In a place called
cottonwood trees rise above a slow-moving stream like giants stretching
their huge arms into the air. Small
farms dot the landscape, making the valley look like a patch-work
quilt. Each farm has a quaint, old house snuggled into
a grove of trees and a barn weathered by years of rain and snow.
Thompson farm lies near a stretch of the stream where it makes a gentle
turn to the south. The farm
house, built in 1890, adds a touch of charm to the place.
The house is painted white with green trim, stands two stories
high, and has large windows that let in plenty of light.
The porch, with its old-fashioned railing, runs across the
front of the house and then wraps around one side.
On the porch, an old
wooden swing hangs from sturdy chains.
Two rocking chairs sit close to each other as if they are having
a conversation, and a white wicker couch with a cozy purple cushion
waits patiently for visitors. The
couch is where Mrs. Chips, the Thompson family’s orange tiger cat,
loves to think, rest, and sleep.
Mrs. Chips loves the family that raised
her from a carefree kitten. Her
family includes Mr. and Mrs. Thompson and their daughters Beth who
is ten and Becky who is eight. When
they’re done with their chores, Beth and Becky love to make up plays
in the old barn or imagine themselves as great explorers facing challenges
and dangers down by the stream. The
girls are best friends, most of the time.
Sometimes they can’t help getting mad at each other, often
over little things, but then they eventually make up and become best
friends again. They love each other, their parents, the valley, the
farm, and they adore Mrs. Chips.
Over the years,
Mrs. Chips has made friends with other animals on the farm and along
the stream. They have their
good times, their fights, and, from time to time, they have adventures. An especially exciting adventure began one day
when Farley, a spotted frog, told Mrs. Chips about an unusual dream
in a small pond at the edge of the stream.
One hot summer’s day, Mrs. Chips made her way down to his pond,
knowing it would be cooler there.
She didn’t expect to see Farley, who slept during the hottest
time of day, so she curled up in the shade of an old cottonwood tree.
Feeling comfortable, she closed her eyes and fell asleep. In a short time, she was awakened by splashing
sounds. Half asleep, Farley
was coming out of the water.
Mrs. Chips said. “What a nice
surprise to see you.”
replied, sounding sleepy.
For a moment
they looked at each other without speaking and then Farley said, “I
just had the strangest dream.”
“What was it
“Well, it was
an unusual dream. I had crawled
out of my pond and was looking for something very important. I’m not sure what it was. Suddenly, a large alligator appeared out of
nowhere. I was scared because
I thought it might eat me. Then
I saw kindness in its eyes, so I relaxed.
It looked very wise, like it had a special kind of knowledge.
I was about to ask it a question, when it said the strangest
'What you seek is so small that it cannot be seen and so large
that you can see it everywhere’.”
“What an interesting
riddle, Farley! I wonder what
“I don’t know.
I was about to ask, when the alligator turned away and disappeared.
I hopped up a path looking for it, but it was nowhere around. I was about to turn back, when I came across
an animal I’ve never seen before.
It had long ears and soft, brown fur.”
that was my rabbit friend who lives in a little knoll downstream.”
said, ‘You’re taking the right path.
It will lead you to the alligator.
It knows the answer to the riddle.
After you learn the answer, something magical will happen’. Then I woke up.”
too bad. Your dream stopped
too soon. But that’s often
the way dreams are. They give
you a bit of something but never enough to know what they mean.
Mrs. Chips was
thinking that they could forget the dream and get on with the rest
of the day. However, Farley
was still thinking about the riddle.
He knew it was important. As
he wondered what it meant, he remembered the rabbit’s encouraging
words, “You’re taking the right path.”
knew something, Mrs. Chips. Where
did you say your rabbit friend lives?
Is it far?”
“Not too far,
but the rabbit in your dream may not have been my friend.”
“I don’t know,
but let’s find out! A riddle
to solve! Let’s get going,
Mrs. Chips. There’s no time to lose!”
Mrs. Chips had
doubts about Farley’s hasty decision.
However, when he started up the path he remembered taking in
his dream, she followed him.
happily along, like he didn’t have a care in the world. “It’s going to be a splendid day, Mrs. Chips.
We’re going on a great adventure!”
“I’m not so sure,
Farley, but it might be interesting.”
“More than interesting,
Mrs. Chips. It’s going to be
exciting! Something magical is going to happen after we
learn the answer to the riddle!”
Finding Mrs. Fidget
on, Mrs. Chips. Let’s hurry!” Farley hopped along as fast as he could,
which was a pretty good pace for a frog out of water. “I had a funny
dream. Ker-plop, ker-plop, ker-plop. It showed me how to go. Ker-plop,
ker-plop, ker-plop. So now I’m on my way. Ker-plop, ker-plop, ker-plop.
But where? I don’t know. Ker-plop, ker-plop, ker-plop.” Repeating
his poem helped pass the time. Before long, Mrs. Chips called out,
“We’re here! This is the place!”
your friend, Mrs. Chips? Well,
Farley. There are several knolls
around here. I’ll have to look
for my friend’s place.”
Mrs. Chips ran
around, checking each knoll for a rabbit’s doorway. Finally, she called out, “Farley, I’ve found
good news, Farley hopped as fast as his short legs would carry him. Before long, he was standing with Mrs. Chips
looking at a little green door on the side of a knoll. On the door, painted in bright red letters,
were the words, “Mrs. Mabel Fidget lives here, I think.”
Mrs. Chips knew
that Mrs. Fidget was well-named. She
had a fidgety and confused way of talking but also a heart of gold.
She had given birth to dozens of little bunnies over the years.
Around the valley, she was known to be one of the most loving
mothers. She was quite old now and lived alone. Living by herself didn’t bother her and aging
hadn’t changed her, for she was still a bit odd, but in a charming
sort of way.
get on with it, Mrs. Chips! Let’s
knock on the door and see if Mrs. Fidget is home.”
Mrs. Chips knocked
on the door. “Oh, Mrs. Fidget,
it’s Mrs. Chips, the cat. Are
you in there?”
Soon, the little
green door opened. Mrs. Fidget,
with a little pink nose and soft, brown fur, stepped out to greet
“Well, my oh
my, if it isn’t Mrs. Chips. I
haven’t seen you in years, or is it months, or days?
When did I see you last? Well,
please come in, but do watch your step.
I’m sure there is a step here.”
his eyes as if he were thinking, “This rabbit is weird.”
sit down, if there’s a seat. I’m
sure there are seats here. Yes,
there they are.” Mrs. Fidget
wiggled and squirmed, while carrying on a conversation that Farley
could hardly follow.
listening, until he heard Mrs. Fidget say, “Yes, yes, I had a funny
dream. Yes, it was a strange kind of dream, really
“Tell us about
it, Mrs. Fidget,” Farley said. “I
had a dream too.”
see. Now, where do I start? At the beginning I suppose. So, here goes, here goes. I was near the stream eating grass, or was it
mushrooms? I don’t know and
guess it doesn’t matter.”
on with your dream.” Farley
was getting impatient.
“Okay, now where
was I? Oh, yes, by the stream,
definitely by the stream. I
was stooping down toward the water to take a drink when I saw a reflection,
or maybe it was the real thing, hard to say.
Anyway, it was this very old alligator.
I jumped, I mean I really jumped.
Anyway, it said something about a treasure I should find, if
“What kind of
treasure?” Farley asked.
“It didn’t say
what kind, not at all. I’ve
been wondering about the treasure ever since.
It’s been driving me crazy, plumb crazy. ”
about the treasure later. Go
on with your dream,” Farley urged.
am I or maybe I mean where was I?
Oh, yes, I was going to tell you about Tillie Turtle. She’s a friend, yes a good friend.”
“Why is she
important?” Farley asked.
let’s see. Oh, yes, now I remember. Tillie was telling me a story about an alligator
living in a pond farther downstream.
Now, what was that alligator’s name?
It was an odd kind of name, very odd.”
“I knew, but I’ve forgotten. At least I think I’ve forgotten.” Mrs. Fidget hit herself gently on the head hoping
to jog her memory.
“Please, try to remember,” Farley said.
I’m getting it! Yes,
now I remember the alligator’s name.
Yes, I know, I do, I really do.
It’s come back to me. Hurrah! Her name is Ona! Strange name, wouldn’t you say?”
“Okay, let’s head downstream, Mrs. Fidget,”
Farley said. “We have to find
“Yes, I guess
you’re right, must be right, yes, I know you’re right.”
Mrs. Chips was
laughing to herself as they left Mrs. Fidget’s burrow and headed toward
the stream. She thought it
was funny to see an orange tiger cat, a spotted frog, and a confused
and fidgety rabbit going on an adventure together.
As they started
off, Farley made up a poem.
“A cat who has spunk,
frog who’s a poet.
rabbit who’s funny
even know it.
We’re a strange
As we hip, hop,
Yet, we reach
a good speed
‘Cause we leap
off the ground.”
It was getting
late and the sun was setting. Soon
darkness would descend on the valley. Mrs. Chips considered running back to the Thompson
farm for the night, but she didn’t want to abandon her friends at
a time when friendship really counted.
“The Thompsons won’t worry too much if I’m gone for a few days,”
she thought. “They’ll just
think I strayed off for a while like cats do.”
more difficult in the increasing darkness, so the explorers decided
to stop for the night. They
found a shallow place on the stream where Farley could sleep.
Mrs. Chips and Mrs. Fidget found comfortable places to rest
higher up on the bank. Soon
they were all fast asleep.
As the stars
achieved their special brilliance in the night sky, Mrs. Chip’s eyelids
began to move. She was dreaming. In the dream, she heard a voice say, “Nowhere
is somewhere. Somewhere is
nowhere. Do not despair, for you will get there.”
When Mrs. Chips
woke the next morning, she saw Mrs. Fidget down by the stream eating.
Lying half submerged in the water, Farley was still asleep.
Feeling hungry, Mrs. Chips bounded down the bank to find a
place to hunt at the stream’s edge.
Seeing small fish in the water, she quickly scooped a few out
for her breakfast. The splashing woke up Farley, who began looking
for bugs to eat. Before long,
the explorers were marching downstream together.
Mrs. Fidget announced, “This is the day, the day. Today we’re going to find Ona, or maybe we won’t.”
a new song.
“Oh, it’s a
Oh, it’s a great
song, Mrs. Chips thought, “How odd.
Farley is singing about my dream.
Nowhere is somewhere.”
Farm ahead! At least I think so, yes I do,” Mrs. Fidget called
It was a farm,
an old one with a house made of logs.
As they approached the barnyard, they heard a shrill, little
voice call out, “Mommy, stop that!
It tickles.” A mother
pig was playing with her piglet at the edge of a mud hole.
The two pigs were having so much fun that they failed to notice
the three travelers.
Fidget said, “Hello and hello again.”
The pigs didn’t look up. To
get their attention, Mrs. Fidget shouted. “Is anyone at home?” This did the trick, for the two pigs suddenly
jumped up from playing.
“My oh my, you
really scared us,” the mother pig said.
Mrs. Chips said. “We’re passing
through your farm on a journey. I’m
Mrs. Chips, and this is Mrs. Fidget and Farley.”
“Oh, I see,”
said the mother pig. “You gave
us quite a fright. My name
is Polly Pig and my little son here is called ‘Filbert’ because he’s
quite a nut.” This joke sent Polly and Filbert into fits of
When the good-hearted
fun was over, Polly asked, “You’re on a journey, but where are you
“We’re on our
way, but we’re not sure where we’re going,” Mrs. Fidget said. “I think were heading downstream, or is it up?
I don’t know, so don’t ask me.”
to hear Filbert’s rude remark, Polly said, “I’m confused. Could one of you explain what’s going on?”
“It started with my dream.” He
told Polly about meeting the alligator in his dream and learning about
the riddle. Then he explained
that Tillie Turtle knew about an alligator called Ona who lived in
a pond downstream. “We’re on our way to find Ona. She’ll give us the answer to the riddle. I was told that something magical would
happen after we get the answer.”
riddle again?” Polly asked.
“What you seek is so small that it cannot be
seen and so large that you can see it everywhere.”
was hopping up and down with excitement.
“Farley, aren’t you forgetting something big, really big?”
Farley, or maybe not. Remember
my dream about finding a treasure, remember?”
“Did you hear
that Mommy? There’s a treasure!”
Filbert said excitedly.
on this journey to solve two mysteries,” Mrs. Chips said. “One is the answer to the riddle. The other is finding the treasure. Would you and Filbert like to come along?”
‘Yes’, Mommy. Let’s go. I want to find the treasure!”
“But we can’t
go, Filbert. We’re fenced in.”
at the fence and saw that Polly was right.
While little Filbert might be able to squeeze under it, Polly
was too big.
“There is a
way to get out,” Mrs. Chips said.
Without saying another word, she walked to the fence, where
she began clawing at the dirt. Seeing what Mrs. Chips was doing, Polly joined her.
Using her powerful front legs, the dirt started flying.
The others joined in too, even little Filbert.
to dig so he was having a grand time.
Before long, they had made a tunnel under the fence that was
big enough for Polly to squeeze through.
While everyone watched,
Polly wiggled into the tunnel, pushed, and then wiggled some more.
With one more push of her powerful back legs,
she made it through to freedom. Taking
turns, the others crawled under the fence to join Polly on the other
Happy to be free, Polly and Filbert ran this
way and that, tumbled into the deep grass, ran some more, and tumbled
into the grass again. After
a few minutes of romping around, they stopped to lie down for a rest. Mrs. Chips, Farley, and Mrs. Fidget joined them.
was rested and ready to go, they headed downstream. In his comical way, Filbert imitated one animal
after another, hopping like Farley the frog and Mrs. Fidget the rabbit,
or springing like Mrs. Chips the cat.
difficult at times. In one
spot, the brush was so thick that Farley couldn’t get through it,
so they decided to move to higher ground.
It was a relief to reach the top of the bank and see a clear
path ahead of them.
After two hours
of struggling under the hot sun, the explorers found a tree and, one
by one, they collapsed into its welcome shade and fell asleep. Little Filbert cuddled up to his Mother and
nursed while he slept. His
slurping sounds joined with the snoring noises of the others to produce
animal music. Wheeze, wheeze, snort, snort, slurp, snort,
slurp, wheeze, snort, snort-e-snort, slurp, snort, wheeze-a-wheeze.
After sleeping for an hour, everyone
yawned and stretched. “We’d
better get on our way,” Mrs. Chips said.
“It’s getting late.”
Better go, better go,” Mrs. Fidget added.
“We need to get there, wherever there is.”
“When we get there, I bet we’ll find
the treasure,” Filbert said with a gleam of desire in his eyes.
Mrs. Chips was curious.
“What would you like the treasure to be, Filbert?”
“A big pile of tasty corn.”
“With everyone imagining the treasure
they would most love to find, the seekers got up and began walking
at a good pace. In a few minutes,
Farley called out. “Hey everyone,
here’s a new poem!”
“I’m hopping so fast,
My pace is surprising.
I can’t wait to get
My excitement is rising.”
“Farley, I want to make
up a poem too,” Filbert said. “Can I? Can
Making up poems is fun.”
As he walked
along, Filbert worked on his poem.
After awhile, he yelled, “Listen to my poem about the treasure!”
for some juicy corn,
But a big slice
of cake will do.
I’d even like
some oatmeal mush,
would be yummy too.”
Everyone applauded Filbert’s
“That’s a nice
poem, Filbert,” Mrs. Chips said. “You’re
quite a poet.”
with pride and then said, “I’m a poet, right Farley?”
“A pretty classy
poet I’d say. Now there are
two poets. That doubles the
Coming to a
berry patch on the next farm, the group stopped for a snack. Mrs. Fidget, Polly, and Filbert were happily
eating the ripe berries when someone called out, “Just what are you
doing? Those are my berries. Quit that!”
A brown rooster was running toward them with fury in his eyes.
“Stop that now!
Stop that! Those berries belong to me. They’re mine, do you understand? Stop that!”
Polly, and Filbert stopped eating, but that didn’t stop the rooster’s
outburst. He marched back and
forth scolding them for their naughty deed.
When he screamed at little Filbert, Polly stepped up.
that’s my little Filbert you’re screaming at.
When you take him on, you take me on.”
Polly made a
sudden move toward the rooster, who half-ran and half-flew about five
yards away. He stood there
with his wings on his hips looking very angry.
let’s try to get along,” Mrs. Chips said, hoping to stop the conflict.
“We didn’t know the berries belonged to you.”
do belong to me. They’re mine. All mine. Who
said that you could eat them? Not
share?” Mrs. Chips asked. “There
seem to be plenty for everyone. We’re
on a journey and need to eat what we can find along the way.”
was still angry, but he was also curious.
“What kind of journey?”
“One with trials
and adventures,” Mrs. Chips replied.
“Maybe you could help us. You
seem like a spunky rooster.”
Flattered, the rooster said, “Tell me
about it, but don’t eat my berries.”
“I’m Mrs. Chips.
What’s your name?”
These are my friends, Farley, Mrs. Fidget, Filbert, and Polly.”
“So what about
this journey you’re on?” Rusty asked.
told their stories. As he listened,
Rusty grew more interested. When
the stories were finished, he said, “I think I know something about
the alligator you call ‘Ona’.”
“You do?” Mrs.
Chips asked. “Tell us.”
“One day, a
little bird landed on the gate near the chicken coop. I thought it was after my feed, so I tried to
chase it away, but it didn’t move.
Instead, it told me that it had come from a pond not too far
downstream. The bird said that
it had seen a strange creature lying in the sun there.
Perhaps it was Ona, the alligator you’re trying to find.”
the strange creature was Ona, Mrs. Fidget became excited. “Let’s go, no time to lose, no time to lose.
We’ve got to get going. Yes, right now!”
“Would you like
to come with us, Rusty?” Mrs. Chips asked.
“Sure. It sounds like you could use a tough guy like
was losing her patience. “Okay,
that’s settled, or is it? I
don’t know, but let’s go, let’s go.”
As they walked
together across the farm, Farley was creating a poem. He called out, “Listen! Here’s a poem about us.”
We’re a strange
troupe of seekers.
Do you want
to know why?
A frog who’s excited,
A cat who is
A rooster who’s
A rabbit with
As Farley took
a breath, Filbert interrupted, “I’ve got the ending, Farley!”
“A part of this
that are runny,
Are two clever
Who can be real
“What do you
think about my poem, Farley?”
on, Filbert. I like it.”
soaring, Farley started to sing his little song about a new day, and
Filbert joined in. With a happy
jig in their step, they sang together.
“Oh, it’s a
We’re going nowhere.
Oh, it’s a great day.
entered a forest that stretched along both sides of the stream. Huge trees towered over their heads. Fallen trees blocked their way in many places.
Walking was hard, but they kept moving.
was in the lead when she cried out, “Oh dear, we’re in a fix, a fix. Nowhere to go. Nowhere to go. But who knows, who knows?”
to a sudden halt. They were
looking at a cliff that rose up in front of them like a stone fortress. It was part of a steep hillside that went down
to the stream. Large boulders
were lying below the cliff where they fell many years ago.
“Oh, oh,” Filbert
said. “What do we do now, Mommy?
I think we’re stuck.”
“I’m not sure,
dear. Maybe this is the end
of our journey.”
“I don’t want
it to end. I want to find the
“We’re not giving
up,” Rusty said. “But we’re
really in a spot. Does anyone
see a way out of this mess?”
No one said
a thing, until Filbert spoke up. “Maybe
we could sing a song.”
“What good would
that do?” Rusty asked.
“It’s a special
kind of song,” Filbert replied. “Let’s
sing it and see what happens.”
“Go for it,
Filbert,” Farley said.
“Okay, the song
goes like this.”
help, oh help.
Help oh help
help, oh help.
We’re in a desperate
They sang the song over
and over, until they heard, “Hey there, do you need help?” They looked up to see a fluffy white mountain
sheep peeking down at them from the top of the cliff.
“I’ll be right
down,” it yelled. In a flash,
the little mountain sheep scampered down to them.
“Hi, I’m Monty. What’s
said, “We’ve got a mess, a mess. We’re
stuck, or are we?”
Before the confused
but good-hearted rabbit could go on, Mrs. Chips took over. She told Monty about the dreams, emphasizing
the riddle, the importance of Ona, and the promise of treasure. Then she traced their steps as they followed
the stream to the foot of the cliff.
“Monty, we were calling for help because this cliff is stopping
us from finding Ona.”
“Now I see,”
Monty said. “Yes, you do have
asked, “Well, is there a way, a good way out of this mess?”
Monty’s eyes brightened.
“Yes, I believe there is. There’s
a ledge up higher that goes across the steep hillside.
I’ll take you up to it. It
will be a hard climb, but you can make it.”
up the hill. “That’s where
Everyone looked shocked.
There was no trail, only a steep hill with boulders and tree trunks
in their way. They knew it
was going to be tough.
“Are you ready
to start?” Monty asked. Everyone
nodded their heads reluctantly, as if to say, “We’re ready, but not
Monty took the
lead, followed by Rusty, Mrs. Chips, Mrs. Fidget, Filbert, Polly,
and Farley. They huffed and
puffed as they struggled up the hill, while Monty called out, “You’re
doing great! Keep it up!”
Then an obstacle
appeared in their path. It
was a rock that rose several feet above them.
Rusty flew over it and Mrs. Chips bounded to the top in a few
leaps. Mrs. Fidget hopped cheerfully
up the rock without much effort. Behind
her, Farley jumped onto the rock and slowly inched his way to the
Polly looked up at the massive rock together.
“Mommy, I don’t think we can make it.”
“I’ll bet we
can, Filbert,” Polly said. “Come
on. I’ll give you a push.”
Polly got under
Filbert and began to push. Filbert
went up a short distance, lost his balance, and tumbled down onto
his pink little bottom.
Filbert cried out. Pulling
himself up, he yelled, “Look Mommy, my tail is bent funny and it really
Filbert’s normally curly tail had a big kink right in the middle.
fall, Mrs. Fidget hopped quickly down the rock to comfort him. She patted him affectionately on the head.
“You’re all right, right, Filbert?”
“Look at my
tail, Mrs. Fidget. It really
“Maybe we can
fix it, but maybe not. We’ll
see, we’ll see. Polly, you
hold him and I’ll give his little tail a good tug. Filbert,
this may hurt a bit, but maybe a lot.
Who knows? Here goes!”
Polly held Filbert,
who closed his eyes, and Mrs. Fidget pulled on the end of his tail.
Nothing happened, except for Filbert’s loud cry, “Ow-ee,
hurt, Mrs. Fidget!”
so sorry Filbert. Should we
try again, just one more tug?”
could answer, Mrs. Fidget pulled with all her might. “Pop!” In a wink, Filbert’s tail had its curl back.
“Ah, that feels
better.” Filbert looked behind
him. “Look, Mommy, my tail
is okay now!”
By this time,
everyone had come down to help. When
Filbert was ready to tackle the rock again, they got under him to
push. While they pushed, Filbert scrambled up the
rock until he was on top. “Look at me!
I made it!”
“Filbert made it, but what about me?
It might be impossible to get me up there.”
“With our help,
you’ll make it,” Mrs. Chips said.
“Okay, everyone, let’s get behind Polly and start pushing.”
Push, push! Look out! Don’t
lose your hold or who knows what might happen!” They knew that if Polly fell, one of them might
get squished. They dug their
feet into the ground for balance and kept pushing.
Polly’s legs were moving at high speed, making skriching and
scratching sounds as her feet slipped on the rock.
With a few more
huffs and puffs by everyone, Polly was almost to the top. Filbert saw an opportunity to help. He reached down, put his front legs around his
mother’s head, and pulled. “Come
on, Mommy. You can do it! Think about the treasure!” With Filbert pulling from the top and the others
pushing from the bottom, Polly made it up.
They were tired out. They didn’t even have enough energy to cheer.
passed before Monty said, “We’re almost there, so let’s get going. Hopefully, the way up will be easier from here.”
And it was. There were rocks and logs to go around and over,
but nothing like the big rock they had conquered. Slowly, they worked their way up the hill, until
Monty called out, “We’ve made it.
I can see the ledge.”
the friends made their way to the ledge. “Here it is,” Monty said, as if there was nothing
to worry about. Everyone looked
shocked. They had just seen
the ledge with the sheer drop off below it.
Filbert nudged Polly with his little pink snout and looked
into her eyes. “Mommy, I’m
scared. I can’t go across there. I can’t. I
“It isn’t as
bad as it looks, dear.”
I’ll be bacon.”
“What if you
made up a poem to give yourself courage?”
He was resisting the idea, but then he said, “Well, that might
for a few moments until an idea for a poem popped into his head. Before long, he said, “I’ve got it.”
“Seeing the ledge,
My head is a-spinning.
It’s like a
I know I’m not
I know I have
Not a lot but
And that is
To help me cross
I won’t look
I won’t look
Over the narrow
Filbert’s poem, everyone cheered.
Filbert smiled, but it was a nervous smile.
Filbert was ready, Monty walked along the ledge to the other side. “See, it’s easy!” he called back.
me, Filbert,” Polly said. “When
you see a big pig like me do it, you’ll be able to do it too. Okay?”
ears trembled with fear. Yet,
when his mother started across, he followed her. Polly shuddered when she looked down and thought
about how far she would fall if she slipped. As she moved slowly along, she discovered that
the ledge wasn’t too bad. The
worst part was in the middle where it became so narrow that she had
to be very careful with each step.
Filbert kept his eye on his mother’s curly tail while he recited his
poem over and over. With each
step, he moved farther along the ledge.
When he got past the tricky, narrow part, he began to think
that he was going to make it. This
thought boosted his confidence.
When he was
safely on the other side, he looked down.
For a moment, his little pink knees wobbled. “Mommy, that’s a long way down, but I made it.
I was scared, but I imagined that it would be worse than it
“Yes, our fears
often make things seem worse than they really are,” Polly said.
“I was really
brave, wasn’t I, Mommy?”
dear. I’m proud of you.” Polly nudged him affectionately with her snout.
Filbert looked up to see her face beaming with pride.
was together on the other side, they hugged and congratulated each
other. A big obstacle had been overcome and they felt
“I’ve got to
go,” Monty said. “You’ll find
going down a lot easier.”
They gave him
a round of thanks and then Mrs. Chips said, “Without you, Monty, we’d
still be stuck back at the cliff.
Now we can go looking for Ona.”
“Good luck and
goodbye,” Monty said, and then he ran up the steep hillside.
It was getting
dark, so the little band of friends found a clearing where they could
spend the night. Before long
they were snoring together. Snort,
snort, snorty, snort, a wheeze, a wheeze, a wheeze.
Snort-e-snort, wheeze-a-wheeze, snort, snort, snort.
When the warm
rays of the morning sun fell on the troop of sleeping friends, they
began to stir. First one and
then another opened their eyes, stretched, yawned and began to show
signs of getting up. Filbert said, “Mommy, lie still,” for he was
intent on getting his morning meal.
Polly looked sleepy, but she had a contented look on her face
when Filbert started to nurse.
As Filbert made
his funny slurping sounds, he let out a big burp. He laughed and said, “I love to burp, Mommy.
It makes me giggle.”
Polly said, nudging him in close for a hug.
Rested and overflowing
with enthusiasm, the friends started out, hoping it would be their
last day’s march. To cheer
them up, little Filbert made up a poem.
“My feet are
To be on their
To find the
On this sunny
My legs are
They love to
To the sounds
of this poem.”
along to the sounds of his poem. Others
joined in, adding a jig and jog as they marched along. Their spirits were high. Soon they would see Ona and learn the answer
to the riddle. Of course, Filbert
was dreaming about the treasure, hoping it would be a big pile of
When they were
safely down the hill, they came to a meadow where the walking was
easier. Soon, they could see the stream below them.
As they marched along, Mrs. Chips’ was the first to see it.
“Look, I’ll bet that’s it!”
For a moment, they stood together looking down at a pond near
the stream. It was large with sand along one side.
sand, just like the little bird said.
It must be Ona’s pond!” Farley said.
“Let’s go down. I can’t
made their way down the bank to the sandy clearing at the edge of
the pond. The pond was deep,
almost perfectly round, and crystal clear, like it was being fed by
an underground spring.
“Look out!” as an eagle swooped over their heads. The huge bird circled above them once and then
landed on a large boulder next to the pond.
behind Polly for protection. Mrs.
Fidget said, “This is the end of me, the end.
But maybe not. Hope
not, hope not.”
fear, the eagle spoke in a gentle and caring way. “I won’t hurt you. I am Avion, Ona’s messenger. Be at peace, for you were chosen for this day.”
message of peace, everyone relaxed.
Filbert cuddled up to Polly.
Mrs. Fidget touched Mrs. Chips affectionately.
Farley sighed with relief.
his great wings and, with his powerful legs, he pushed himself into
the air. He circled several
times above the pond.
Farley shouted. “Look at the
pond! Something’s happening!”
as the water in the pond rose up in bursts, like little fountains
shooting into the air. Waves
began rolling up on the shore. Everyone
froze. Something big was coming up from the depths
of the pond. Huddled together,
they saw a huge alligator emerging from the water.
They knew it was Ona. They
watched in amazement as she pulled her great body onto the sand where
they were standing. Facing
such a great power, they wanted to run, but they didn’t.
They stood completely still.
When Ona was
standing in front of them, she closed her eyes.
She raised her head toward Avion, who was still circling above
them. Then she began to make an unusual sound. It was slow and deep. “A-a-ah, oo-o-o-o-o. A-a-ah, oo-o-o-o-o. A-a-ah, oo-o-o-o-o, a-a-ah.” She repeated the sound over and over. It was so beautiful and comforting that they
fell under its spell.
When Ona lowered
her head, the sound stopped. “Why
have you come?” she asked.
“To learn the
answer to the riddle,” Farley said.
‘What you seek is so small that it cannot be seen and so large
that you can see it everywhere’.”
Using the tip
of her tail, Ona drew a square on the sand.
Then she put a line down the center of the square to make two
equal parts. She wrote “what
is small” with her tail in one half of the square and “what is large”
in the other half.
As they wondered
how something small can be large, Ona took her tail and erased the
line down the middle. She said,
“‘Small is large’ is not a riddle, not a conflict between two things. It is a sign of wholeness. You are whole like this undivided square, not
in conflict like the two parts of a riddle.
When you erase the line between the conflicting parts of yourself,
you will discover your wholeness.
Then you will see how you are one beautiful square in the big
quilt that makes up the universe.
Everything in life is part of the quilt which is sewn together
by a harmonious sound.”
Polly to get her attention and then whispered. “Mommy, I don’t understand.”
“It is confusing,
dear. Ona is teaching you how
everything fits together, including how you fit together as a whole
piglet. You’re not split in
two like a riddle, but you’re whole like a square.
You’re one little square in the big quilt of the universe. You may be a small, but you’re part of something
beautiful, so you’re beautiful too.”
part of the big quilt? Like
a big family?”
that’s the idea. We’re all
squares in the great quilt, so we’re one family.”
at their friends. “So they’re
part of the quilt? Part of
my family too?”
It’s like everything is part of me and I’m a part of everything.
I’m not just a little piglet because I’m part of something
“Yes, that’s why Ona said that everything is
part of one quilt sewn together by a harmonious sound.
making the sound?”
“Life, I think.
Because we’re alive, we’re part of the sound.”
part of the sound! That’s really
cool. I’m glad I’m alive.”
toward Ona. “Thanks, Ona, but
what about the treasure? How
do we find it?”
“Not now, Filbert,”
Polly said, feeling embarrassed by his boldness.
Ona said to
Filbert, “The treasure will come to you, little one.”
“It will come
to me? That’s great, huh Mommy?”
but said nothing.
Ona turned toward
the pond and walked slowly to the water’s edge. She stopped and looked back at the group.
“You are part of the light that shines within the sound,” she
said. “No worry.
You are a beautiful piece of the quilt.
No worry. When you return home, you will help me make
the world a better place. You
will be part of the magic that is going to happen.”
Ona walked back
to the pond and slipped smoothly into the water. As she disappeared beneath the surface, the
water rose up and waves of many colors swept onto the shore. Then the water became calm again, a golden glow
hanging like a mist above the pond.
had an amazing experience,” Mrs. Chips said.
“Now I think it’s time to go home.”
Everyone agreed. By
the time they were up the bank, Filbert called out, “Listen everyone! I have a new poem!”
“I’m more than
I’m a whole
I’m bigger than
part of a biglet.
A biglet is huge
And it includes
I know I am
part of it,
Like a branch
on a tree.
I feel real good
I can see
That I’m part
of a biglet
That’s far bigger
On their way
home, the community of friends made up poems, sang songs, and shared
stories about their adventures. This
made the time pass quickly. When
they got to Rusty’s farm, he invited them to eat some berries. When a friend left the group, there were hugs,
tears, and promises to get back together.
After many goodbyes,
Mrs. Chips was alone on the last leg of her journey home. She was happy to be back in the wide part of
the valley where the farms were evenly scattered over the countryside. The closer she got to home, the more she remembered
Beth and Becky, Mr. and Mrs. Thompson, the good smells of the kitchen,
and her favorite resting place on the old wicker couch.
As Mrs. Chips
approached the house, she heard the girls cry out. “It’s Mrs. Chips! It’s Mrs. Chips!” She looked up to see Beth and Becky running
toward her. Before long, they
were taking turns holding and petting her. They
were so happy to see her!
carried into the house, Mrs. Chips was passed between Mr. and Mrs.
Thompson as they looked her over and then held her in their arms. Mrs. Thompson said, “Well, what did I tell you?
I knew she’d come back. She was probably out combing the countryside
for adventure.” Mrs. Chips
laughed to herself, knowing that Mrs. Thompson was exactly right.
When the celebrating
was over, the girls gave Mrs. Chips a big bowl of her favorite cat
food. She was hungry, so
she quickly gobbled it down. After
licking her bowl clean, she headed out to the front porch, where she
jumped onto the old wicker couch.
She settled into the soft cushion and closed her eyes.
It felt good to be home.
days, Mrs. Chips watched the Thompson family with great interest. She saw problems she hadn’t noticed before,
like arguments between Mr. and Mrs. Thompson, sometimes over the smallest
things. At times, the girls
were cruel to each other, which ended up in a fight.
Sometimes, they were too sensitive, like the day Mrs. Chips
saw Beth crying on the front porch swing.
Becky was comforting her.
Becky said, “You didn’t do anything wrong.”
“She’s so mean,”
Beth said with tears running down her cheeks.
Mrs. Chips learned
that Beth’s feelings were hurt. A
friend had called her a name because she thought Beth wasn’t paying
enough attention to her.
“Why do humans
become so unhappy? Is it possible
for them to change?” These
questions jogged Mrs. Chips’ memory.
She could hear Ona say, “When you return home, you will help
me make the world a better place.
You will be part of the magic that is going to happen.”
“I must do something
for my girls,” Mrs. Chips thought.
“I know what I’ll do. I’ll
try to bring them into my dreams.
Maybe that will help them change so they can be happier.”
She tried for
three nights to dream about the girls without any luck. On the fourth night, it happened. In a short dream, she saw Beth and Becky playing
on the swing in the oak tree. “Good,”
Mrs. Chips thought when she woke up. “This is the first step. I’ve dreamt about the girls.”
passed before Mrs. Chips dreamed about the girls again. This time, it was an important dream. The girls were standing inside a circle of stones
close to Ona’s pond. While
they were looking up at Avion making circles in the sky, a beautiful
sound rose up between them. It
was the deep, enchanting sound of Ona.
“A-a-ah, oo-o-o-o-o. A-a-ah,
oo-o-o-o-o. A-a-ah, oo-o-o-o-o, a-a-ah.”
After this dream,
Mrs. Chips made her way to the girls’ bedroom. They were asleep, so she curled up on Beth’s
bed and waited for them to wake up.
As she was about to fall asleep, she heard them stirring. First one girl and then the other yawned and
to Becky and said, “I just had the strangest dream.”
“What was it
“In the dream, I was standing inside a circle
of stones. There was something
strange about it, like it was a magic circle.
I looked up and saw a huge bird circling high above me. As I was watching it, I began to hear the strangest
sound, like something from another world. It got louder and louder. Listening to the sound made me feel good. That was how the dream ended.”
“What a weird
dream! What do you think it
“I don’t know,
but it was magical, like a fairytale.”
Mrs. Chips felt
the girl’s excitement as they tried to understand Beth’s dream and
the unusual sound she heard. Recalling
the beauty of that sound, Mrs. Chips remembered the words of Ona,
“You are part of the light that shines within the sound.”
The next morning,
Mrs. Chips followed the girls out to the front porch before breakfast.
When they sat down on the steps, Becky said, “Beth, I had a
Beth began tickling
her playfully. “Well, tell
me about it, tell me, tell me!”
Becky was laughing
so hard that she couldn’t talk. Soon,
she was tickling Beth and, for a minute or two, the girls tickled
each other, laughing until they could hardly catch their breath. At that point, the tickling stopped.
“Are you ready
to hear about my dream now?” Becky asked.
“I was looking
down into a well. It was an
old well, so I was surprised to see how clear the water was. I could see a vague picture of something on
the surface of the water. I
blinked my eyes a couple of times, then I saw the picture clearly. You won’t believe this! It was an alligator, a big one. It looked real.”
“Were you scared?”
It didn’t look mean.”
“Well, the alligator
said, ‘Mrs. Chips will bring you into a magic circle. Watch and you will know what to do.’ Isn’t that weird?”
Mrs. Chips into her arms and began petting her.
“So you’re a special cat, Mrs. Chips?”
eyes brightened. High above
the farm, she saw an eagle circling.
It was Avion. She knew the magic was beginning.
Mrs. Chips wiggled
out of Becky’s arms and took off for the barn. When she got there, she scampered up the stairs
to the loft and curled up on a pile of hay. She needed time by herself to think about Becky’s
dream. “How am I supposed to
bring the girls into a magic circle?” she wondered. “What is a magic circle anyway?”
a great “swoosh” of wings, Avion flew through the opening in the loft
and landed in front of her. Mrs.
Chips jumped, arching her back in fear, then, seeing it was Avion,
she relaxed. “Avion, you really scared me. Why have you come?”
magnificent wings, Avion said, “Ona has sent me. She wants you to bring your friends to the farm.
Together, you will create a magic circle.
From that circle, good changes will come to the world.”
“How do we create
a magic circle? I don’t even
know what a magic circle is.”
and the magic will happen. Everyone
has a special power they can use.
When the magic circle forms you will know what that power is.”
“But . . . .” Before Mrs. Chips could finish, a cloud of dust
rose up as Avion flapped his great wings and flew from the loft and
across the farm.
special power we’re supposed to have?” Mrs. Chips asked herself. “I don’t know, but maybe Farley will.”
Mrs. Chips snuck out of the house and made her way across the farm. When she reached Farley’s pond, she ran down
to find him. “Farley, are you
there? It’s Mrs. Chips.” She waited, but there was no answer. “Farley,
are you there?”
a voice rose up from the pond. “Is
that you Mrs. Chips?”
I have to talk to you.”
“What do you
to see me today.”
“He did? Why?”
“He brought me a message
from Ona. She wants me to
bring you and our friends together at the farm.
We’re supposed to create a magic circle there. When we do, a wonderful change will come over
the world. When I asked him
how to create a magic circle, he said that everyone has a special
power they can use. What do you think that power is, Farley?”
“I don’t know.
I’ve never even heard of a magic circle.”
I. You wait here, Farley. I’ll go get our friends. I’ll tell them about the magic circle. Maybe they’ll know what our special power is.”
Mrs. Chips was back with Rusty, Polly, Filbert, and Mrs. Fidget. They stopped briefly to greet Farley and then
they all headed toward the Thompson farm.
They walked and hopped along without saying a word until Filbert
broke the silence.
“Where did you
say we’re going?”
to the farm where Mrs. Chips lives.
Something big is going to happen there.”
“You never know,
made up a poem.
“I want to find treasure.
It’s a big pile
Makes me glad
I was born.
Happy feet, happy feet,
They want to keep going.
That’s one thing
When Mrs. Chips
and her friends reached the farm, Ona’s low, haunting sound was coming
from near the oak tree. “A-a-ah,
oo-o-o-o-o. A-a-ah, oo-o-o-o-o. A-a-ah, oo-o-o-o-o, a-a-ah.” Without saying a word, they headed toward the
sound. It seemed to be calling
ahead, hopping as fast as he could.
He wanted to be in the heart of the sound.
When the others reached him, they noticed that a change had
come over him. He was rigid
like a statue, with his eyes fixed on the ground.
He was saying, “The sound is the magic circle.
The magic circle is the sound.
They are moving together as one.”
to you, Farley? Mrs. Chips
the rhythm of the great sound.”
frozen in place a moment longer, then he relaxed. His feet began to move as he shifted his weight
back and forth to create balance.
It looked almost like a dance.
Mrs. Chips joined
him, moving her weight back and forth in the same way. In silence, they moved in harmony with each
are they doing? It looks funny.”
a magic circle, dear.”
magic? I want to make some
“Yes, it’s time
to make magic, dear. Come on
everyone, let’s join them.”
Mrs. Fidget, and Rusty entered the circle. As they got in step with their friends, they
became part of the graceful rhythm.
“Hey, this is
fun!” Filbert called out.
said. “I think we’re supposed
to be quiet.”
back and forth with Polly, struggling to keep quiet. The movement and the silence felt good. He could feel a bit of harmony within himself
and with his friends. He liked
the feeling. It was like the
loving warmth he felt lying next to his Mommy.
said, “I can’t believe this, just can’t believe it, or can I?” Then, drawn more deeply into the sound and the
movement, she entered the silence too.
As the magic
circle gained power, the sound became louder. “A-a-ah, oo-o-o-o-o. A-a-ah, oo-o-o-o-o. A-a-ah, oo-o-o-o-o, a-a-ah.” It was so loud, it woke up Becky.
up, wake up!”
“What? What’s wrong?”
“Can’t you hear
“Can’t you hear
that sound, Beth? It’s coming
The girls ran
to the window to look out. It
was too dark to see, but they could hear the low, mysterious sound
coming from near the oak tree. “A-a-ah,
oo-o-o-o-o. A-a-ah, oo-o-o-o-o. A-a-ah, oo-o-o-o-o, a-a-ah.”
the sound I heard in my dream. I’m
sure of it! We have to find
out what’s going on out there.”
The girls dressed,
tiptoed quietly downstairs, and then went out the back door. The sound was growing stronger.”
weird is happening, Beth. Let’s
go back in.”
“No way! I want to find out what’s going on. Listen to the sound Becky. It’s so comforting that I don’t think we have
anything to worry about.”
“I don’t know,
Beth. It sounds creepy to me.”
“Oh, come on.
Let’s walk out a little way.”
“Okay, but stay
As they made
their way toward the oak tree, they saw Mrs. Chips and her friends
moving together in a circle. They
were shifting their weight from one foot to the other in rhythm. The sound was all around them.
dream, Becky? Remember how
Mrs. Chips was going to lead us into a magic circle?
I think this is it. See
how they’re moving together? Let’s
When the girls
reached the circle, Mrs. Chips stepped aside to make room for them. Moving together as one, the magic could begin
As the circle
of friends achieved more harmony within themselves, they felt greater
harmony with each other. They
felt appreciation, respect, and acceptance.
It was a moment of understanding and goodwill.
“I believe I
know what our special power is,” Mrs. Chips said. “We have the ability to create harmony. We can create it within ourselves, with others,
with the earth, and even the universe.”
“And the sound coming from Ona is the thread that draws those harmonies
As they moved
together in harmony, a wheel of light with a golden glow appeared
in the center of the circle above them.
From the wheel, beautiful columns of light reached down to
each of them, bathing them in the golden glow.
The wheel of
light grew brighter until it became so intense that it began spinning
like a top. As its energy and speed increased, it rose up into the
night sky. It hovered there for a moment and then suddenly
burst like brilliant fireworks into the dark night, sending beautiful
streams of light across the countryside.
circle of friends stood completely still.
feeling funny. You know, like
harmony and love, dear. I am
too. We all are. I think it’s the treasure.”
love are the treasure? Gee,
I was hoping for corn.”
“Don’t you think
harmony and love are better than corn?”
up to Polly and she drew him in closer with an affectionate nudge.
“I guess you’re
right, Mommy. Eating corn is
nice, but it could never make me feel this good. You know what, Mommy? I think the treasure is going everywhere.
At least, I hope so.”
She was happy to have such
a caring piglet.
up into the starry night. “Hey,
there’s the big quilt!” As
everyone looked up, Filbert added, “It’s the biglet.”
This brought back his poem.
“I’m more than
I’m a whole
I’m bigger than
part of a biglet.
A biglet is huge
And it includes
I know I am
part of it,
Like a branch
on a tree.
I feel real good
I can see
That I’m part
of a biglet
That’s far bigger
“I need to add something,” Filbert said.
“What do you think of this?”
“We can create
and with others.
We’re all part
of the biglet,
So we’re sisters
Everyone laughed because Filbert had captured the true spirit
of the magic circle.