Showing posts with label Fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fiction. Show all posts

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The magic pumpkin

It was a sunny Fall day, crisp and blue and gold. Kevin and his friend Katie climbed onto the school bus, heading for the Pumpkin Patch. They sat on the back bench and had fun bouncing around. But Katie was grumpy. She didn't want to go on the trip. She hated cold Fall weather and pumpkins and everything.
The bus parked at the farm.  There was an enormous pile of orange pumpkins beside a wagon and tractor. Everyone rushed for the wagon. Kevin and Katie sat in the front as it headed out. They watched the huge wheels of the tractor bump slowly over ruts in the dirt path. More bouncing! Then the tractor stopped.

On either side long rows of pumpkins lay in the dust, each in its own tangle of vines. They were all different sizes and shades of orange, with light brown patches.  The driver said the ones with stalks lasted longer. Kevin and Katie ran down the same dusty row. Kevin worried when bigger kids ran past and grabbed the best pumpkins.  Soon Katie said she didn't care anyway and picked up the next one on the ground.  Kevin kept looking.

Time was up and Kevin was still empty handed. He ran faster.  Then he saw one the others had missed. It was small and a clear orange in color, with a little brown mark shaped like a star. It was perfect. Kevin pulled it off its vines, held the prickly stem carefully and ran back to the bus. Katie said it was ugly and they quarreled.

That night Kevin's father cut open the pumpkin, scooped out its insides and carved it. The pumpkin grinned at them - a lopsided, mischievous kind of a grin. Kevin cut a star shaped nose with his dad's help, and saved the piece. He put the pumpkin on his bedside table and tucked the little star under his pillow.

He fell asleep and dreamed that he was back in the Pumpkin Patch. His pumpkin had long vine legs and arms, and called itself Jack-O. Jack-O told Kevin that he could have one wish, anything at all. Kevin badly wanted a new video game. The kids at school were all talking about it.

All the next day, Kevin imagined playing the game. He wanted to tell Katie on the bus home, but she was cross and wouldn't talk. She seemed sad as well as grumpy.  So Kevin asked his mother and father at supper time about Katie's dad in hospital.  Their worried faces answered him.

It was hard to get to sleep that night. When he did, with the little star under his pillow, Kevin found himself back in the Pumpkin Patch.  It was a stormy Fall day with leaves flying everywhere, red and orange and brown.  The wind blew so hard that Jack-O bobbed in the air, vines waving and getting in tangles.

It was time for the wish.  Kevin opened his mouth to ask for his game.  But as the storm tossed leaves around him, he saw his friend's face and the words spilled out 'Make Katie's dad better'.   Jack-O's orange face split in an enormous grin.  He danced in the air while he told Kevin how to pass on the magic.  Then he disappeared in a burst of orange fireworks, full of little sparkling stars.

Katie wasn't at school the next morning.  Was Jack-O only a dream?  But she arrived late, smiling and all was well - her father was coming home on the week-end.  After school, Katie and Kevin played in the park.  The pumpkin star was grubby and shrivelled in Kevin's pocket and the wind swished leaves gently along the ground.  Kevin and Katie tossed them at each other, kicked them into piles and jumped in.

Then Kevin took out the little star and threw it high in the air. A gust of wind picked it up. Away it spiralled, higher and higher in the sky. He watched until it was only a little orange point and then even that disappeared.  Katie asked what he was doing.  Oh nothing, just pumpkin magic, replied Kevin with a secret smile.


Credits: Hilary Williamson

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cost of a miracle


Tess was eight years old when she heard her Mom and Dad talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment complex next month because Daddy didn't have the money for the doctor bills and their house. Only a very costly surgery could save him now and it was looking like there was no one to loan them the money.

She heard Daddy say to her tearful mother with whispered desperation, "Only a miracle can save him now." Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a small box from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the box, she slipped out the back door and made her way six blocks to the drug store.

She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was busy talking to another man and couldn't be bothered by an eight year old at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good. Finally she took a quarter from her box and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!

"And what do you want?" the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. "I'm talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven't seen in ages." he said, without waiting for a reply to his question. "Well, I want to talk to you about my brother." Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. "He's really, really sick and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?" "We don't sell miracles here, little girl. I'm sorry but I can't help you." the pharmacist said, softening a little.

"Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn't enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs."

The pharmacist's brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, "What kind of a miracle does your brother need?"

"I don't know." Tess replied with eyes filled with tears. "I just know he's really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can't pay for it, so I want to use my money."

"How much do you have?" asked the man from Chicago.

"One dollar and eleven cents." Tess answered. "And it's all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to."

"Well, what a coincidence." smiled the man. "A dollar and eleven cents - the exact price of a miracle for little brothers." He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her hand and said , "Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let's see if I have the kind of miracle you need."

That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstong, a surgeon, specializing in neurosurgery. The surgery was completed without charge and it wasn't long until Andrew was home again and doing well. Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place.

"That surgery", her Mom whispered, "was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?" Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost ... one dollar and eleven cents, plus the faith of a little child.