Jason had a secret, and he did not tell anyone. He knew how to keep a secret. He knew if he walked behind the bush in his backyard, he would be on his secret road. Every time he walked on this road, it took him to a new place.
One very windy day, he took a step on his secret road while his father was talking to the neighbor. The road carried him through hills, down valleys and over stone bridges. He followed it until he heard singing.
“I’m a sprite day and night, my feet are light, and my eyes are bright. The sky is blue, the wind smells new, but I don’t know who could be so true,” a pretty voice sang high and sweet. Jason saw the sprite, slender as a willow branch and dressed in all the colors of the valley. She had a red dress like one hundred roses, blue tights like river water, and green bracelets like rings of grass. She was dancing and twirling in a green meadow surrounded by purple flowers and Queen Anne’s Lace. She stopped singing and dancing when she noticed Jason, standing on the secret road. “Hello. Are you true?” The sprite asked Jason.
“I don’t know what you mean,” answered Jason, feeling a bit confused.
“I need a true friend to help rescue my lost magical power. A friend who is untrue would only keep it for himself.” The sprite said sadly. “My magical power is small as a jewel, and it helps growing things blossom and ripen. Another traveler came along, and I asked her to help, but she kept my magical power for herself.”
“I will help you,” Jason offered. Together Jason and the sprite walked under a wooden bridge, over stepping stones and down a gorge. They came to a split, invisible from above. They ventured through, bending down very low under some thorn bushes. Jason’s shoes only got a little muddy. The sprite told Jason that the power had grown hot and heavy, and she had only put it down for a moment, but then she had lost sight of it.
Soon the split they walked down narrowed and then turned to the right. They came out into a hidden valley. Rainbows shone in the sky, and the watermelon were as big as wagons. Tomatoes were so large that they looked like beach balls, and runner beans encircled all the trees.
“No, no,” called a voice behind a mammoth pumpkin. They heard a crashing, and the pumpkin seemed to grow even more. “Oh no!” the voice wailed. Jason and the sprite walked a long time around the pumpkin mountain, and along the way, they could see boards and curtains sticking out. “It squashed our house!” wailed the voice, which soon turned out to belong to a small rabbit. The rabbit was wearing an apron, and she was surrounded by tiny, hopping bunnies.
“Mommy, mommy, I never saw a pumpkin grow so fast!” laughed a small brown and white bunny.
“I should never never have stolen that sprite’s magical power!” the apron-wearing rabbit called out in despairing tones. Just then she saw Jason and the tall sprite. “Oh, take it back, take it back! It’s so heavy and it burns. Everything is going wrong!” The rabbit hopped over to the sprite and turned her tail.
“I cannot take it from you!” The sprite seemed very upset, looking around at the pumpkin mountain and the watermelon, now the size of elephants. The runner beans were longer than baseball bats. “You must offer it, and I may take it from the hand of a true friend. You stole it from me, you misused it, and you are no true friend of mine!” The sprite waved her hands, and the jewel above the tail of the rabbit sparkled with rainbows. The rabbit turned to Jason and asked, “Will you give it back to the sprite?”
“Yes, I will,” Jason said. He took the jewel from the back of the rabbit, who leaped away the instant it was gone. Her bunny-babies left with her. She was right, it burned a bit, but the burn spread through his body like warm tea, and gave him a great sense of well-being. He turned to the sprite and pressed it into her palm. He felt a bit lost and sad when it was gone, with its warmth of contentment with it. Then he remembered the house-squashing pumpkin.
The sprite gave a huge sigh. She closed her eyes, and appeared warmer and more vividly colored than before, like it was filling her up from within. She opened her eyes, and they were so bright, Jason could not look into them any more. She held out her hand, “You are a true friend. I will take you home.” He closed his eyes. When he opened them, he saw past the bush, his father still talking to the neighbor. The sprite waved to him as she faded into a rainbow, and never as long as she lived did she remove her magical power again. Jason walked many more times on the secret road, but never again did he find the secret valley or the sprite. However, luck followed him and never felt cold again.
Copyright 2013 Brenda Davis Harsham