in Spring and Summer.”
“H-mm! And what will happen next? Do you know?”
“Next will be frost and snow . . .” responded Last Leaf and sighed.
“Next will come winter Wind, who is even more ruthless than I. Down there, among your own, you will be warm. And here you are alone. Do you really need this?”
“Yes. I want it . . .” Last Leaf answered quietly and became silent again.
Wind rose into the Sky, and then turned back.
“Hey . . . if you want, I could take you with me. Would you like that?” he asked.
“Yes, I would!” Last Leaf answered happily.
The cold autumn Wind carefully picked up Last Leaf and carried him across the Sky. Like a baby in a stroller, he gently rocked him on his air currents and listened to Last Leaf’s beautiful song.
He gently hugged the little miracle to himself and felt he, Wind, was becoming different. . . .
Wind’s breath was no longer so cold. The cruelty, with which Wind had previously torn the leaves from the trees was gone. There was a warmth and kindness that appeared in him, although a little sad because he still is of Autumn.
In the heights, among the gray clouds, like an amazing farewell card, small Last Leaf flies above and below, reminding everyone there is something on Earth that can warm even the cold autumn Wind. . . .
Jester lived in the World, who had never seen strawberries grow. . . .
“What are they?”, he repeatedly asked the King, but for him this question was uninteresting and, in general, King believed that everything he ate grew on plates. In the morning, on a gilded plate with a blue stripe which was always brought to him almost to his bed. At lunch, everything grew on large and small plates that stood in innumerable numbers on the oak table in the White Hall. In the evening—on silver plates.
So, Jester’s question was at first taken as another joke, but over time it grew tiring, and when today King heard it again, he grimaced as if something very sour had entered his mouth, and said, “If you are so interested, find the answer yourself.”
Jester was confused: he had never, since childhood, left the gates of the palace. Everything he needed was also brought on a plate, only, of course, a much smaller one. He had to eat ridiculously, shoving food into his mouth with both hands, even if he didn’t want to eat at all. In fact, it was funny only to King and his retinue, while at the same time tears came to Jester’s throat. His tears were not of interest and unnecessary for them. The spectators had their own, so when they occasionally dug into Jester’s plate, no one noticed.
Jester could not understand where this question came from, just that for several nights in a row he saw strawberries in his dream. They, like red beads, shone among the green lace of leaves, enticing with their beauty. The Sun gently caressed and cherished each berry with its rays. And the scent! Incomparable with anything, its fragrance was felt even in his dream.
Jester could not explain why such a dream appeared. . . .
Did his grandma’s memory convey that memory to him?
As far as he could himself remember, he had spent his whole life in the palace. His mother had given him to the palace. . . . Exhausted by hard work and daily worries, she did not know what to do with the frail child, whom Beauty forgot to look at, sparing him her treasures.
In the palace, the little Jester gradually became accustomed to ridicule, learning to hide from it behind his own jokes.
Along the way, his mind was not offended by life, and so when he accidentally caught the eye of the King, King noticed him.
King liked Jester. Also, being small, crooked, and with a large snub nose, he favorably emphasized the gilded beauty of the King and his palace.
But again, about the dream. . . . Unusual, like a sign, it awakened in his heart a mysterious feeling that attracted him to somewhere unknown, but Jester felt he definitely needed to know how to grow strawberries. So, confused at first by King’s unexpected offer, he resolutely packed his things and, throwing a small bag on his shoulder, went to look for what had been lately calling to him so much. He went to where strawberries grow. . . .
The Sun, from the height of the Sky, watched with interest as the little stooped man goes along the dusty road. The birds, tired of the day’s heat, rested . . . only the hum of bees in the meadow, that stretched on both sides, was heard. Soon the road meandered into the green coolness of a forest. The Sun shone so beautifully through the leaves that Jester stopped in delight. . . .
He had never seen such a thing! There were gray stones, gilding, and foreign plants in all the rooms of the palace. But here . . . entirely different. Thin, seemingly inconspicuous petals of forest flowers.
Green was his favorite color, in countless shades, which are probably difficult for even an artist to imagine. The trunks of trees, light and dark, smooth and rough, as if the faces of people—young and old, where every wrinkle is a path of life. Silence, and a barely audible whisper of the wind about something. . . .
Feet shod for laughter in too narrow and long shoes, with big heavy buckles, ached. Jester squatted down and, taking them out of the angry vices with great pleasure, stretched his legs out onto a soft blanket of grass. He closed his eyes, turned his face to the warmth of the sunrays. . . .
It is unknown how much time has passed. Did it matter? Like a breath, slowly came to him a sense of oneness with all that existed around. It seems that the heart itself began to beat differently than before. Gradually it was filled with peace and joy. Its strong and even thrusts spread in his frail body with some hitherto unknown to him, sense of his own strength. . . .
Jester listened to himself, marveling at the unexpected changes, touched the stalks of grass with his childish little fingers, red from the unusual journey, and smiled. . . .
Like beautiful children smiling, enchanting adults with their joy of life. Just because it, life, exists.
Jester fell asleep. Unobtrusively the Sun hid behind the Sky, stringing another day on its thread. A breeze blew and brought the scent of evening flowers that awakened the moths. The forest took on mysterious shades, the trunks of the trees darkened completely, and their leaves hid the Sun’s rays, allowing them to make their way down with a faint farewell note. The night was coming.
A sharp cry woke Jester. He opened his eyes and saw a rather large bird above him. She flew to another tree and cried out again, showing with all her might that she was the mistress in this place. Jester looked around. It was unusual to wake up here after the royal palace. . . .
For many years he had seen every morning a familiar pantry lined with multicolored pieces of cloth. He did not want his home to be like that, but who asked him? You have to be funny and everything, even your house needs to be funny, which from time to time could be shown to others for fun. It was hard at first, but then Jester stopped paying attention to it.
But in his pantry, there was a window from which the Sky was visible. Sometimes piercingly sublime—the big blue ocean where airships of clouds occasionally float, sometimes gray, heavy, with a gloomy light drizzle.
The Sky was especially beautiful in the evening, when the Sun disappeared behind a dark strip of forest, leaving a canvas painted with the last rays of farewell. What can compare to this?
When the stars appeared in the Sky, Jester loved to talk to them. He was a true philosopher: in the events that took place around him, he noticed what others did not see. It didn’t matter that the stars were silent, but they knew how to listen, and probably they were the only ones in the palace that did not need his jokes. Such that the ones who laughed felt superior to others. The stars do not need it—the stars already are high above.
It was getting dark in the forest. Light clothing did not retain heat. Jester wanted to take a slice of bread from his bag, but the bird that woke him up shouted again and sat down impudently in front of him.
“Don’t worry, I’ll go now”, Jester reassured her taking his shoes in his hands, then looked at them, and placed them on a big boulder. “Maybe you can use them for something.”
He smiled at the bird and went on the barely visible road in the dark. Bare feet seemed to feel every pebble and twig on the road. From time to time, Jester stumbled, fell. It did not anger him at all—his steps became supple and light as if he had always gone like this. He did not know where this road would lead and what lay ahead. Jester was going, and for some reason was not worried at all.
It became even darker, the trees were close to each other, their leaves covered the Sky so tightly, that it seemed that it was not a forest, but a mysterious large room in which you cannot see windows, doors, walls. . . .
You understand they exist, but you cannot touch them. Jester did not feel the weight of the darkness—he just was going because he needed to. How much time has passed? Who knows? There was almost no fatigue in his body, only the pebbles gradually began to seem sharper.
Something flashed ahead, once, twice . . . and soon the road led Jester to a small clearing. The trees parted, allowing the Sky to peek at the ground. Almost black, boundless, it shone with countless stars.
In the middle of the glade, a fire was burning, near which sat Old Man. Jester greeted and perched beside him without even asking permission. It did not seem bad to him: it was very good to watch the fire with Old Man.
Old Man was light: everything about him was light: linen clothes, long silver hair, beard, mustache . . . But most importantly—his face was light. Old Man was not surprised by the night guest. With big green eyes, he looked intently at Jester and asked, “Tired of going?”
“No,” replied Jester, and only then did he feel the pain in his legs.
He looked at his wounded blood-stained soles and laughed, “The stones are just . . .”
“On sharp stones, it’s easier to go barefoot with a smile,” said Old Man thoughtfully, plucked the plant next to him, rubbed it in his palms, and gave it to Jester, “Take it, it will be easier.”
Then he pointed to the same one, “Remember her, she will help you on the road.”
“Do you live here?” asked Jester, feeling a pleasant warmth in his legs that took away the pain and fatigue.
“And here too . . .”
“For a long time?”
“As much as needed.”
“It’s very good to be with you . . . thank you!”
“You are good with yourself . . .”
Old Man looked kindly at Jester and smiled.
“You’re glad you’re on your Way . . .”
“I don’t know where it will lead . . . I have not gone on this road before.”
“Listen to your heart, it will never deceive.”
“Yes, I’m listening. That’s why I’m going. You know, I want to see strawberries grow. I have never seen them before: they were never served at the palace. I so need to know! What are they? I have seen the same dream many times, I even remember their scent. . . . But where do they grow? Maybe you know?”
“You will find them. It is your Way.”
“Are you on your own, too?”
“And you are looking for answers to your Questions?”
“And when will the Questions end?”
“I have them while I go.”
“And you’re not tired of this, all your life, go and look for answers? You’re completely white!”
“The road is life. How can I be tired? Each of us sees what we can see, takes what we are capable of carrying, and meets the ones we need to meet. Hot, cold, easy, hard—it all depends on us. What we are, such is our Way . . .”
“Did you always know that?”
“No, I did not notice my Way before.”
“Probably me too . . .”
“That’s why you had a dream.”
“Did you have one?”
“No, I was called to the road by another.”
“Aren’t you sad to be alone all your life?”
“I’m not alone. Are you alone?”
“It is better for me.”
“It’s just you haven’t found what you need yet.”
“Lost it accidentally, now I’m looking again.”
“Are you coming back? Oh! I left my chic shoes on the boulder! If suddenly I need them again, huh?!” exclaimed Jester, and, as was his habit, wrinkled his face to be more ridiculous.
“If you need it, you will get new ones, the same. . . . On the Way that each goes, there is no going back. Can you bring back what was before?”
Jester was ashamed. Looking down, he said softly, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you.”
“You didn’t offend me—more often we offend ourselves. You are kind-hearted and open. There is your Strength. Just remember this and all will be good.”
“It is difficult to be open and kind-hearted in the World, I’ve already felt it in myself,” said Jester sadly.
“It’s hard if you hide it and are ashamed of what you have. Life gave you a gift: you appeared—our World doesn’t have another like you.”
“Of course, there is no one like me! Even my mother doesn’t need me!”
Unexpectedly for himself, Jester had said something that had tormented him for so many years, giving him no peace. Now it had broken free. Big tears of peas rolled down his face, washing away the many wrongs he had hidden behind laughter for so many years.
Old Man was silent and, only when Jester calmed down, wiping his snub nose with his bag, said quietly, “Don’t take offense with you on the Way. With resentment, it’s hard to go. Why do you need it? Let it go . . . soon a new Day will come and give you its Joy.”
“Is that why you’re so light?”
“Maybe . . .”
Old Man stirred the fire with his small stave. The night breeze blew on the fire and carried into the Sky, which was already beginning to shine, a scattering of sparks. They went up and took with them all that had gripped his heart for so long. Breathing became free! Like after the rain. Jester sighed lightly and, curled up in a ball by the fire, fell asleep.
He slept so beautifully! Folding his palms under his cheeks, pressing his knees, he smiled sweetly in his sleep, occasionally sucking on his lips. His little face no longer seemed as wrinkled as before, not even his nose looked so big. Jester slept and saw his dream again. . . .
The night gave way to a new day, that brought with him the morning, waking up the forest with light.
One, two, another . . . drops of dew dripped on Jester, reluctantly falling from the branches. Jester woke up.
The first rays of the Sun could be seen in the glade through a thin handkerchief of fog. Enchanting with their grace, they circled in a dance known only to them. The fire was extinguished, but the embers were still slightly smoky, reminding of last night. Old Man was not around. Jester rubbed his eyes and sat down. “Was he there at all? Maybe this is another dream and you need to come back? Go back. . . . Where? Where did he come from?”
Jester looked thoughtfully from the gray fire to the grass . . . and suddenly his heart was filled with an unusual, never felt so strongly, joy! He saw strawberries grow. . . . He didn’t know why, but he knew for sure that it was them!
Among the triple leaves with carved edges were Sun glistened berries! Small and slightly elongated, they hung on slender stalks, slightly rough from seed. A bright red color—the color of Life—gave them a unique beauty, standing out on the green background. It is his strawberry glade! Jester carefully, barely moving his fingers, plucked one berry, another. . . .
No overseas sweets can ever compare to what grows in the places where you were born and raised. Everything around you, and living with you, initially exists in memory, becoming inexplicable, creating a burning desire to hold in your hands what once gave strength to your ancestors. The aroma, the taste, so vividly defined in his dream, came, filling the whole World! There appears to be no limit to happiness. It filled Jester’s frail body. After all, was his size bigger than his heart?
Jester laughed! What a happy laugh it was! Clean-clean, ringing like a bell . . . laughing easily, like the child who always lives close. . . . The forest picked up this miracle and carried its transparent echo, as a most precious treasure, sharing joy with every living thing. . . . Jester laughed and began to realize that the jester was no more—there was someone who was him . . . once. He rose from his knees, gently and carefully cradling the little red berries in his palms.
He did not yet know what to call him, but he knew there was a Woman in the World who a long time ago, along with the light of Life, gave him his Name.
He will go there . . . and there will also be happy strawberries. His strawberries. . . . And he also knew that the Way he goes is his, and only his Way, where you always make your own choice. Long or short . . . who knows?
He was about to leave when he saw Old Man’s stave by the fire. “The light Old Man . . . No dream it was! Thank you!” smiling, he remembered Old Man’s words: “We meet the ones we need to meet.”
He placed his bag next to it . . . took only bread—why does he need the rest—and went on the road. . . .
The Sun, from the height of the Sky, watched how with light steps, goes on a Man. . . .
Little Star was born in the Sky. . . .
She opened her eyes—it is dark around and cold. She saw Elder Star nearby and asked, “Who am I?” Elder Star smiled and moved closer.
“You are a Star!”
“And so am I.”
“Why is it so dark?”
“If it weren’t for us, it would be even darker . . .”
“You are so beautiful! I’m not like you!”
“You just haven’t grown up yet.”
“Is it necessary?”
“If you want to shine brightly, you need to grow up.”
Little Star looked around and saw many other Stars in the Sky, large and small, and asked, “And what is needed to grow up?”
“Think about to whom, from you, will have a brighter Light. Down there, on Earth, people live, and everyone has their own star. As long as there is life there, we live too.”
“Was someone born there together with me?”
“Of course. Together with you, a new child was born on Earth.”
“And how will I recognize this child?”
“He will look for you in the Sky.”
“As he grows.”
“How much time will it take?”
“Everyone grows in their own way . . .”
“Will he notice me?”
“When your light is bright for him . . .”
“How can it be?”
“If you think about someone joyfully, and wish well to him, your light will be stronger. Who needs it will, sooner or later, understand and find you.”
“Even in such a dark Sky?”
“Is the Sky always like this?”
“No. There is also a day.”
“What is ‘day’?”
“Day . . . when one big star, the Sun, shines—one, for all who live on Earth. It is warmth. . . . During the day it warms everyone, and at night it rests.”
“Then why are we stars needed?”
“To shine when there is no one shining . . .”
“And there on Earth, aren’t they resting?”
“They do rest, of course . . . and if suddenly, someone wakes up? Everyone should know that there is always their Star in the Sky. . . .
Little Star looked around, “Why does that Star over there barely shine?”
“She’s tired of waiting when someone, for whom she appeared, will notice her.”
“And if he doesn’t need his star at all?”
“They will both gradually stop shining: one there on Earth, the other here in the Sky . . .”
“Did he not realize he has his own star?”
“Probably not . . . it’s a pity.”
“How long will I shine? Do you know?”
“No. Each star has its own time.”
In the big, dark blue Sky, where there are no borders or depth—and why measure it?—two stars spoke together: the oldest and the youngest.
Elder Star has lived in the World for a long time and felt that soon she would stop shining, the other had just been born. One had learned to shine very brightly and probably the one, to whom she shone, living far away on Earth the same. And the other, the little one, not yet clearly understanding why she appeared in this dark, cold Sky, was worried about the one, who was also starting life there, on Earth.
Down there, on Earth, a newly born Man was looking at the Sky with big eyes. . . .
The parents were surprised: “What a child! It’s a miracle! Falling asleep by only looking at the stars!” But Little Star and the Newborn searched, feeling for what they needed. . . .
They will find each other! Then it will be lighter for both of them to grow, and the Light of their Life, there on Earth, and here in the Sky, will be bright. . . .
Candle was burning. . . .
She didn’t know how much of her would be enough. She didn’t look around, didn’t listen. Bright or not? Didn’t know. She shone as she could.
Candle was burning. . . .
She straightened her back diligently, stretching her arms up—just stood and shone.
When you see darkness, you know there is Light. When you feel Warmth, you understand somewhere there is cold. If Love is—Light is. . . .
Candle was burning. . . .
One by one, her hot drops were dripping to the floor. She smiled at them, looking at the tracery, which was gradually becoming from herself.
Candle was burning. . . . From her soft, gentle light, a heart beats steadily and strongly. It is amazing. . . .
Candle was burning!
A Man was looking for a Fern Flower. . . .
He had been looking for a long time. How many times had he asked—no one had ever seen one.
“When I find my Fern Flower, I will at once be happy!” thought the Man.
“As soon as I find it, I will plant it in my garden, and I will always take care of my Fern Flower as if it were myself. Of course—it is happiness!”
The Man had countless riches in his house, but maybe something was still missing: so, he went out to search.
“What will this miracle Fern Flower look like? Big or small?” thought the Man, wandering through a forest. He imagined it as big and bright red, like fire, then small and blue, with gentle, sparkled petals. “I’ll find it! Just a little more and I am sure to find it . . .” with hope, he said to himself.
He wandered for a long time. The further he went, the greater his desire to find it. He stopped. “I’ll rest a little and go on,” he thought.
He sat down, looked around, inhaled the air, and was surprised: how his heart felt lighter. “Maybe I don’t need to go any further? How long have I searched for . . . but there is not even a sign!
To know at least where! Some say in the forest’s thick, where it is darkest. Especially once a year—when the night is blackest and no stars are visible. How many years I’ve already searched! I have seen much during this time: passed through the darkness, moved further to the Light, but still no Fern Flower.”
The Man sat, and, smiling, continued to talk to himself. He had no resentment, anger, or irritation. He just wanted to find what probably everyone, sooner or later, is searching for in their life.
The Man wanted to find his Fern Flower . . . he went on, fell, and got up again. . . .
He did not count the days. Could that be more important than what he was looking for? He wanted to find what he needed. . . . When you go—you will find. . . . Sometimes unexpectedly, and sometimes not at all where you thought to find it, but you will find. . . .
The Man sat, and with all his being, felt Earth and Sky. You don’t need to know another language to understand that—just listen. Even the darkness did not tire him—he knew the Day would come. The darkness is heavy for those who fear it.
Like something familiar, and long been known, an understanding came to him that the Fern Flower—Flower-Miracle—Flower-Mystery is very close.
No need for him to look for it anymore. The bright and beautiful Fern Flower lives within him. . . . Always . . . from the beginning . . . warming with its own light all the time. What color is this Flower? What you imagine yourself to be. . . . “My treasure I have always carried within,” the Man laughed happily.
He will tell about it to those who are also searching. “Happiness is within! The most valuable is in ourselves. Everyone carries their own Fern Flower and it cannot disappear!” He smiled, “It is so simple . . .”
How simple . . . he understood it. . . .
Bird wanted to find the Edge of the Sky. . . .
How often she asked the other birds where it was, but no one knew.
“What is it to you?” she kept hearing in response and felt so embarrassed as if she wanted to know something that no one needed to know. Finally, to ask herself why she so painfully wanted to know it, Bird could not.
So, once soaring into the air, she realized that today she would begin to search for that Edge of the Sky. Saying goodbye to her friends, she rose to the heights and quickly disappeared into the bluish haze that is higher than all clouds in the Sky. Conversations about her soon faded, only Fidgety Jay sometimes taught her children, “Don’t look up at the Sky for too long! You don’t need it. . . . Look down, where there is food!” It had been a long time, and Bird was still gone. Where she was, and what had happened to her, even Wind did not know. . . .
Meanwhile, Bird was searching for an answer to her question, and, to exhaustion, she flew and flew through countless lakes, fields, rivers, and forests. They changed like the images in a kaleidoscope where they were of the same parts, but different each time. She flew, occasionally stopping and spreading her tired wings, allowing herself to rest a little, and listen to the sounds of Earth, which during the trip became quite unfamiliar, even alien.
Surprisingly, she did not have despair in this endless search. Gradually came, an understanding, mysterious, and very strong feeling, that everything around you has no end. That inspired her and gave strength to fly on. Why? Probably, to now know herself and to understand the meaning of her life.
The journey had changed her . . . she had become almost white, even silver-gray. From the long road, the ends of her wings turned black, and her beak and legs, from the wind, cold, and heat, remained red. Bird was searching everywhere, and even though realizing she was unlikely to find it, she could not stop.
The great amazing World asks unexpected questions to those who live in it not indifferently, and then, seeing their search, also unexpectedly helps with an answer. It seems like a long deliberation with yourself, and the suffering in determining your path will last indefinitely. But a certain moment comes, and like a miracle, brilliantly and suddenly, there is an answer to what has troubled you for such a long time.
A meeting . . . a clear look, words, a smile, and a feeling of relief comes, like a breath of fresh air, an understanding of all existence as unique, unified, and free. Could something in such a World have an end? There is only a continuation—that is all. . . .
Bird finally stopped . . . not from the fatigue, nor from despair—during the trip, under her white wings, she had seen a lot. . . . She stopped in admiration of Beauty. Beauty gazed at the blue lakes, stroked forests with winds, caressed the flowers, and listened to the songs of her Earth. Bird didn’t want to fly further anymore. . . . And why fly when the Sky has no edge and the World is endless?
She folded her wings and looked around. Bird could clearly see all. She loved to stand high. Bird did not worry that people lived close by—during her long trip she had lost her fear. . . . It was just the habit of lifting one leg to rest faster and fly further, that had survived, and on the road, the voice disappeared.
“How wonderful it is here!” Bird thought. “It seems I have never seen such Beauty anywhere! I will stay here forever,” she decided and sighed with relief.
“Look, look! Bird is back!” chattered voices below. Bird saw among the thickets, reed ducks.
“Fidgety Jay said yesterday that she would never return home . . .” they continued to chatter, showing with all their appearance that it could never be otherwise.
Bird raised her head and looked up at the Sun, which was already setting behind the lake, giving it a pink color, and suddenly understood: the Edge that she had been looking for, for so long is very close! It had always been where she had come from.
She felt so happy as if there had not been a long hard journey, which was probably needed to understand that. . . .
Woman planted the Seed. . . .
She stroked the land gently . . . smiled, and looked up at the Sun.
Woman’s Seed is unusual. . . . From this Seed grows only what you dream. Many have planted this Seed, but not everyone had even sprouts appear. Some say that if thoughts are light, this Seed will sprout quickly and never wither. . . .
Woman planted the Seed. . . .
She looked around and saw much . . . thought, and remembered something deep within. . . .
Woman’s hands are warm and kind. . . . It seems that little time has passed: a thin Stem appears . . . stretches in height, with all its power, to the Light. . . . How strong is this slender Stem! Maybe the Sun or the Woman’s thoughts are helping?
Thin Stem grows. Growing fast. The first leaf unfolds. Small and fragile yet. Woman looks at the Stem and rejoices. . . . “That is my Faith appearing,” she thinks. “Faith that Light is always in everyone on Earth.” The Stem is growing—her Faith is strengthening.
Woman sees the next leaf stretching towards the Sun. . . . How beautiful is this leaf! Maybe Faith is helping: the second leaf is growing very fast! Woman looks at it and rejoices. . . . “That is my Hope appearing!” she thinks. “Hope that Kindness will never disappear on Earth.”
The Stem is growing. . . . The wind gently sways it like a child in a cradle, whispering about something. Maybe about how everyone on Earth needs this Stem. It is hard to recognize the humble thin Stem anymore. . . .
Yet another leaflet was shining in the Sun. . . . This third leaf, both first ones supported! “That is my Love appearing,” Woman thinks. “Love for those who live on Earth.”
Looking at the Stem, she strokes the leaves gently, rejoices, and thanks the Seed and Earth for such Beauty.
Woman planted the Seed. . . .
How much time has passed. . . . That Stem has not, and will never disappear . . . reaches for the Light! Thin, but strong. . . .
The leaves: Faith, Hope, and Love shine in the Sun, so needed on Earth, giving joy to everyone with their Beauty. . . .
Happiness lives in our World. . . .
Where is this place? Nobody knows. But that Happiness is—everyone knows. Some say Happiness comes to everyone at least once in a lifetime.
Like a small gray bird, she landed on a window’s edge . . . folded her wings and waited for someone to come. Much time passed but no one noticed her. She flew away. . . .
She visited others and called to them gently. They came to her and asked, “What do you need?”
“I am Happiness” she responded quietly.
“How can you be Happiness?!” they said in surprise. “Happiness is big and shiny—Happiness is seen from far away. You are small and plain! Fly wherever you want!”
Happiness rose into the Sky and flew on again. She saw light in another window and visited there.
“Maybe, you need Happiness?” she asked.
There, others thought for a long time and pondered where to place Happiness and whether she was needed. . . .
“Sorry, we don’t need you now, the worries are countless. Fly on!” . . . and the window closed. She flew on. . . .
She flew for a long time. . . . “Am I not needed by anyone?” she thought. She stopped near a spring, looked into the water, and saw herself. “Won’t someone notice me as I am?” sighed and flew on again. . . .
Like a small gray bird, she landed on a window’s edge . . . folded her wings, and only called once gently. . . slumping wearily, she closed her eyes.
Warm hands gently caressed her. . . .
“Why are you, Happiness, so sad?” she heard. Happiness opened her eyes and smiled joyfully. “How did you recognize me? I appear plain.”
In response, she heard, “Thank you for coming! How can we not notice you? What is real is always visible . . . and that there are no bright colors and glitter, why does Happiness need to be decorated?”
Like silver bells singing, Happiness laughed, and spread her wings over those who recognized her. . . .
Happiness stayed for a long time, but she needed to fly on—how many more windows are waiting for her. . . . She doesn’t say “Bye!” Why is it needed?
She leaves her sparks with a scattering of Love, Kindness, and Tenderness. They shine with rainbow colors in their hearts even now. It’s the Light from them, that is why they are cherished. . . .
Happiness lives in our World. . . .
Where is this place? Nobody knows. But that Happiness is—everyone knows. Some say Happiness comes to everyone at least once in a lifetime. . . .
What is Life?
Air . . .
Infinity . . .
Rainbow in the sky after the rain.
Crystal cry of cranes,
Lightness and height.
Freedom and flight. . . .
What is Life?
Water . . .
It, like the time, changes everything . . .
Even what seemed indestructible.
Waves of feelings,
Depth of thought.
Everything flows and everything changes. . . .
What is Life?
Earth . . .
Green palms of leaves, bright flower heads.
Sparkling rays of the sun . . .
We run barefoot on it.
We laugh and rejoice in its warmth,
Like children. . . .
What is Life?
Love . . .
A fire that never goes out . . .
It warms the heart
And in it, does not allow Faith and Hope to disappear.
It is Beauty and Joy.
It is a miracle that is in everyone. . . .
Income from book and print activities will support the “Happy Home” family project
Heart to Heart for a Happier World