STORIES OF WILLOW contd….

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LOST AND FOUND

It had been, thought Willow, the most perfect, the most beautiful egg in the whole, wide world.  There would never be another egg like it.

Just large enough to fill her hand, this exquisite, golden egg shone so brightly, it would light up the darkest corner of any room.  Whenever Willow felt sad, or lonely, or even just a little bit restless, she would go to a small wooden box, which she kept hidden in her wardrobe.  Even with the lid of the box tightly closed, golden strands of light shone out to her, emitting from within the box.  Withdrawing the golden egg from its nest of straw, Willow would always smile as she held the egg tightly in her hand.  Immediately, feeling the warm, golden glow in the palm of her hand, Willow felt comforted, safe, and not at all alone.

It wasn’t that hard to understand.  Aside from being so very beautiful, the golden egg shone with a warm, comforting glow that both reassured, and offered affirmations to Willow, for all that she held most dear.  How was this possible, one might ask – given that this egg was an inanimate object d’art.  Well, it was simple.  Willow found she could talk to the egg about all sorts of things.  Not only could she talk to it, but often, when discussing things of great importance with the egg, Willow felt as though she had received a reply.  Not that she heard a “voice” or anything!  Everyone knows, an egg, even a golden egg, does not have an actual “voice”.  Yet, Willow could hear answers to many of her questions, coming to her from somewhere deep within the egg.  Sometimes, it even felt like more of a conversation, as she sat with the egg in her hand, or placed in its nest, on the window ledge in front of her.  Chatting away to the egg about things that occupied her mind, or simply sharing things that drew her interest, Willow often felt as though she were in engaged in an easy, warm and often stimulating dialogue with the golden egg.

Not only when she was sad – when she was happy, too, Willow loved to play with the golden egg.  She particularly loved to sit in her pretty, green rocking chair, gazing out of the window towards the meadow, rolling the egg across her fingers, swapping it from hand to hand.

The most wonderful things about the egg, was that you could open it!  If you unscrewed it very carefully indeed, you could open the egg to reveal an inner lining of the purest, smoothest, gold.  Devoid of content, yet filled with golden light, Willow often wondered what secrets this egg held.

Thinking back on where she had found it, Willow remembered that warm, sunny Sunday morning, on which the egg had revealed itself to her.  It had happened like this:

Visiting the meadow, Willow had rested beside the small, clear stream that ran across the borders of the meadow, and out into the woodland surrounding it.  Lying on her tummy, gazing into the stream in search of fish, or frogs, or any of the  wonders that swam there, Willow had noticed something glinting from beneath the surface of the water.  Reaching into the stream towards a golden light, her fingers had rested on something cool, and smooth.  Withdrawing her hand from the water, Willow had marvelled at the golden egg that she now held firmly within her grasp!  It fitted so perfectly in her hand – as though it belonged there.

Could I really have found such a treasure, she wondered.  Could this beautiful, golden treasure truly have revealed itself for me to have and hold?  Not certain she was worthy, but resolved to keep the golden egg a secret from all but one, Willow had raced immediately to the Great Oak Tree, to show her prize to Jay.

“This is a very splendid egg, Willow!  Do look after it dear, it has a lot to show you.”

“A lot to show me?  It’s beautiful, but it’s only an egg, Jay.”

Have you looked inside it, Willow?”  Jay smiled.

“You can open it, Jay, but there is nothing inside it!”

Carefully unscrewing the egg, Willow opened it up, and presented it for Jay to inspect.

“Look, it’s quite empty!”

“Is it dear.  Are you quite sure?  Never mind, close it carefully up again, and keep it somewhere very safe.”

Which, on reflection, is exactly what Willow had done.  On returning home, Willow had found a pretty little wooden box, that she remembered her mother giving her years ago.  Filling it with loose straw she had found in an old tomato box Willow had seen in the garage, Willow created a lovely nest for the egg to nestle in.  Having settled it safely within its box, Willow had hidden the egg, carefully, in her wardrobe.  There, it had sat safely, for many years.

Until today.

Today, on opening the box, Willow had been met with an empty nest.  Only the perfectly egg-shaped indentation in the straw indicated that the egg had ever been there at all.

Rocking backwards and forwards in her chair, Willow gazed out of the window blindly, seeing nothing, not even the sun, or the woodland across the fields.  Overwhelmed by the greatest sense of loss, Willow found herself hardly able to move.  The sun beckoned, the meadow called, yet all Willow was able to do was stare out of the window, willing the egg to return to her.

Who could have taken it?  How else could it have left the box, if someone didn’t take it?

Filled with dread, Willow got up slowly from the chair, walked out of her room, and across the hall, to the closed door with the big DO NOT DISTURB sign on it.

“I need to ask you something!” she called.

“I’m busy.”

“Do you have my golden egg?” she called.

Silence.

“DO YOU HAVE MY GOLDEN EGG?!”

“Don’t shout, dear.  What on earth are you talking about?!”

“My EGG!”  Willow suddenly realised she had kept her egg a secret, and that no one would understand.

“Go away, Willow.  I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.  Go away.”

Running back into her room, Willow grabbed her purple hoody off the back of the rocking chair, and, zipping it up, raced down the stairs and out of the house.

Maybe the egg had gone back where it came from!!

Without pausing to stop at the Great Oak Tree today, Willow tore through the woodland, pushed through the break in the trees, and raced into the  meadow towards the stream!

Flinging herself down on the grass, Willow leaned forward, staring deeply into the clear water below.  A school of tiny, brightly coloured fish flickered past, a small, bright green frog hopped up out of the stream to settle itself in the sun on the boulder beside her.   Above her, a bird was singing in the sunshine, accompanied in turn by another bird, calling from branches across the meadow.  Willow hardly saw, heard, or noticed any of these things.

“I don’t think your egg is in the stream, Willow.”

Spinning around, Willow was pleased to see Dog had followed her here.

“Where is it, Dog?  Where has it gone?”

Lifting his paw, Dog scratched behind his ear, and stared straight ahead of him as though he hadn’t spoken.

“Won’t you look, Dog?  Please look!”

Ambling over to the stream, Dog very obligingly pushed his nose into the stream.  Emerging fairly swiftly, he shook his head vigorously, sending a spray of water around them both.

No egg.

Sitting back on the grass, Willow gazed across the meadow.  The fountain could not be seen.

“No egg, no fountain!  What is happening, Dog?  Why is everything disappearing?”

Slowly lowering himself to the ground, Dog place his head on his paws, and gazed at Willow, quietly, and without comment.

“It shouldn’t matter so much, Dog, it really shouldn’t.  I don’t understand why I feel the way I feel, but it feels as though someone has died!”

Dog pricked up his ears, and wrinkled his nose.

“Without the golden egg, Dog, I feel as though half of me is missing.  I feel as though I have disappeared myself.  I feel as though…as though I am not quite real, somehow.  I feel as though nothing is real…I feel bereft, Dog, in the most terrible way!  Why?  It’s very beautiful, but it’s only an egg after all!”

But Willow knew it was a very special egg, and that such an egg would never be found again.

Dog and Willow lay in the sun for most of the afternoon.  On returning home, Willow stopped at the Great Oak Tree, and entered Jay’s warm, comforting home, to tell her all that had befallen her that day.

“Why don’t you rest for a while, Willow.  You look so tired  Make yourself comfortable in the big, white rug at the foot of my bed.  I shall bring you a cup of tea in a while.”

Gratefully sinking into the soft, comforting embrace of Jay’s beautiful, white rug, Willow found she was able to untangle and un-knot herself almost immediately.  Resting back into the warmth of the rug, she felt  her thoughts begin to flow more freely.  The more she relaxed, the more Willow’s mind became like the stream in the meadow.  Washing over fears, meandering across feelings, slipping through dreams, Willow’s thoughts traveled easily along their journey, to a place of calm.

“What IS this rug, Jay?”  Willow called out sleepily, from beneath a cloud of contentment.

“It’s a rug, dear.  Have a nap.  You will feel so much better!”

It was quite a while later, when, slowly blinking her eyes open, Willow wondered at how peaceful sleep always was in Jay’s beautiful white rug!  No dreams, no thoughts, no fears came to plague Willow when she was wrapped up safely in Jay’s beautiful home.

Willow wondered how long she had been asleep for, and stretched out across the rug.

What was THAT??

Willow felt her palm rest against something smooth, and cool! Grasping it tightly, Willow emerged from Jay’s white rug with the golden egg in her hand.

“It was HERE, Jay!  The egg was here all the time!  How did it get here?”

Jay, a cup of tea in one hand, and a little plate of biscuits in the other, moved across the room towards Willow, smiling.

“Where did you find it, Willow?”

“It was here, in your house, Jay!  All the time!”

“Where in my house, dear?”

Willow paused, as she realised.

“It was in the the safest place I know, Jay.  I found it in your rug!”

Jay seemed un-surprised.  Nodding, she placed WIllow’s cup of tea and the plate of biscuits on the little table beside them, and sat down on the edge of her bed.

“Open your egg, Willow.  Open the egg and see what is inside.”

Gently, carefully, Willow unscrewed the egg, and opened it.

“There’s nothing in here, Jay.  It’s empty.”

“Is it.  Look again, dear.  Look again.”

There she was!  Staring into the smooth, cool, golden surface that lined the egg, Willow saw herself, looking back at her!

“It’s ME, Jay!  I’m inside the egg!!”

“Best be careful, Willow.  Keep her very safe.  You really don’t want to lose her again.”

A little while later, placing it carefully in the pocket of her purple hoody, Willow walked home with the golden egg held safely in her hand.

“I’ll be alright, Dog.  I lost the egg, and I lost myself.  Now that I know I am in there, I will never lose my golden egg again.”

 

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