Fiona Tells Lany A Story
Lany scurried over to her bookcase and took out a box of her favorite flash cards. Her bookcase was right next to Fiona’s bed, which at that moment Fiona was lying in, peacefully snoozing. Lany ripped open the Velcro cover and out came the flash cards. One by one, she whipped the cards out of the box, giving each word card an inspect-over and flinging it behind her head onto sleeping Fiona. By the fifth flung card, Fiona sat up like a statute being pelted with rain. She did not move. The shower of flash cards fell over her until the box emptied. “Lany,” Fiona said, “I enjoy learning new things too, but just sitting in a pile of flash cards is not teaching me or you anything. Let me tell you a story.” “I love stories, squealed Lany. What’s it about?” Fiona put her paw on Lany’s knee and said, “It’s about the beauty of sharing.”

Lany’s eyes brightened as Fiona began the story:

Big Flowers for a Big Bear

A big bear lived in a big cave on a big mountain. He lived alone and would only leave his cave when a big moon came out. When the big moon rose high in the evening sky, it made a moonlit path from Bear’s cave down the side of the mountain. Bear would follow this path to the forest glade and gather big bunches of berries to eat on the days that the big moon did not come out.

One night when the big moon came, bear followed the moonlit path from his cave.

The path he followed that night did not lead him to the forest glade. The path instead led bear by a beautiful meadow. Bear lied down in the soft meadow grass and rolled over and over, smiling because the sweet dew on the soft grass tickled his big, thick coat of fur. He had not before felt such a tickle.

Bear continued on the moonlit path. The path then led him to a beautiful stream. Bear walked into the stream and drank the cool, clear water. Bear never before tasted water as sweet as the stream water that night.

After his drink, Bear looked up at the moon and in the distance to see if the path continued. It did. Bear shook his big body dry and continued on the moonlit path. The path led Bear to a small village with stone streets. The streets nudged Bear’s big paws in a way to make him walk slow and gingerly. Bear carefully walked along the stone streets until he came upon a circle of light cast by the moon.

There in the moon’s lit circle was a garden. The stones that Bear had walked upon throughout the town streets rose up to create a bed where bushes upon bushes of big, beautiful flowers bloomed. Bear walked up to the flowers and sat down as he was overcome by the big fragrance that filled the air. Bear had never before smelled such a perfume. Bear marveled at the sight of the big garden of big flowers. Then Bear saw a sign in the garden that was lit by the moon. The sign said, “Please Pick the Peonies.”

A big grin came over Bear’s face and he reached out and picked a big bunch of peonies. Bear then skipped all of the way back up the moonlit path to his cave. Bear was so happy to have the big, beautifully fragrant flowers with him that he danced throughout the night in front of his big cave on the big mountain. While Bear danced, the big flowers moved back and forth with Bear and seeds fell to the ground.

For many days, Bear was happy in his big cave, eating berries and rejoicing in the fragrance of his glorious peonies. Then Bear began to cry big tears for his treasured peonies had begun to droop and their big petals began to fall to the floor. Bear watched every petal fall. When the last one fell, he scooped up all of the petals into one big pile and he lied down in its middle, crying himself to sleep.

It is not known for how long that Bear cried himself to sleep, but while he slept a big rainstorm washed over the big mountain. When the rain stopped there was a big ruckus outside of his cave. A big group of animals from the forest glade had gathered at Bear’s big cave entrance. The forest animals chattered and squealed with delight. Their chatter and the big bright light cast by the big moon that night woke Bear. Bear grumbled and roared as he was a mountain of a bear who had lived alone for many years on the big mountain.

As Bear charged towards the animals standing in the moonlight, he came to a big screeching halt. There in front of his cave was the biggest, grandest, most beautiful site he had ever seen. The entrance to Bear’s cave was blanketed with the biggest, most beautifully fragrant peonies and the peonies spilled down and over the mountainside for as far as Bear could see.

“Bear, Bear” the animals cheered, “you made our mountain beautiful.” “I did?” asked Bear with a big, shy look of surprise. “Yes,” said a little field mouse. “You brought the peonies here and God thanked you by growing many more of them for all time.”

Bear smiled the biggest smile as his heart felt bigger than it had ever before felt. Bear whispered, “thank you God for the moonlight and for my peonies.” For the rest of Bear’s life, Bear tended during the day to the peonies on the mountainside. Bear had big help and companionship in his gardening from his woodland friends. Bear helped his friends cut their own big bunches of peonies and he encouraged them to rejoice in the garden. During nights when the big moon came out, the forest animals would see Bear dancing in the moonlight with his big flowers next to a sign that he had made. The sign read, “Please Pick the Peonies.”

“The End,” said Fiona. “Oooh, I loved that story,” gushed Lany, “read it again.”

“You will hear it again Lany, not now, but again and again. This story or one like it will be told to you many times in your life and you will tell it many times. Remember it during the big and small moments in your life.”

Fiona then rested her head in Lany’s lap. Lany’s face erupted in a big grin and she placed her small fist on Fiona’s head and gently knocked.

(Dedicated to Andreas Kyres, June 29, 2007)

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