Gather round the fire lovely ones, and look up into the night sky. It’s so beautiful, don’t you think? But it isn’t always so light, and sometimes you might get caught in the shadows (no that’s not foreshadowing, I promise). Ah, I also promised you a story did I? Very well.
Once upon a time in the deep dark corners of the deep dark wood there lived a little shadow. Not a scary or angry shadow. Just the kind of shadow that old friends leave when they go away across the sea, or the shadows of beloved stuffed toys left on a barely used bed, their outlines never moving except as the moon and stars cross the night sky.
It wasn’t easy being a lonely little shadow. The monsters were all having thumper parties and laughing raucously at each others (terrible) jokes. The witches were all brewing potions together. The wolves were having the customary howl-off. So the little shadow thought that he might go and look for big grown-up shadows to spend time with, since it seemed to be a time of togetherness, even in the deep dark wood.
The little shadow tried to keep his nose to the ground and follow the wet scent of darkness to find more of himself – but the strangest thing kept happening. Every single time that the little shadow thought that he was getting close to another shadow, it would disappear entirely. And there wouldn’t be a shadow there at all, just a funny little sound. Like bells shaking very far away.
The little shadow kept trying to sneak up, but without every time he thought he was close the big shadows just ran away. He looked behind the big rocks and underneath the tall trees, beside the witches long noses and in the footprints left by the monsters. Frantically, he chased after the wolves in the moonlight, the pine trees blurring into needles as he ran. Three times three he tried, and three times three he failed. But as everyone knows, three time three is a magic number, so I suppose something different had to happen the next time he tried.
And indeed it did. After almost catching a particularly long shadow in the shape of presents under a tree, the little shadow gave up and listened to the shaking bells. They sounded like they were laughing at him, so the little shadow started crying. Not a pretty cry either, but great big heaving sobs. If he had a face it would have been blotchy and puffy for sure, but even as it was the little shadow realised he was being transformed in a different way. The bells got louder and louder, and then the little shadow looked down and realised that the bells were coming from him. Where his shadowy essence usually coalesced into a lovely little ball, there was a different sort of lovely glowy little ball. And when he cried he was shaking and he sounded like bells.
And you see then the little shadow realised that he wasn’t actually a shadow at all anymore. That he had been changed by his own search for company and connection. And when he stopped looking at the ground for other shadows, he could look up into the night sky and see thousands and thousands of little stars up in the night sky, and he could hear them too. Vibrating a song of joy throughout the universe, the little shadow heard the stars singing to him.
And he looked down and he looked up and he knew he had a choice to make. He could stay in the deep dark wood and forever chase shadows, or he could let himself shine brightly as a star because he was made of the stuff of dreams just as much as he was made of the stuff of sadness.
He made a choice, do you know which one?