The Sun, the Moon, and All the Marbles

By Michael Hickins

 

Milo was a little boy, four years old,  who lived a long time ago, before there were cars, or airplanes, or machines of any kind. And he lived with his mommy and daddy in a village near the sea, and every night he went outside and watched the waves come in, and they go pssshh, pssshh, pssshh. 

Psshh.

And in the morning, he would tell his mommy what he was going to do that day, whether to be in the meadow, or at school, or in the village with their friends. And his mommy would always say, “that sounds good Milo, but remember, never go in the forest alone, because it’s scary, and we don’t know what’s in there.”

So one day Milo was with Olaf Wizendorf. Olaf was the oldest man in the village and Milo would go to his house almost every day to write down everything that Olaf could remember. Olaf said, “I remember when I was a little boy your age, there was a very old man who lived in our village, and people said he was there when the world began. I don’t really think he was that old, but he told this story:

The sun fell in love with the moon, but the moon only liked the sun, she didn’t love him, so she moved far away. The sun was very sad and cried, and his tears became the seas of our world. Then the sun sent the moon diamonds and rubies and sapphires and all other manner of precious stones he forged in the center of his heart. But the moon despised them and cast them down into the pools of the sun’s tears, and those became the land on which we stand. The moon saw what a beautiful thing it was and suddenly fell in love with the sun, and so she began to chase after him, but he was too far ahead, and they have been chasing after each other ever since.”

When Milo had finished writing, he went outside and saw his friend Buttrick playing with his set of gleaming marbles. Suddenly, something funny occurred to him, and he said, “Hey Butt, come play with me. Hey Butt!”

Buttrick replied, “don’t call me that. It hurts my feelings.”

“Butt, Butt, Butt!” Milo exclaimed.

So Buttrick picked up his marbles and went home.

Milo ran after him and knocked on his door, laughing still and saying, “come on Buttrick, it was only a joke!”

Buttrick didn’t believe him and he didn’t come back outside.

The next morning, he wouldn’t come out either, so Milo went back to Olaf Wizendorf’s house and told him what happened.

“Well,” said Olaf, “Did you think it was funny?”

“I sure did,” Milo said, laughing at the thought of it.

“Did Buttrick think it was funny?”

“No. No, he didn’t,” said Milo.

“Well, I think you have to apologize to him, but not apologize because you’re feeling sad. You have to tell him you realize you hurt his feelings, and that you’re sorry to have hurt him.”

So Milo went back to Buttrick’s house and knocked on his door.

“Buttrick, I’m sorry I hurt your feelings,” he called out.

“No you’re not,” said Buttrick. “You’re just sorry I won’t come out to play with you.”

“I truly am sorry,” said Milo. “I realize that I would be sad if my best friend called me some silly name like Pillow or Mygrow or whatever.”

Buttrick opened the door and they went to the village square where they played together all through the day and into the night, with Buttrick’s marbles gleaming with the light from the sun and the light from the moon.

Michael Hickins is author of The Actual Adventures of Michael Missing, The What Do You Know Contest, Blomqvist, I Lived in France and So Can You, and In a Different Light, a novel Hickins has just completed.