Note from the Author: I have always had a love for stuffed animals, and I have always loved Winnie-the-Pooh and the Velveteen Rabbit, so the other day I decided to try my hand at a stuff animal story. I’m going to share it here every other Friday, between Cousins stories, until I’m not sure what to do with it. This first part, the Prologue, is a reworking of one of my earliest writing bits. It was probably the second or third thing I ever wrote. It’s nice to have a place to finally put it. I think you can probably see some influence from many of the British children’s stories I loved growing up in the cadence and wording of this prologue. Enjoy!
There is a waterfall at the end of the world. It falls softly, musically, beautifully down from the side of a watchful, mothering, mossy cliff. Now, this cliff is not a normal cliff, no. It guards a special clearing, a special opening, a magical entrance, if you will. This place guarded by the cliff is a playful vale surrounded by a forest of delightful dogwoods, who share their lives with little red buds and cherry blossoms, which bloom year around in soft purples, whites and pinks. A little enchanted path—made of purple, gray, and green moss-covered stones—comes in from the western side of the forest and right up to a door in the cliff. Where the path ultimately leads back east beyond the trees and little hills no one knows, but a few creatures wander it at times.
The stream flowing from the waterfall is shallow and slow moving, shimmering as the sun happily dances on its surface. Bright orange goldfish and iridescent guppies play in its warm waters, and at all times of the year you will find multitudes of tadpoles, frogs, and turtles lazing in its softness. As the water falls from the protective cliff, it forms hundreds of multi-colored rainbows through which butterflies and birds dance all the amiable day. They fly gracefully in a cornucopia of colors and types: parakeets, parrots, love birds, doves, ducks, and even chickens, monarchs, swallowtails, and even the red lacewing.
In the clearing watched over by the waterfall, near the small door by the path, you will find all manner of stuffed animals: puppies, kitties, dogs, and cats, horses, ponies, cows, goats, pigs, and guinea pigs, bunny rabbits and hamsters, gerbils, snakes, lizards, and a few spiders, lots of mice, and some rats, a few hedgehogs, chinchillas, and ferrets, some wolves, and some foxes, lots and lots of bears, a few tigers, elephants, giraffes and alligators. You will find, in this clearing, almost all manner of animals, yet something sets these apart, dear one, something makes these animals so special that they have been allowed a home here for an extraordinary reason.
When the sun sets in our world, over our homes, it rises in the clearing. It slowly breaks over the stream, turning the water in to a pot of flowing gold, the rocks in to expensive jewels, and with great excitement and anticipation it awakens the animals. They turn to the path looking, waiting, waiting, for they are not yet able to let go.
Silence fills the forest.
Then . . . children burst forth from the door.
All manner of children from every place in the world and of every nationality, young and old, happy and sad they come to the clearing. The stuffed animals squeal with joy as they run looking for that special little person who meant more to them than anyone else in the waking world.
The children dance in the stream with their fish, they roll on the ground with their dogs, and sit quietly with their cats. Tears of loneliness are wiped away, and every dream is listened to with great seriousness and no judgment. The loudest and roughest playing is always allowed here, but no sort of meanness is ever tolerated to man or beast for this place, this special place, of beauty and love, is the place where your stuffed animals go when you grow up. This is where they wait quietly, patiently for you to sleep and dream of Them. Then one day they are strong enough, and you are strong enough, for them to take the path east away from the door in the cliff.
But, while there, my dear brothers and sisters, you will find your bunnies, fish, birds, and dogs. Your stuffed animals, my children, are not forever lost to you, no. You will find them at the end of the world where the water falls.
Beyond the fluffiest white clouds, over rainbows, and under rain drops is a world of small toys . . . of teddy bears and stuffed animals. When their children grow up, or unspeakable horror die, the animals step through the door under the cliff. Teddy bears no longer hugged or needed to keep children safe fade away and come here. Here? Where is here? Why, here is the place of every stuffed animal ever truly and completely loved by a child, loved to the point of break down. These treasured animals come to this special place called Holiday.
This is where Tock woke up.