The Purglepine Makes a Wish
“Did you know,” the Purglepine asks Dog, “I became friends with the moon?” The two prickle-covered creatures lay with their backs against the snow, late one night, watching the flakes fall down towards them. Purgle holds his arm up against the sky to inspect his missing prickles, spreads his hand out to block the falling snow from getting in his eyes. “The moon and I, we talk to one another out here.” Dog scratches the back of her head against a wet pile of leaves beneath a layer of white flakes.
“I only see,“ replies Dog, “that you stay up deep into the night, without making sounds with your mouth. I cannot hear the moon’s responses either, but I enjoy watching your eyebrows rise and the smirks that spread across your face. But, mostly, when you are restless, I sleep.” The two old friends watch their breath make blue clouds in the moonglow.
“I’ve been wondering if I should ask the moon how to talk to the stars. I want to question the stars about fireworks.”
“Why don’t you ask the fireworks?”
“I feel like if I wanted to know a house, I would start with the Forest, right?”
“Very well,” says Dog, “ask the stars. I’m sure they’ll have something to say.”
“I can’t ask them outright, you know,” says Purgle. “I have to talk to them in my mind.”
“Yes, yes. I remember. How about this? I will go to sleep, over by that broken tree limb. Wake me when you have an answer.” Dog curls herself into a ball under the fallen branch. The Purglepine walks a long time in the light of the moon, the stars filling in the gaps between the branches of the trees overhead. Purgle walks until he is nearly out of forest before he begins.
Stars, the Purglepine thinks. What can you tell me about fireworks?
“Nothing,” boom the stars in unison, a group of hundreds of voices that sound like one perfect voice, startling Purgle to a stiff-spined freeze.
Allow me to explain, offers the Purglepine easing his body back to a pace, I am quite fond of fireworks, as I am so very fond of stars. Due to this I am deeply curious how the humans were able to make explosions of organized light. It is as if they followed your own blueprint.
“Our designs were never so bold. We were built for containment.”
Your shapes are the very essence of light.
“Well said, Purgle.” The stars exhale, which is a breeze that trickles against what remains of Purglepine’s prickles, the air feels crisp against his skin. “Down in the village,” the stars say in their booming chorus, “they have strung lights around a tree. Those lights will have your answer.”
From deep within the wandering woods the Purglepine makes his way down into the village. The decorative lights of the houses look as if the stars themselves were mirrored across the village in the empty lake of the valley. Purgle arrives in the town square, drawn to the center of the park, where a single tree stands covered in twinkling lights.
The Purglepine sweeps snow with his hoof, exposing the frozen grass beneath the white, not knowing where to begin his questioning, wondering, where do I start to ask about fireworks?
“The light is the gift.”
“It is our gift and yours.”
“To have a voice inside the dark.”
“Even though we love the dark.” These lights talk as quickly as they twinkle.
“We’re very enthusiastic about the dark.”
“It is where we do most of our dancing.” It is a staggering array of voices.
“It’s just so important to have a difference.”
“A difference of opinions.”
“A guide to get you along your way.”
Please Slow down, Purgle thinks. The lights just as suddenly respond, slowing their voices to a crawl.
“For those that cannot see the guide is often a voice.”
“For those who cannot speak the guide is often a hand.”
“And for those that cannot hear the guide is often a light.
“That is our way.”
The Purglepine is overcome with gratitude for each voice of the chorus. He wants, in this moment, to bottle each, to contain them.
“We are for everyone, every projection of light. That is the secret of the firework.” The Purglepine turns and darts away from the large tree.
“Wait, where are you running?” yell the lights.
I have to run and tell Dog.
“What will you tell him.”
I think I’ve got it! A most wonderful thing.
“What is so wonderful?”
You have granted my wish. I have to tell her! Thank you, lights!
“Dog,” the Purglepine heaves, out of breath, scratching an empty patch of missing prickles. “I spoke to the moon, the stars, and the lights.” Dog lifts a lazy eyelid, half-awake. His excited partner crouches near to her.
“And what,” Dog says, rolling onto her back, eyeing her tummy for a rub, “did they all have to say?”
“They said,” the large prickly beast places his hand against Dog’s stomach to rub, “well, no, they didn’t really even have to say it.”
“Have you forgotten already? Do you need to go back?”
“Oh Dog, no!” The Purglepine stands now, above Dog, above the large fallen branch that shelters her, as a fog blankets the stars from above like a lampshade, defusing and yet spreading their light. “How I understand it, the lights are there as our signal, and the paths they leave in our sky is the memory, which is also a trail in our minds.” Dog raises her eyebrow. “This is their great gift, my dear: a great and terrific light, and a trail that leads to the light that once was, and the memory that remains of that history living inside each of us.”
“We are lucky to have this time with each other under such light,” says Dog.
“We are lucky,” says, the Purglepine, “in light, of all things.”