My Life As A Cat

Another story told at bedtime, this came from my daughter who tends to act more like a cat than she does a human.

“Lannie! Time to get up!” my mother calls from the kitchen. 

I hate mornings. I just want to stay in my bed, under my comforter. I crack one eye open and look. A sliver of sunlight is peeking in through my window, creating a thin pizza slice of brightness across my room. It’s too bright, I decide, and close my eye. It’s too early. Yes, too early. 

“Come on, Lannie, it’s after nine o’clock. You can’t stay in bed all day!” my mother calls. 

Yes I can! I pull the sheets over my head and curl up in the comfy dark. I’m going to stay here all day. There’s no place I’d rather be. I don’t need my friends today, I don’t even need to watch TV. I’ll be happy just to stay here.

My mother opens my bedroom door. “Now, Lannie,” she says, as she walks over to my bed, and pulls the sheets off of me. I start shivering with the loss of all my wonderful warmth. “Nice try, you. Up and at ‘em.” 

“I don’t need to get up. It’s not a school day!” I protest. 

“That’s not the point. You’re not staying in bed all day,” my mother repeats. She throws open my curtains, and my room becomes way brighter than I can stand. 

“Moooooommmmmmmm!” I whine. 

“No ‘buts’. Move!” she orders, and scoops me out of bed. I land on all fours. She then straightens my bed, and puts the pillow back where it belongs. I hadn’t even noticed that I wasn’t sleeping with a pillow. 

“Phooey!” I say, and sit back, kneeling. “I’m not getting dressed!” 

“That’s fine! I just want you out of bed!” she smiles. “Wash your hands and come down for breakfast, please.” She walks out of my room. 

I kneel for a moment, then arch my back, and reach forward with my hands until I’m lying on the warm floor on my belly. I love a good stretch when I wake up. I roll onto my side, then over onto my back. The sun shines on my tummy, and it feels warm, almost like my comforter. I decide that staying in my room might be almost as good as staying in my bed. 

I nearly fall back to sleep lying there, until I hear the sound of cereal being poured into my bowl. I scamper to my feet and race down the hall, nearly slipping as I round the corner into the kitchen. “No milk, please!” I say, as I hop up onto my chair. 

“Are you sure?” my mom asks. 

“Yep! I like it dry!” I say, taking my spoon and getting a huge spoonful, which I then cram into my mouth. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about the way my cereal tastes without milk, and how it scrapes the roof of my mouth. I could eat this stuff all day. 

“Do you at least want orange juice?” asks my mother, standing at the fridge. 

“Moh fahfs,” I mumble, munching my cereal. My mother disappears to somewhere else I in the house. When I’m finished, I slink off my seat and sneak a cup out of the cupboard. I fill it with orange juice and drink it down quickly before my mother catches me. 

I quickly head back to my room to get my favourite book, and go into the living room to curl up in the bay window, looking out into the backyard. I tuck a large pillow behind me. The sun warms me up almost perfectly. For a few moments, I lay back dozily, not really wanting to read, and just enjoying the lazy day. 

Opening my book, I flip to the page I left off at, and continue. It’s a good book. I’ve read it four times this year, and I’ll probably read it at least another two before Christmas. It’s about a princess warrior who brings peace to her kingdom. I’m not even sure why it’s my favourite story, I prefer stories with spaceships. I think it’s the sword fighting that I like most. 

The morning passes slowly, just how I like it. My big sister isn’t around, my mother is probably downstairs, and my father is … well, somewhere. I have the house to myself. It’s quiet, and I can read in peace. I glance up from my book a few times to look about. I spend nearly half an hour watching a squirrel try to jump on the bird feeder attached to the outside of the bay window. The squirrel manages to get really close, until it notices that I’m watching it. It turns and runs away like I’m going to gobble it up. 

Before I know it, though, it’s lunchtime. 

“Mom! I’m hungry!” I call out, still in the bay window. There’s no answer. “Mom?” Still no answer. Where did she go? “Mom!” Nothing. “Mom! Mommmm! Mommmm! Mommmmm?” 

My mother finally appears from wherever she was hiding. “Good heavens, what is it, Lannie?”

“What’s for lunch?” I ask. 

“Hungry, are we?” she asks. Her hands are on her hips. That’s supposed to mean she’s unimpressed. It doesn’t help me get my lunch any faster. 

“Tunafish sandwich!” I reply quickly

“You have that every day!” she says. 

“But I like it! Tuna is yummy!” I reply. 

My mother sighs. That means she’s going to do what I asked. “Okay, honey. Can you please change into clothes before eating, though? And after lunch, I want you to go outside. I don’t want you indoors all day.” 

“Aw, but Mom, these are my favourite PJs! I’m comfy in them!” They really are my favourite pyjamas. They were a Christmas present from my Aunt Bernice. She always gets me the best things. They’re what my father calls a “dusky pink”, with outlines of cats all over them in black. I would wear them every day, if I was allowed. 

“No way, you. That’s the fifth day in a row wearing those. They need to be washed!” she declares. It’s in “that” voice, the one she uses when she is going to do something whether I like it or not. 

“Fine,” I grumble.

I finish the page of my book and slowly wander back to my room, climbing over every chair, sofa, and table in the living room along the way. I pull out four shirts before I decide on my light blue tank top with sparkles in the shape of a heart. I only have four pairs of shorts, and three of them are in the laundry, so I have to wear my purple knee-length ones. I grab my dark green hoodie as well, since I’m not as cozy in my summer clothes as I am in my PJs. 

Or in my bed. Hmph. I’m still not happy that my mother kicked me out of my own bed. 

“Lannie! Your sandwich is ready!” my mother calls out. I hear the plate clink on the table, and I’m off like a shot. The sandwich is on a dark blue plate, next to a big glass of milk. 

It feels like I haven’t eaten in forever. I wolf down the sandwich, taking long drinks of the milk. I stop only when the doorbell rings. My mother gets the door, while I peer from my chair in the kitchen.

“It’s Grandma!” she calls. I shove the last of my sandwich in my mouth, and slurp in enough milk to finish chewing. I skip in to see Grandma, still licking my lips. 

“Smells like someone had tuna for lunch!” Grandma laughs as I give her a big hug. Grandma is really good to me, so I love her a lot. My mother says Grandma spoils me, but that doesn’t bother me at all. “Have you been a good girl today?” she asks. 

Pshaw! I’m always a good girl! “Yes, Grandma!” I chirp. I can hear my mother snort. 

“Would you like a treat?” Grandma asks. 

“Ohh!” I hug her leg and wrap myself around her. “What is it? What is it?” 

“How about…” Grandma digs into her purse, and pulls her hand out, concealing whatever she’s about to give me, “some chocolate?” 

CHOCOLATE!” I screech. I love chocolate! Really, really, really, really love chocolate! 

“Here you go, sweetie,” Grandma says, handing me a bar of chocolate wrapped in gold foil with a paper sleeve. 

“Yay!” I snatch the bar from her hand, give her a quick kiss, and bound over to the bay window to eat it. 

“Ohh, someone needs her nails trimmed,” Grandma says, holding her hand, “they’re almost claws!” 

“Oh, sorry, Grams!” I say, as I stuff the chocolate in my face. 

“Okay, you, outside!” my mother demands. “And I’m cutting your nails tonight. No excuses!” 

I’m booted into the backyard. My big sister Karen is out there, sitting at the table, listening to her music. There’s a half-eaten tuna sandwich in front of her. I drop down low, hoping she can’t see me, and creep in quietly. I can barely hear her music as I’m just underneath the sandwich, which I can see through the glass tabletop. I reach up ever so slowly, and carefully reach to steal the sandwich when she reaches out and slaps my hand. 

“Mine!” she says, not even looking at me. “Shoo!” 

“Nyah nyah nyah,” I reply, sulking away. I flip onto the hammock in the corner of our yard. The sun’s still shining on it, which is a bonus. I stretch out once for good measure, then settle in for a bit of a nap. 

I’m not sure how long I sleep, if I sleep at all. A rock bounces off my forehead, snapping me completely awake. I sit upright and look around. Did something hit me? Or did I just dream it? Before I can dismiss it as just a figment of my imagination, a small pinecone bops off the back of my head. 

“Stop it, you brat!” I hiss. It’s my annoying next door neighbour, Jason. He and I are actually friends, and we play a lot together, but he has a really annoying habit of bugging me when I’m in the hammock. I think I’ve had two days this entire summer to spend in the hammock without him throwing stuff at me. At least it’s not the ice cold water he used the last time. I hid in my room for two days after that — I did not want to speak to him!

“Wanna play?” he asks through the fence. 

“I’m sleeping,” I say, lying back on the hammock. 

“I’ve got the new Dance, Monkey, Dance video game! We can play it!” Jason suggests. I have to admit, that does sound like fun. I played it at Sue’s house yesterday, and we laughed so hard it hurt. Jason’s a good dancer, too, which makes the game more fun. 

But I’m comfy again. The sun is just right, the breeze is just right, I’m not hungry or thirsty, and I’m in the perfect position in the hammock — I’m worried that if I even move my hand to scratch, I won’t feel as good. You don’t get this comfy without a lot of effort, or unless you’re really lucky. 

“Sorry, Jason, not today,” I say sleepily. 

“Jump rope?” Jason asks. 

“Nope,” I reply. 

“Ball?” Jason begs. 

I close my eyes, and I let myself drift off…

I awake a while later. The sun has moved away from the hammock, and I’ve gotten chilly. I hop off the hammock and look around. The sun has left the entire backyard, blocked by the trees in my other neighbour’s yard. Even Karen has probably gone back inside. I head back to the door, only to find it locked. 

“Hello?” I call, tapping on the door. “Hello??” I walk around to the side window and peer in. There’s no way my mother would have left me home alone. I’m only seven, for crying out loud! I scratch at the window, but there’s no answer. I hop over the fence and walk to the front door. It’s locked, too. I ring the doorbell once, twice, three times. “Hello!!” I yell. “Hi, I’m still here! Someone should let me in!” 

The front door cracks open. I race to it before it closes. Karen is on the other side. “You want in?” she asks. 

“Yeah,” I say, trying to push my way through. But Karen’s blocked the door. “C’mon, lemme in!” 

“I dunno…,” says Karen. 

“Mom!” I yell through the door. “Karen’s not letting me in! Mommmm!”

My mother says something to Karen, and she steps away from the door. I walk in, sticking my tongue out at her. I go back to my room, and hop up on my bed. I take the brush off my night table, and start brushing my hair. It’s long and brown and amazing. It also gets tangled pretty easily, so it takes a while for me to get all the knots out. But it’s relaxing — I like brushing my hair. I can do it for an hour with ease. 

Which is what I do, until I’m interrupted by my father, who yells: “Dinner!” from the kitchen. 

I sigh, have a really good stretch, and head to the dinner table. I think it’s stew. At least, it looks like stew. If stew were a brown blob with little grey bits. I love my father, but can’t cook. He says he can, but the food he puts on my plate never looks like something I could eat. I poke at it with my fork. 

“What’s the matter? Not what you had in mind for dinner?” my father asks. I look at what he’s eating. It looks like chicken fingers. 

“Can I have yours?” I ask. “I think you got mine by mistake.” 

“Nice try, Lannie. This is mine. You didn’t answer when I asked you what you wanted. It’s Leftover Night, so you get what you get,” my father says. 

“You didn’t ask me! When did you ask me? I don’t remember you asking me!” I protest, still staring at the brown blob. I hold my fork just in case the blob comes to life and I have to defend myself. 

“You were in your room. I called you three times, but you didn’t answer. So that’s what you get,” my father grins.

“Hmph,” I hmph. “No fair.” 

I’m the last to finish eating. It takes me an hour. I keep leaving the table to go to the bathroom, or get another glass of milk, or to change my shirt. Everyone else has gone off to do whatever it is that they do, leaving me to my cold lump of brown goo. Admittedly, it does taste good, I just won’t admit it to anyone. 

After dinner, I curl up on my father’s lap as he watches TV. I don’t understand what he watches. It makes him giggle, which makes me laugh. He cuddles me, and strokes my hair, which makes me feel all fuzzy inside. I would stay there all day, if my father were around. He’s only around during the day on weekends. 

Suddenly, my mother appears with a pair of nail clippers. I try to make a run for it, but my father has me by the waist. 

“Mommy said you need to have your claws trimmed, kiddo,” he says. Betrayed!

“No!” I yowl, trying to wriggle free. It’s no use, my father’s grip is too strong. I try to kick, but I’m held tight. I think about trying to scratch my way free, but I realize that I would get on a lot of trouble if I hurt anyone. I make owie noises instead, until they’re done.

When the sun’s down and the stars are out, I’m changed into clean pyjamas — my mother stole my favourite ones and put them in the laundry. My bed stares at me, begging me to climb in. For some reason, though, I don’t want to get into bed. Not yet, anyway. I feel the urge to run around the house for a while. I race down the hallway, skidding around the corner and hide under the kitchen table. My mother looks up from her spot in the living room and wonders what just happened. Then I bolt out from under the table and leap over the chair and land on the sofa next to her, scaring her half to death. I giggle, and leap off the sofa, aiming for the chair on the other side. But my foot catches on the footstool and I crash onto the floor. I burst out laughing. 

“Lannie,” my mother sighs, “go to bed…” 

I’m still giggling as I crawl into my comfy bed. I shuffle around three times to find just the right place to lie down. I carefully pull the comforter up around me, and curl up into a ball. I sigh happily, and brush the hair out of my face.

I might just do the same thing all over again tomorrow. 


The Girl Who Went Up A Mountain

For years, I’ve told my kids bedtime stories. Not ones from a book, these were created in-the-moment, often with nothing more than a single word, in this case: “stars”.

There once was a little village that lay in the heart of a small valley, next to deep blue lake. In the village were a dozen families that had lived in the valley for as long as anyone could remember. The village had all they ever needed: bakers who made bread, carpenters who made chairs and beds, weavers who made cloth and seamstresses who made clothes, and of course, the farmers who grew the food and raised the animals. 

The people were happy, though every day for them was short and busy. You see, the valley was surrounded by tall mountains that blocked the sun from shining down except for a few hours a day. The morning came late, and the evening came early. The sun shone more on the mountains than it did inside the valley. The villagers watched as the sun slowly crept down one side of the valley, shone across the floor, and then up the other side. And then they would watch as the shadow would start at the top of the mountain, down across the valley, and up the other side. The sky above stayed blue long before the sun rose and long after the sun set. 

No-one ever came to the valley, and no-one ever left. 

In this valley lived a young girl named Lumi. She had long, light brown hair, bright green eyes, and always wore a light blue dress. She loved to run, and laugh, and play with her friends. She had a rocking horse, a leather ball, a stuffed bear, and three books that she read again and again and again. Her parents were both farmers, and spent their short days out in the family’s huge field with their horses, ploughing long troughs for seeds, and harvesting all kinds of vegetables. 

One day, when she was old enough, Lumi’s father asked: “Lumi, would you like to come out and help us in the field?” 

Lumi leapt up from her book, and said: “Yes, I would, Father!” She ran out the door and stepped into the field, and stopped. 

“What’s the matter, Lumi?” asked her mother. 

Lumi was gazing way out into the vast brown plain. It seemed to go on without end. She knew there was a stone fence at the back of the farm, but she couldn’t see it. “The field…,” Lumi breathed, “it’s so big!”

“Yes, it is! We have to grow a lot of food to help the village,” explained her mother. 

“But … how do you farm something this huge?” asked Lumi. She had seen her parents working in the field many times, but hadn’t really understood how they did it. “I can’t even imagine starting!” 

“Well, you can’t plant the field all at once, silly,” said her father, tussling her hair. “You do it one part at a time. We plough the field, turning it over. Then we sow the seeds. And then every day, we water and weed until we have something to pick. When you do it in small pieces, it’s not so bad.” 

“Oh,” said Lumi, still a little confused. 

“Come, honey, we’ll show you,” said her mother, and they went off into the field. 

Lumi worked all day, helping carry water from their well, and pulling the tangly weeds. They stopped only once, for a quick sandwich when the sun was high in the sky. They worked until the last of the sun disappeared from the far mountaintop, and the valley started to get dark again. 

That night, over dinner, Lumi asked her parents: “Where does the sun set?” 

“It sets behind the mountain,” they replied. 

“What’s behind the mountain?” asked Lumi. 

“Where the sun sets,” they replied. 

“But what else is behind the mountain?” asked Lumi. 

Her parents looked at each other. They had never thought to ask the question, nor had any of their friends or neighbours. “We don’t know,” they replied. 

One day a year later, Lumi’s mother suggested that since Lumi had been so helpful in the fields, that they could take a day and have a picnic at the lake. Lumi thought this was the best idea she’d ever heard, and couldn’t wait. They packed a picnic basket, and went down to the lakeshore. 

After they’d had a wonderful lunch of apples, cheese, bread, and sausage, Lumi’s father asked: “Would you like to go for a swim in the lake?” 

“Yes!” said Lumi, and ran down to the water without another word. She ran into the water, her dress still on, until the water was up to her waist, and she stopped. Then she ran back out. 

“What’s the matter, Lumi?” asked her father. 

“The lake is so big and deep!” she said, shivering slightly. 

“Of course it is,” said her father. “What’s wrong with that?” 

“How could I ever swim in it?” she asked. Lumi knew how to swim, but the little pond on their farm was nothing like the huge lake. 

“One little bit at a time, “ smiled her father. “Why don’t you swim from here to that rock over there?” he asked, pointing to a huge boulder a little way down the shore. 

“Okay,” said Lumi slowly, and she went down to the water, got back in, and swam all the way to the boulder. She climbed up on top of it, and jumped up and down, shouting: “Look! I did it! I swam in the lake!” 

“I’ll bet you can swim all the way back, and then out to that log!” said her father, pointing out into the lake to a large log that floated near the shore. Lumi jumped back into the lake, and swam all the way without stopping once. 

One day, a year later, Lumi was helping bring in some firewood under the brightening morning sky. She looked out towards the mountain where the tip was starting to glow from the sun. 

“Mother,” she asked, “where does the sun rise?” 

“It rises from behind the mountain,” said her mother, starting the fire in the oven. 

“What’s behind the mountain?” asked Lumi. 

“Where the sun rises,” answered Lumi’s father. 

“But what else is behind the mountain?” asked Lumi. 

“We don’t know,” they replied. 

So Lumi asked her friends. None of them knew, either. None of their parents knew. The baker didn’t know, the carpenter didn’t know, nor did the weaver or the seamstress. No-one knew. 

“I want to see the sun rise,” said Lumi one day at lunch. “And I want to see it set.” 

“You watch it every day!” said her father. 

“No, I mean a real sunrise and sunset. Where the sun meets the horizon!” said Lumi. 

“But that’s the horizon,” said Lumi’s mother, pointing at the tops of the mountains all around them. 

“That’s the top of the mountain,” said Lumi. “I want to see where the sun rises and sets beyond that.” 

“Oh,” said her parents. 

After a moment, Lumi stood up. “I’m going to climb a mountain!” she declared. 

“Oh,” said her parents. 

“Well, that’s a long, hard trip,” said her father. 

“Then I’d better bring a sandwich!” said Lumi, and went into the house. 

She came out of the house a few minutes later, dressed with a sweater, long pants, her boots, and a hat. She slung her father’s sack over her shoulder, which bulged with a blanket, a full waterskin, a sandwich, and her stuffed bear. She smiled at her parents, and set off for the tallest mountain, which sat at the south end of the valley. 

By the time Lumi arrived at the tallest mountain, the sun had already set on the west side of the valley. She looked up at the mountain and saw that it was much, much bigger than she had remembered. It loomed over her. She stopped. From her home, the mountain seemed not so … “huge,” she said to herself. She stared at it for a long while, then turned, and slowly walked home. It was very dark by the time Lumi got home, and her parents were surprised to see her. 

“What happened?” asked Lumi’s mother. “Did you see the sunset?” 

“No,” said Lumi, sadly. “I can’t climb the mountain. It’s too big.” 

“Do you remember the first time you helped us in the field?” asked Lumi’s father. 

“Yes,” replied Lumi. “It was fun!” 

“But you were scared of it. You thought it was too big to farm,” said her father. 

“I remember,” nodded Lumi. 

“You’re out there every day, hoeing, watering, and harvesting. Does it seem so big now?” asked her father.

“No, it’s a lot of work, but it’s not that big,” laughed Lumi. 

“Do you remember the first time you swam in the lake?” asked Lumi’s mother. 

“Yes,” replied Lumi. “It was fun!”

“But you were scared of it. You thought the lake was too big and too deep,” said her mother. 

“I remember,” nodded Lumi.

“You swim across the lake nearly every week. Does it seem so big now?” asked her mother. 

“No, it’s a lot of work, but it’s not that big,” laughed Lumi. 

“It’s the same thing with a mountain,” said her father. “It just looks big. You just have to climb it a bit at a time.” 

Lumi nodded. “I understand. I’ll try again tomorrow.” 

The next day, shortly after the sun reached the top of the western side of the valley, Lumi left her house again, dressed in her sweater, long pants, boots, and hat. She had her father’s sack over her shoulder, which had the blanket, two full waterskins, and three sandwiches. She left her stuffed bear sitting in her bedroom window to watch.

The sun was high by the time Lumi reached the tallest mountain at the south end of the valley. She looked up again at the mountain and saw that it was still much, much bigger than she had remembered. It still loomed over her. She stopped. Then she looked down, ahead of her. She could see a kind of path that led up the side. “This,” she said confidently, “is where I’ll start.” 

She climbed the path up the side until the path stopped. She looked down. She hadn’t climbed very far. She looked up, and the mountain still seemed huge. Then she saw a set of holes that covered the side of the mountain. She put her hands and feet in them, and started climbing up. She climbed up and up and up. 

When the holes stopped, Lumi found herself on a small ledge. She sat down, pulled out her first sandwich, and ate it hungrily. She looked about and saw that she had climbed a long way up. The valley floor seemed a long way beneath her. The sun was starting to set on the western edge of the valley. She could still see the stone walls that cut up the valley into the farms, including her own. The field seemed … smaller. And beyond it, she could see the lake. The lake was smaller, too! Lumi then looked up and saw that the mountain was … a little less huge than it had been before. 

At the edge of the ledge, Lumi found a trail that wound up the side of the mountain, zigging and zagging back and forth. When the path stopped, she looked down and saw that the shadow had reached the eastern edge, and it was dark in the valley. She looked down and starting seeing the lights in the village being lit. But she could see that the sun hadn’t set outside the valley. 

The valley looked … small. She could barely see the centre of the village. She couldn’t really see her family’s farm anymore. And the lake … the lake looked no bigger than the pond back home! Everything that once seemed so huge to her now seemed so utterly … tiny

Lumi turned and looked west. She saw vast plains that seemed to run out beyond view, a patchwork of browns, greens, golds, and even a few pockets of red, blue, and purple! Silvery rivers cut through them, edged with deep fuzzy green, flowing out to a lake so huge that it didn’t seem to end. “That must be the ocean!” she exclaimed. She looked up, and saw that the mountain wasn’t so big anymore. 

Up Lumi climbed. She climbed up rocks, carefully walked around boulders, until finally, she had run out of mountain. She stood on the very top, and looked all around her. Below, the valley seemed to be a little dark egg, speckled with the tiny dim lights of the village. When she looked to the east, the skies were dark blue, the clouds a bright white. In the west, the sun had turned from the bright yellow-white Lumi had only ever known, to a deep glowing yellow that sent great long dark streaks across the plains as the sun went lower and lower in the sky. 

Slowly, the sun turned the clouds in the skies yellow. Then they slipped to a light orange that darkened with each moment before finally bursting into a bright red, like a fire dancing across the sky. All around her, the clouds lit up brightly, casting a red hue on everything. The red deepened, and then slowly began to fade as the sun dipped below the horizon, the real horizon that Lumi had always known was there, but could never see. And then, the sun was gone. The lights faded, and slowly everything else grew dark. 

Below her, in the valley, it was almost black. The lights were starting to go out as people were going to sleep. Night had already fallen at home. On the mountain, Lumi found it impossible to sleep, unable to stop watching the changing lights. She found a little nook in the rocks, curled up in her blanket, ate her second sandwich, and watched the stars come out. 

When Lumi awoke many hours later, it was still dark. She looked up and saw millions and millions and millions of stars across the velvety black of the night, sparking into shapes and swirls of light. 

And then she noticed that it was becoming harder to see the stars, like they were fading away. Lumi looked to the east, and saw that the sky was no longer black, but a dark blue. The skies slowly began to light, the clouds appearing from the inky blackness as the light caused them to bloom into fluffy whiteness. 

Then, almost imperceptibly, a thin sliver of yellow appeared. The sky around it seemed to jump with reds, oranges, and yellows. The clouds lit up like great balls of cotton candy as the sun crawled it’s way up into the morning sky. 

Lumi smiled, eating her last sandwich as the sun continued to rise. Then she folded up her blanket and tucked it onto the sack, and started her long, slow climb back down the mountain. It took all day. She wished that she had brought a fourth sandwich. She reached the very bottom by the time the sun had almost set in the valley. She looked back up at the huge mountain next to her. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s not that big,” laughed Lumi. 

Her parents were thrilled when Lumi came home. They had been very worried about her. Her mother served Lumi a huge bowl of lamb stew, Lumi’s favourite. She ate two servings while she told her parents all about her trip. The next day, she told the story to all of her friends. Then she told it to the baker, the carpenter, the weaver and the seamstress. 

Slowly but surely, almost everyone went up the mountain to see for themselves. Everyone thought the sight was beyond anything they could have dreamed. 

So, one day, everyone decided that they wanted to live on the other side of the mountain, on one of the plains, near one of the silvery rivers, and watch the sun rise and set every day. The entire village moved to a new village, and every morning the villagers would greet the sun as it rose into the sky, and bid it goodnight as it dipped from sight. 

As for Lumi, she loved the new village. She loved her new farm. She loved her new pond. She continued to climb the mountains, and she swam in the nearby river every chance she got. 

Then one day she asked her parents: “What’s at the end of the river?”