Emmie walked up the path through the great green field across the street from her house to the friendly woods with the creek winding through them – and the creaky bridge over it – to play Poohsticks. They were the scary woods at night, but that is a different story.
“Psst. Oh-vuh he-uh.”
“What,” Emmie asked to nowhere.
“Over here. Look up.”
A crow perched on the lower branch of an Oak tree, shielded by drooping leaves.
“That’s a nice shirt you got thay-uh. What’d’ya want fuh it?”
“Excuse me?” Asked Esmeralda.
“I’ll give you a Magic acorn. It will turn into what evv-uh you most de-zi-uh. What evv-uh you love best. You love worms? It’ll turn into worms.”
“I don’t love worms.”
“What you love?”
“I love my hamster.”
“Oh! Why it is the best Acorn-Hamm-stuh of all. I should have said that first. It will turn into a hamm-stuh. Now, gimmee the shirt.”
Emmie pulled off her shirt with the giraffe over her heart and gave it to the crow.
“As for the acorn. I don’t have it on me right now. That would be too risky. You keep walking down the path and when you see Raccoon, he’ll give you the acorn. He’s guarding it for me.”
Emmie walked on, feeling the breeze on her arms, shoulders and back. Then she heard,
“Hey. You. Little girl. Over here.”
Hiding behind tall clump of wildflowers was Raccoon. Emmie told him what the crow had said.
“That’s right. I can give you the magic walnut…”
“What? Oh, yeah…acorn. But first you have to give me your shoes and socks. My paws are cold from running through the stream all night and the sharp pebbles are really annoying.”
Emmie took off her favorite shoes. Her mom bought them because they made Emmie run fast (she saw it on TV). And the socks had the picture of Hamlet, her hamster, on the ankle.
The raccoon put the socks on his front paws and the fast shoes on his hind paws. He thought he looked like a boy and smiled with pride.
“I’d like my acorn.”
“I don’t have the acorn right now. I’m sure you can appreciate how dangerous that would be. My friend, Duck, has it. He is swimming in the stream in the woods by the bridge. Tell him Raccoon and Crow said to give you the acorn. And tell him, none of your shenanigans. Say, give it to me now or Raccoon will come looking for you. Tell him.”
Raccoon walked away in his shoes and hamster socks looking for a game of dodgeball.
Esmeralda walked through the woods, saying, “oooh,” and “oww,” each time her bare feet found a sharp twig or a pine needle. She leaned over the old wooden bridge and saw a duck swimming in the stream.
“Duck. Duck. I’ve come for my acorn. Would you be so kind as to give it to me, please? Raccoon and Crow thought you might have it.”
“Those two thieves! You didn’t believe them, did you? What would I do with an acorn?”
Emmie told the duck about her dealings with Crow and Raccoon.
“Oh, that acorn. The magic acorn. Of course, I can get that for you. But first you must give me your pants.”
“My pants! Oh no. I can’t do that.”
“That’s the only way I will give you the magic pecan.”
“Acorn. Yes. I don’t see why Crow and Raccoon should get gifts and not myself. Especially since I will be the one doing the giving of the acorn.”
So, Emmie slipped off her favorite pants and gave them to the duck. The duck pulled the pants over her paddle-feet and over her tail, holding them in place with one wing tucked under her bill.
“Now, I am a real human girl and do not have to live in the stream ever again.”
She struggled to the flap her wings, but as she rose into her clumsy flight Emmie shouted,
“What about my acorn!”
“You walk back up the path to the big Oak tree where Crow was. There will you will see the magic acorn.”
“But which one?”
“The one with the magic.”
Emmie walked back down the woodchip path, through the friendly woods, her feet stinging. She came to the wildflowers were she had talked with Raccoon. He was gone. She continued toward home walking on the asphalt path through the great green field. She came to the Oak where she had first talked with Crow. She scouted around its trunk and found a single acorn.
“Hmm,” she said.
She walked home, chilly from the cool breeze.
“Esmeralda! Where are your clothes,” exclaimed her mother.
“I was thinking about that on the way home. I gave my shirt to a crow, my shoes and socks to a raccoon and my pants to a duck.”
“What did you get in return?”
Emmie tumbled the acorn between her fingers.
“An acorn! Is that what those no-good animals gave you?”
“Oh, Esmeralda! That was the shirt you liked best. You swung to the clouds wearing that shirt. Those socks have Hamlet on the ankle. We ordered them special from hamsterstore.com. Those shoes…you liked them, Emmie. Really liked them. You learned to tie your laces with those shoes. And you gave away your pants! For an acorn? But you liked those pants best.”
“I was thinking about that. You see, it is a magic acorn. And it turns into whatever I love. So walking home I thought about what I loved and I looked up and saw our big blue house with the swingset in the backyard, and I thought, I love my home. And when I saw my bedroom window I thought about and how much I love playing in my room with Hamlet and feeding him pieces of carrots. And playing with my hamster made me think of sharing my toys with my friends and how much I love that. And when I thought about love, I thought of you. And then I thought that this was my favorite day because I got to give away everything I like best and keep everything I love.”
And then Emmie hugged her mom…and kept hugging her.
brian wapole ©2012