“Without stories, we wouldn’t be human beings at all.” ~Phillip Pullman
I fell in love with reading at a very young age. My dad would always be filling my head with fairytales that were all magic and mystery. Most of the stories he would read came from books, but my favorite stories were the ones he would make up just for me. Once when we drove through Arizona for a soccer tournament he told me the giant rocky mountains we were passing by were all giants who had died long ago and turned to stone. He said if I looked carefully I could see the faces that seemed to be carved into the rocky surfaces. To this day I swear I can see the faces of the giants who lived so long ago and ruled this world. My overactive imagination is all my father’s wonderful doing. One of the stories that stuck out the most was the first original story of his that he ever told me. It wasn’t an epic tale, it was a simple story with a fascinating idea to it that just always stayed in my mind. It had to be around my toddler years, about three or four, because I was not in school yet. I’d like to share this story with all of you. Please keep in mind it was a very long time ago and as an adult I may have embellished the story with my own ideas, but the base is the same. As my dad tucked me in for bed he asked, “Mija, Did I ever tell you about how the moon and stars were once stolen?” I shook my head and said “Nah uh.” He sat down next to me and began the tale.
“Once upon a time before electricity existed the people of the world used to be terrified when the sun would go down. There were no moon or stars like there are now Mija because they were stolen,” whispered my dad as he tucked me in for bed. My eyes grew wide as my own fear of the dark surfaced. I remember my four year old self asking, “But Daddy! How can they see at night?” “They can’t see nothing Mija! No matter how wide they try to open their eyes,” replied my dad widening his own eyes making a funny face. I giggled and settled in closer to him as he continued on with his story. “No one would go out after dark, not even with a lit torch. There were talks about the world before the pitch black night sky. They say the sky was glittered with stars and in the center way up high a BIG and BRIGHT ball of light called the Mooooon.” My dad loved to exaggerate words when a story called for it. I was completely entranced with the story and closed my eyes to better use my imagination.
“This dark world continued its existence for a 1000 years until electricity was finally invented and in celebration of the first street light the whole neighborhood threw a party. That same night two young boys rode their bicycles for the first time into the night. They raced each other to the end of the street and dared to venture off farther near the edge of the forest where the street lights were faded. They were just about turn their bikes around until one of the boys caught a glimpse of a bright light that was not from the street lamp. They heard men in the woods grumbling to one another to hurry up! Curious the boys walked with their bikes towards the voices. They saw four men all in hooded cloaks dragging an impossibly large steel box with a bright light spilling through. They heard one of the men tell his fellow hooded men to drop the box in the ground and that the others will take care of the rest. The boys heard a loud thump as the steel box was dropped. When they believed all the men had left, the boys creeped out with their bikes and walked towards the hole. One of the hooded men heard the sound of the bikes wheels and quickly went back to the spot. Without hesitation the man pushed the boys into the hole with the steel box and threw their bikes in after them!”
I gasped and cried out, “Oh no Daddy! Then what happened?” My dad smiled, delighted that I was so interested in his made up story just for me. He continued on answering, “Well Mija, the boys fell on a steel box. BAM! And knocked out! When they came to they were scared not sure how they were going to get out of this great big hole. They stood up at looked at one another and realized they could see each other and it was because of the streaks of light leaking out of the steel box. They looked closer and saw there was writing on the box. The letters read ‘The Moon and Stars’.”
Before my dad got a chance to continue, I had gotten so excited and out rushed a bunch of questions, “Did they open the box daddy? Did they need a key? Would the moon hurt them? Did—” “Wait Mija, I’ll get there, I’ll get there,” he chuckled and went on with the story. “The boys shook their heads in disbelief. They felt a pressure from the steel box like something trying to lift itself out. The boys remembered that the moon and stars belonged in the sky and thought that maybe if they opened the lock they could use the chains to loop around the Moon and tie themselves and their bikes to it and lift themselves out while at the same time freeing the moon and the stars!” “Whooooa!!”, I exclaimed extremely entertained. “The boys picked the lock and as the moon started lifting them up they realized they couldn’t save their bikes fast enough and jumped off their bikes landing safely on the ground above the hole. The Moon shot up and the stars scattered all over the night sky! The world brightened and the masses cheered! And to this day, Mija, if you squint just right you can see two bicycles hanging from the moon.” I quickly got up and turned toward the window and looked straight up at that great big moon and shouted, “I see them daddy! I see the bikes!” My dad laughed at my imagination but said,”See I told you! Now get some sleep Mija. I love you.” And with a quick kiss to my forehead my dad left my room not realizing how much he inspired me to read, write, and create stories of my own.
Thank you so much for reading! My next post will be more about my dad and how I’ve been dealing with his passing on. Have a great day/night!