Many, many moons ago I was approached by an acquaintance, asking me to write a collection of short stories for children. The project would be illustrated and published for a local school. Unfortunately, it never manifested. I recently decided to dust off the stories I wrote, do a bit of editing to freshen them up, and publish them here. I hope you enjoy them.
It was a day much like any other, or so it was to begin with. The Giant made their way through the forest which was said to be older than the keeping of time. It was also said that the trees never understood our need to track time in such small increments which were of no true meaning in the grand scheme of things.
The Giant wasn't pondering anything in particular when a voice floated down from the trees.
“Who! Who are YOU?”
It was an Owl, sitting on a branch high above the Giant's head.
“I am a Giant.” they replied.
“You must be mistaken. You cannot be a Giant. You’re not tall enough.”
“But I am. I am a Giant.”
“I’m afraid I must disagree. I’ve seen many a Giant in my day. Yes, many a Giant has passed this way and I can assure you that a Giant you are not!”
How could this be? That can't be right. But they were an Owl and everyone always said that if you ever had a question, you should find an Owl, for they are the keeper of all answers. The Giant had never known an Owl to be wrong, but then they’d never known an Owl at all so it was hard to say either way. Besides, it was rude to argue. Giant or not, they didn’t want to be considered rude.
“I thought I was a Giant.” they said.
“Who said you were a Giant?”
“Then why do you think you are one?”
“I don’t know. I guess I just assumed.”
“Assumptions, my dear, will cause the downfall of Man.”
“You are wise beyond my understanding, Owl. Please tell me, if I’m not a Giant, then what am I?”
“Not what, WHO.”
“Who, then? Who am I?”
“Pardon?” asked the Giant. This was very confusing.
“Follow the sun until it leads to the sea. There you will find you. There you will be.”
“Thank you very…”
And with that, the Owl flew away.
“…much.” the Giant said to themselves.
A tear slid down their cheek. The Giant felt as though they had lost something very dear. Everything that was once familiar now felt strange. How were they to act? What if someone happened along and asked who they were? They couldn’t say they were a Giant, could they?
I can’t touch the clouds,
as they go rolling by.
If I’m not a Giant
then what am I?
What am I?
I can’t stop the eagle
From sailing ‘cross the moon
If I’m not a Giant
will I be soon?
Will I be soon?
I should be moving mountains
or strolling ‘cross the sea
If I can’t be a Giant
what can I be?
Can I be?
Sadness overcame the Giant. They sat right down where they were and cried. The leaves on the trees trembled, for they had never seen the Giant sad. The breeze stopped altogether, for fear of upsetting the Giant further. The sun tried hard to warm the Giant but the effort went unnoticed. After a time, a voice was heard.
“Seems a shame for one so young,
to turn away from summer sun.
To choose instead the cold of fear,
and shed even a single tear.
When a friend is so very,
The Giant looked up, their eyes red and puffy from crying. A crow was standing on a tree stump, smiling at them.
“Hello”, the Giant whispered, wiping their face as best they could.
“You sit beneath a sunny sky.
You could play,
instead you cry.
Why is this, ask I?
Why oh why oh why oh why?”
“I don’t know who I am. I thought I was a Giant but the Owl said I wasn’t and now I don’t know what to do.”
“There, there, my dear.
What you’ve lost
I’ll help you find
if my company
you don’t mind.”
“Really? You would help me?”
across the miles I’d go.
William Roderick Crow.”
“Pleased to meet you, Mr. Crow”
That simply will not do.
Call me William, please
The Giant giggled a little. They never met anyone who spoke the way William did.
“I’m very happy to have met you today, William.”
William bowed low and said,
“The pleasure is mine, my dear.
Now please tell me,
what happened here?”
The Giant explained. William pondered their words, walking back and forth across the tree stump, stroking the underside of their beak with one wing.
“Follow the sun until it leads to the sea?
There you will find you?
There you will be?
It seems a sort of mystery, my friend.
Something we should follow through to its’ end.”
“You’re absolutely right. If I want to find out who I am, I have to go look. I certainly won’t find anything at all sitting here in a puddle of my own tears, now, will I?”
The Giant stood up right there and then, took a deep breath and turned their attention to the sky.
“Follow the sun until it leads to the sea. How long do you think it will take us to get there?”
“Hard to say, for it seems that I
Measure the distance as the crow flies.
You travel by foot instead.
I will, at times, fly on ahead
to circle back that I might advise
what I’ve seen with these dark eyes.
The decision, always yours to make.
The journey? Ours both to take.”
That seemed to be William's way of saying they weren't sure.
“Well, since I don’t have anything pressing to attend to, shall we depart?”
“Once upon this daytime splendour
An Owl’s words, we did ponder.
Their meaning will remain unknown
should we decide to stay at home.”
With that, the Giant turned toward the sun and William took wing. They did just as the Owl suggested. They travelled for days, following the sun until it led to the sea.
“Well, here we are.”, said the Giant.
“From the forest and the path
to the sea, we’ve arrived at last!
Long before the setting sun.
Plenty of time to find someone.”
“Now that I’m here, it won’t be long until I find out who I am truly meant to be.”
They remained at the seashore for three days, building sandcastles and playing in the water. William wrote poems and the Giant sang songs. It was fun for a while but then the Giant became impatient.
“When will I find out who I am?”
“It seems the Owl
although very wise
left you with questions
before they did fly.”
The Giant threw their hands in the air, plopped down in the sand and began to cry.
“Now what do we do? “
After some time, a sea turtle appeared. She was on her way back to her home under the waves after laying her eggs in a warm, sandy nest. She paused, then turned to the Giant and spoke.
“Do you mind if I sit here and rest for a moment?”
“I don't mind.”, the Giant replied.
The sea turtle took some time to get comfortable, then let out a sigh. She turned to the Giant, who was sniffling and wiping their eyes.
“Do you mind if I ask you a question?”
“No.”, the Giant replied.
“Why are you crying?”
The Giant told her about the Owl and what was said. About meeting William and their journey to the sea.
“And here we are.”, the Giant said at last.
“I see. If you don’t mind, I’d like to offer my opinion.”
“I’d be happy to hear it.”
“Large becomes small when you see it from a distance.”
“What do you mean?” the Giant asked, hoping it wasn’t another riddle.
“You look like a Giant from where I am.”
“That’s WONDERFUL! Did you hear that, William? The sea turtle thinks I look like a Giant!” The Giant jumped up and started to dance. The sea turtle however, turned her head this way and that.
“Why does it matter so much, what I think of who you are?”
The Giant stopped dancing and pondered this for a moment.
“I don’t know.”
“If you don’t mind, I would just like to express that it shouldn’t matter to you what anyone thinks or says. What matters is what YOU think and feel.”
“I feel confused.”
“If you don’t mind, can I ask you two more questions?”
The Giant nodded and sat down so they could pay attention, for they were certain this was going to be very, very important.
“Do you FEEL like a Giant?”
The Giant gave this some thought and finally said “Yes. I do feel like a Giant.”
“Does that make you happy?”
“Yes. That makes me very, very happy.”
“William, if you don’t mind. Can I ask you? Do they look like a Giant?”
William Roderick Crow turned and regarded the Giant.
“They don't look like me or you.
They look like themselves, they do.”
The sea turtle turned to the Giant with kindness in her eyes.
“If you don’t mind me saying so, you feel like a Giant and being a Giant makes you happy. Seems to me that a Giant is not only who you ought to be, but who you truly are.”
She’s right!, the Giant thought. What do I care what anyone else says or thinks? I am a Giant. I AM A GIANT! I AM!
“Thank you! Thank you so much!”
With that, the Giant made some seaweed tea to share with their new friends. The trio visited until the sun was done with the day and the moon came out to play and for a while thereafter.
"Write with the door closed. Rewrite with the door open." Stephen King