Tag: curiosity

Charlie’s Room: Lost Socks

One night, Isaac woke up from an odd dream where he could fly underwater, feeling suddenly very thirsty. So he slid his feet into his slippers and softly walked down the hallway to the kitchen. He didn’t need to turn on the light, because the full moon filled the room with a bluish light that made everything seem unfamiliar.

Isaac filled his glass at the tap and looked around the kitchen as he sipped the lukewarm water. It was one of those strange nights where fairy tales begin. On a night like this, little elves made shoes and Cinderella lost her slipper and Rumplestiltskin danced around a fire.

But nothing had happened by the time he finished drinking his first glass. So, he turned to the sink and filled it again. This time, he saw something moving at the other end of the kitchen.

Setting his glass on the counter, he quietly walked through the shadows. He stopped and crouched to peek around the edge of the table and saw a line of oddly-shaped beings of different shapes and sizes, none taller than a foot. They were traveling from the laundry room across the kitchen to the sliding glass door.

The first creature reached the door and didn’t pause. It hopped up and through the door as though the glass wasn’t there. The next followed.

Isaac squinted and leaned forward. Were those all socks? In the moonlight, they seemed monochromatic, but as far as he could tell, there wasn’t a match among them. This then wasn’t some sort of Noah’s Ark story where the socks were being saved two by two. That was probably a good thing, because any disaster that would destroy socks wasn’t likely to be good for people.

Isaac wanted to crawl forward and see where the socks were going, but he didn’t want to interrupt the socks. The stories mostly agreed that interrupting a fairy tale in progress didn’t go well for the interrupter. So he waited and watched.

Fortunately, it didn’t take long for the line of socks to come to an end. Isaac waited a few minutes after the last of the socks hopped through the glass door. Then, sticking to the shadows as best as he could, he circled around to peer around the edge of the door.

In the light of the full moon, the mismatched socks were dancing around the dandelions in the lawn. There weren’t many, because Marianne tried to dig them up when she saw them. She said that dandelions were not allowed that close to the garden, because they spread so quickly once they went to seed.

Isaac liked dandelions. The lawn in the park was all dandelions this time of year, and the sight made Isaac smile when he passed by on his walks. It was like concentrated cheerfulness to have so many dandelions together, like sunshine in a flower form.

Isaac did not dig up dandelions when he saw them.

The socks seemed to agree with Isaac. They continued to dance around the dandelions, twisting and leaping faster and faster. The groups scattered and reformed in different combinations. Isaac quietly tapped the rhythm of the dance on his knee.

Were they dancing to music? Could socks hear music? Before this night, Isaac didn’t know socks could dance. Was there a way to open the door or a window to check and see?

And yet, he didn’t want to risk interrupting. Curiosity wasn’t a good character trait in fairy tales. Maybe he could open the front door? It was on the other side of the house, away from the dancing socks. But what if the socks were dancing there, too?

He could check out the front window first. He backed up slowly until he could stand up out of sight of the glass door and walk to the living room. He peeked around the edge of the front window. No socks.

He opened the front door slowly, quietly, carefully. No music. He quietly closed the door and went back to the kitchen. He carefully looked out the glass door again.

The socks were gone.

Was it because he opened the front door? Was their dance done? Did they return to where they came from? Did they go somewhere else? Where would a group of mismatched socks go? Perhaps all the neighborhood socks met in the park for a community dance.

Isaac finished drinking his water and left the glass in the sink. He went back to bed. Even though he thought he’d be up for hours thinking about dancing socks, he fell asleep quickly.

He woke up early, when dawn shone through the windows leaving orange patches of light on the wall. Slippers on, he hurried to the kitchen to look out the window. The dandelions had all gone to seed in the night, and were now white puffs floating above the lawn on their stems like clouds in a green sky.

Marianne came into the kitchen behind him. “What are you looking at?” She leaned in to look over his shoulder. “Are those dandelions? Oh no!”

She rushed off, probably to change and go dig up all the dandelions she could find before breakfast. Isaac shook his head and started measuring water for oatmeal.

Little Red and Miss Shiny

Little Red had fleece as white as snow. So, it may seem a little strange that her name was Little Red, when she wasn’t red at all. But she was red once, for a short time, and sheep have long memories, so even now she is still called Little Red.

She got her nickname because she was curious. Little Red was always curious. Her mother said that Little Red bleated why long before she ever said ma.

So, when the farmer began putting a new coat of red paint on the big barn doors, Little Red rushed over to take a closer look. She examined the doors and the paint can and the farmer’s paint splattered shoes before the farmer had even finished a down stroke with his paintbrush.

And just like that, she was splashed and speckled red all over. It took quite a while for the last of the paint to fade. The other lambs all still teased her months later, but even that didn’t cure her curiosity.

Little Red’s grandmother was sold to the farmer the next farm over. When the flock drifted over by the fence, sometimes her grandmother was on the other side of the fence and her mother and grandmother would catch up.

“Did you know that Dandelion had a lamb this spring?” Mother said last week.

“Little Red will have to look out for her new cousin,” Grandmother said.

They both looked at her, but Little Red pretended not to hear them. Babies were boring. She wanted to go on an adventure. She was old enough now to spend time away from her mother and see the world. There was so much to see!

So, a week later, when the sheepdog was herding the sheep towards the pasture closer to the barn, Little Red turned and bolted. She thought about squeezing through the hole in the fence and visiting her grandmother. But, in the flat pastures, she’d be spotted soon enough. Besides, Grandmother would just scold her and send her home.

Little Red looked around. The shadows in the nearby forest looked cool on the hot day and very mysterious. It looked like the perfect place for an adventure. She raced towards the forest and soon was hidden in its shadows.

It just so happened that, in the forest by the pasture, there lived a little wolf with pretty shiny fur. Her fur was so shiny that her mother called her Little Miss Shiny Fur, and the name stuck. Her friends, family, and other wolfish acquaintances all called her Miss Shiny.

The day before Little Red’s adventure, Miss Shiny’s family had a big barbecue and invited all the neighbors. Unfortunately, they ended up with lots of leftovers. And so, just as Little Red slipped into the shadows of the forest, Miss Shiny’s mother sent her with a basket of leftovers to her grandmother, who lived on the other side of the woods.

It wasn’t long before they crossed paths. Little Red, ever curious, asked, “What do you have in that basket?”

Miss Shiny, startled, turned to find a little white sheep with sticks and leaves in its wool looking closely at her basket. “It’s treats for my grandmother. She lives at the other side of the forest.”

Little Red nodded. “I have a grandmother, too. But I don’t need to bring her treats. The grass is always greener on her side of the fence.”

“All right then.” And Miss Shiny turned and continued on her way.

Little Red decided that visiting someone else’s grandmother would be a grand adventure, and she was curious to see what was in the basket. She followed her all the way to her grandmother’s house. To her delight, Miss Shiny didn’t notice. While Miss Shiny knocked on the front door, Little Red snuck in the back door and started to explore.

Miss Shiny’s grandmother was a little old wolf whose fur was going white with age. She squinted in the sunlight as she answered the door. “Miss Shiny? Is that you?”

“I’ve brought you some treats, Grandmother.” Miss Shiny held up the basket.

“Did I miss the barbecue again? Oh dear. Come in and have a cup of peppermint tea and tell me all about it.”

Miss Shiny followed her grandmother to the kitchen. But all the dried herbs that usually hung from the cupboards were gone. Only a few well-chewed twigs remained. Grandmother gasped. “Someone’s eaten all my herbs!”

They rushed out of the kitchen and into the living room. Grandmother’s rocking chair was overturned and smashed. Grandmother hurried over and picked up the pieces. “Someone was rocking in my chair and broke it!”

Miss Shiny followed her grandmother to the bedroom. Grandmother yelped and pointed at the bed. “There is someone sleeping in my bed!”

Miss Shiny looked. Whoever was in the bed had their back to them. “Grandmother,” she said. “Isn’t that your nightgown?”

Grandmother growled. “She stole it!”

“And the fur is white as yours, too.”

Grandmother narrowed her eyes. “Mine was never that messy.”

“And…”

But, just then, Little Red turned to see where the noise was coming from. While she had never seen a wolf before, the angry grandmother with the sharp claws and teeth made her a little nervous. The growls, deeper and scarier than the sheepdog’s, decided it.

Little Red darted out of bed, jumped out the window, and ran home, losing the nightgown in the bushes somewhere along the way. She decided that now that she’d seen the forest, it was boring, and she never needed to explore there again. At least that’s what she told all her friends. Secretly, she often wondered what was in the basket. She never did find out.

Grandmother Wolf had to pick and dry all new herbs. She started with chamomile and made it into tea to steady her nerves. She washed her bed sheets and bought a new nightgown. She never left her back door unlocked again.

Miss Shiny learned to not talk to strangers, even if they seemed harmless. Even strange sheep. Especially strange sheep.

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