Starry Sky

The Boy
Who Wouldn't Grow

Surely you have all heard of the guardian angels who keep watch over us throughout the night,

protecting our beds from harm and our heads from bad dreams. These devoted angels work day and night

guarding over our every step with but one night of rest a month. During these times,

our helpers lay their tired heads on the soft bed of clouds that drift through the night sky.

On this one night off, the cheerful fairies who make the flowers grow, make the same gift to the children of this world, sprinkling lightly their fairy dust sparkling like moonlight as it leaves the fairies’ thin fingers

and touches the children’s heads.

It is said that the fairies pour their magic at the full moon. But this may or may not be true, and it sometimes is,

and sometimes isn’t. Well, it happened that one small child, a boy of about two, decided one night to crawl

out of his bed and into that of his mama, and there he held her tight and settled in for a warm cuddly night.

Of course, as it happened, it was the same night the fairies came to sprinkle the growing dust.

So when the boy’s fairy appeared, she was quite confused to find an empty bed.

“What has happened to your boy?” the fairy asked of his guardian angel. The angel told the fairy

where the boy was sleeping and went on his way quick as a wink, eager to lay his tired head

on the soft cushion of cloud that was waiting for him.

Left alone, the fairy felt quite helpless. Of course, the guardian angel did not know that the dust could not be sprinkled on the mother’s bed which was against the rules. The fairy let fall many tears

and waited for the boy to come back to his own bed. But he never did, and when the sun began to peek

over the horizon, she knew she must be away to her home. And that is what she did. And the poor little boy

did no growing that month or for several months thereafter, as he found he loved to sleep with mama,

and feel her soft warm skin against his own. Her hair was like silk and smelled like honey. How could he return

to his crib when such a wonderful place was waiting for him beside mama?

Mama began to notice the change first. She noticed all the other children growing taller and stronger.

She worried about her youngest boy, because he remained so small, although he ate plenty of growing food

and played happily for hours under the golden sun.

Well, the angel, having heard from the fairy the terrible thing which was happening,

grew worried about her charge and sent the fairy on a journey to Father Sun.

Father Sun, the angel said, by whom all living things live, will know what to do.

The fairy made the long journey to Father Sun and explained about the boy and how,

even though he had continued to eat well and play and to keep warm, he would not sleep in his own bed

and thus missed many months of growing dust.

“Why does he sleep with his mama?” Father Sun asked.

“It is because her skin is so soft,” answered the fairy. “To touch her hair is to touch silk

and her skin smells sweet, like honey from the desert flowers.”

Father Sun pondered this information so long that it looked to the fairy that Father Sun was sleeping

when really he was thinking with his eyes closed. In time, she said, “Father Sun, what should I do?”

and Father Sun opened his eyes and said with a smile:

“If you want this child to grow, you must do what I say. Because he loves the softness of his mother’s skin and hair, you must make for his bed a blanket of goat’s hair. You will find the goat in the field

which lay beyond the boy’s home. It is the softest you have ever touched, much like the mother’s silken hair.

Then, you must douse his sheets in a honey soap, so that when he breathes, he will believe

he is in the bed of his mama, and he will sleep peacefully throughout the night.”

So the fairy went back to the guardian angel and told him all she heard from Father Sun and the angel told the fairy where to find the goat and the honeybees so she may spend her day doing as Father Sun had directed.

By evening, there was waiting for the boy a woolen blanket soft and silky as his mama, and he wrapped

it around his small body. The sheets, now smelling of honey, he pulled to his cheeks and rubbed against.

Never did a boy sleep so happily or so soundly. For he stayed in the bed all through the night, and the fairy,

happy at last, sprinkled him with growing dust and a little dream dust as well,

so that he should have the happiest night, then kissed him on the head and departed.

As for the boy, he grew strong and tall, and wherever he went took with him

his soft goat wool blanket, so that even when he was in a strange place,

the memory of his mama’s soft skin and silken hair was never far away.