“So, how are you the queen of everything?” Isaac asked.
The sheep smiled. “Would you like to see my store?”
“I don’t have any money.” For some reason, Isaac felt a twinge of embarrassment, even though even if he’d brought money to this world with him, it probably wouldn’t be the right kind.
“Oh, I wouldn’t sell you anything,” the sheep said. “If I sold something, then I wouldn’t have it anymore, and then I wouldn’t be the Queen of Everything.”
“Then isn’t it more like a museum?”
The sheep shook her head. “Of course not. You have to pay admission to go into a museum, but I let anyone in to look. Plus you can’t pick anything up in a museum, and I think that’s all right, as long as you don’t try to keep anything.”
Isaac was puzzled. “You’re right, that doesn’t sound like a normal museum. But it’s not a store if you aren’t selling anything. Do you live there?”
“Of course I do.”
Isaac nodded. “Then it’s not a store or a museum. It’s your house.” His feeling of triumph quickly collapsed into awkwardness. “Not that the name really matters.”
The sheep bleated in surprise. “Of course it matters! Names are very important. If no one had any names, then we couldn’t remember more than a handful of people. How would we celebrate together or mourn together if we didn’t know who any one was?”
Isaac thought for a moment. Maybe she was right. “Okay. Then can I see your house-museum-shop?”
“Follow me,” the sheep said. She led the way across a stone path through a swampy area that went from wet sand to mud to mud filled with little puddles and ponds to the shore of a lake. A bridge made of logs and ropes led to a house on stilts in the center.
The sheep trotted quickly across the swaying bridge. Isaac hurried across, telling himself not to look down until he was safely at the other side on firmer ground. What if there were alligators in the lake? Didn’t they live in swamps? He’d prefer not to know just yet.
He looked down at the end of the bridge and squinted at some suspicious logs before he followed the sheep inside. The house was piled high with things like books and clothes and shoes and sports equipment. It was an odd assortment of stuff, as though a group of people had emptied out their closets into piles in a big empty room.
“Where did it all come from?” Isaac asked.
“Over there.” The sheep pointed a hoof at the back wall. A row of doors stretched across the wall.
“Where do they lead?”Isaac asked.
“The back of closets.” The sheep slumped down, and once again she became a lady. “I’m the queen of everything. I can be anything and I can have anything. I can change all this stuff into whatever I want. Watch.”
The lady pointed at a tennis shoe and it turned itself into a crown. Isaac gasped. “Wow.”
The lady sighed and waved her hand. The crown turned back into a shoe. “I know it seems neat. I thought so at first, too. But I can’t go anywhere, and I’m all alone. My family lives on the other side of those doors. I watch them throw things into their closets and never check the back wall. If they did, they’d see me. I even take the things out of their closet, but they never check the back.”
“It’s like the wardrobe,” Isaac said. “Do you call out to them?”
“They’re closets, not wardrobes, dear. Names are important.” She patted him on the head. “But yes, I call. They don’t hear me.”
“Then maybe they don’t see you either,” Isaac said. “You can’t go back?”
“Not unless they come here first. And everyone is so much older now. I think they’ve forgotten me.” A tear traced its way down her cheek.
“Isn’t there anyway for you to get home?” Isaac asked sadly.
“Not that I’ve found.” The lady picked up a book and dusted off the cover. With a wave of her hand, the dust gathered into a ring shape and turned into a doughnut. It floated over to Isaac.
Isaac plucked the doughnut out of the air. “Thank you.” He took a bite and pondered. “There has to be a way. I’ll ask everyone at the party. Surely someone is a queen or king of something that can help. I don’t think that you’re the only one who wants to go home.”
“That would be wonderful,” the lady said.