The man sitting up in his bed told Lexine Lark that he had a bad case of the “pouties.” He was pouty, with his arms folded. Someone was stealing his dreams and he had enough of it, and it was the reason he called the Dream Detective to help him find them.
“I will have to go into your mind,” said the Sparrow, “And if there is no dream, then I will have to follow the trail until I find out who has been stealing your dreams. When I find them, I will bring them all back to you, but remember, they all come in at once, and will make for a very crowded and busy dream.”
“Whatever it takes to stop the dream thief!” said the man as he slammed his fist into the palm of his other hand. “It is very rude to steal someone’s dream, and if there were dream police, I would press charges!”
“When you get your dreams back, you will be restored of everything you were stolen, and the thief gets nothing in the bargain. Now, you have a choice of bedtimes stories. I can read you the one about a horse who loved the world, or the one about the world that loved a horse.”
The man looked nervous. “I don’t know. What if I choose wrong?”
“You cannot choose a wrong bedtime story.”
“Are you certain?”
“I would not offer a bedtime story to cause a dreamer any harm.”
“So, it is not a trick question to test me?”
“Shoot, tell me about the horse that loved the world. He probably had good dreams he kept in his own horsey head.”
The Sparrow read the bedtime story, and the man fell asleep, but when he did, and Lexine entered his mind, there was no dream to be found.
Only a crossword puzzle all around her.
“Now, this is an interesting clue,” she said as she looked at all the filled boxes. She looked on the ground and saw the same crossword puzzles all around her.
“It is always the same crosswords puzzle, and they are all completed, and yet they should be gone as they are the same puzzle solved.”
“Yoo hoo, Lexy!” said a familiar voice as the Sparrow turned around and saw her love the Keeper of Seeds waving at her.
“Doros, what are you doing here?”
“I was going to plant a seed of good luck in this dreamer’s dreams, but there are no dreams here, only crossword puzzles.”
“His dream revolted against all this clutter, and left him, and now I must try to find his dream and bring it back to him.”
“Perhaps we should call on Alala or Atticus to help us…”
“They know dreams, not empty spaces, and I don’t even think Daralis or Ver’sa Vy’sa could lend a hand.”
“So how do we find this man’s missing dreams?”
The Sparrow studied the crossword puzzle. “There must be a clue in here…”
The Keeper stood beside her as he also studied the answers. “This is a very peculiar crossword puzzle, Lexy. All these words are very complex: misanthrope, immure, ultracrepidarian, poltroon…”
“And all of those words have negative feelings and ideas associated with them.”
“So where do we go from here? The Dangerous Realm?”
“I don’t think his dream went there, and he was right: he did pick the wrong bedtime story.”
“What do you mean?”
“He picked the story about the horse who loved the world, and not the world that loved a horse. His dream could be anywhere…”
“You have that look, Lexy, and that mean’s he didn’t pick the wrong dream, after all.”
“His dream could be anywhere in the world, but I bet I know where that dream is hiding.”
“In a horse?”
“In the mind of a horse.”
“Have you ever gone into the dreams of an animal?”
“Yes, a few times when owners are worried their pets are having a nightmare. I have been in the dreams of cats, dogs, rabbits, parrots, hamsters, and a scorpion.”
“It was having recurring anxiety dreams, that poor dear.”
“Well, I have never been in an animal’s dream. I could go with you a plant a seed in a horse’s dream to bring it good luck.”
“That is very thoughtful of you, Doros.”
“And after we find this man’s dreams, let us go to the Ninth Cloud for a kissing picnic.”
“A kissing picnic?”
“Well, it is like a regular picnic, except we kiss instead of eat.”
“That is a good incentive to wrap up this case as soon as possible.”
“So which horse do you think is the holder of the dream?”
“Let us look at the crossword puzzle.”
“All these words are very sad or angry ones.”
“And the dream ran away from these puzzles that never change.”
“Meaning, it is something opposite to anger and negativity. It couldn’t stand these angry puzzles that clutter this man’s mind.”
“It felt saddened that it could not touch this man’s heart…”
“And went to someone who would appreciate it.”
“Why don’t you take out one of your seeds of good fortune for this man’s dreams. It will attract the dream, and we can hop into it.”
The Keeper of the Seeds took out the seed and before he and the Sparrow knew it, a giant horse galloped as it used its head to place both of them on its back and then whisked them away to the missing dream before letting them down. The looked around.
“This is supposed to be a forest, I suppose,” said Doros as he looked around, “But this forest doesn’t look real – it looks like something right out a picture book.”
“Well, it doesn’t have a personal bringing the dream to life.”
“So it’s a guess of what a forest should look like.”
“And that is the clue that cracks the case wide open!”
“Lexy, you know you are the love of my life, and I cherish and respect you with every grain of my being, but how on Earth does this dream solve the case?”
The Dream Detective gestured in front of her. “What is happening here?”
“And it looks like a picture book.”
“Yes, it does.”
“What do picture books have?”
“Well, let’s see: figments, plot…”
“And where are they?”
“I see what you mean.”
“The dream is completely devoid of anything to make an actual picture book.” The Sparrow looked around.
“What are you looking for now?”
“It’s a who. Atticus the Soul Finder should be here as he is Eden’s greatest advocate of figment’s rights, and there must be a strike.”
“Is that why there is no story in this empty dream? The figments are out on strike?”
“And perhaps even the plot as well as a show of solidarity.”
“I am so glad you are the Dream Detective and not me because I would have never guessed this in a million years.”
“I didn’t guess. I merely followed the clues.”
“A pile of identical crosswords puzzles and an empty dream brought you to this conclusion. No wonder you are the best detective around. If someone lost their dream, I’d probably ask if they looked under the bed for it…”
“Yoo hoo, Lexy! Thank goodness you’re here!” shouted the Soul Finder as he ran toward him with his placard, imploring the rights of figments in dreams.
“I figured out the figments of this man’s dream were all on strike.”
“Yes, they are very hurt and angry with your dreamer client who is appallingly rude and hurtful.”
“What do you mean?”
“He preferred thinking about his all-time favourite crossword puzzle that he solved as a boy, and told his figments to make themselves scarce because they always strive for happy endings instead of finding the right answers to crossword puzzles because that’s what counts in life.”
“That is a very hurtful thing to say to figments,” said a saddened Doros, “They always try so hard to make life sweeter and kinder. They are altruists like me, you know.”
“Well, my client is now very remorseful and misses his dreams. Would they consider giving him a second chance?”
“Only if he appreciates all the hard work they do to give him a more loving and fulfilling life.”
“He has learned his lesson. After all, he did seek me.”
“Very well then,” said Atticus, “I will let them know, and after we resolve this problem, Madreselva and I would love to invite you and Doros our party tomorrow. We are entertaining many young figments who are learning the ways of making dreams and stories kinder.”
“We’d both love to come,” said Lexy as a beaming Doros nodded, “I am always excited to make friends with new figments.”
The Soul Finder left, and seconds later, all the figments ran over to Lexy to give her and Doros hugs and kisses.
“Yay!” they shouted, “It’s the Sparrow and her true love!”
Just then, her client appeared in the dream, overjoyed.
“I am so sorry! My life has been meaningless without my dreams. I am sick of the same old crossword puzzle: it was too depressing!”
After the figments made peace with the dreamer, he turned to Lexy, “Why did I want to think about crossword puzzles in the first place, especially one I know all the answers to, anyway?”
“You are afraid of love.”
“You can figure that out from my problem?”
“True love is not a crossword puzzle,” said Lexy, “It is not about the challenge of completing it and then needing a new puzzle to stimulate you. It is a bedtime story you can hear every night and still always find something new to cherish and discover as all that you have heard before makes your heart even stronger and happier than it was the night before.”
“I want to love,” said the man, “I want the bedtime story that I never tire of hearing.”
He then looked at a horse galloping toward him with a beautiful rider smiling at him extending a hand, and when the man touched it, he found a seed of good fortune.
And then he woke up as the Sparrow sat in a chair beside the bed.
“Oh, Sparrow, thank you so much for finding my lost dreams,” but how did you find them?
“The story you avoided told me what your problem was, but the story you chose told me how to solve it. You were in fear of a world that loved a single soul because you felt you had no love in your life. But you wished to love the world all the same, and were willing to open your heart to feel it.”
“Well, I am relieved you found my dream. I want to love the world and the world to cherish the same way.”
“And you will. Good night, and pleasant dreams!” chirped the Sparrow who fluttered out of the window and was on her way to the Ninth Cloud were a happy Doros was waiting for her to arrive at the kissing picnic.
The horse who loved the world
There once was a wild horse who lived free in a field that was renowned in the land for his speed, beauty, and grace. He played in the field, and basked in the sunlight. He was the happiest horse who ever lived, and he was grateful for the trees and the stream, just as he was overjoyed when it was raining and when the sun came out to dry his coat. The night gave him the calm to sleep, and the day gave him a new adventure to explore.
But one day he came across a ghastly sight: it was a sickly and gaunt horse weeping in the field.
The horse came up and nuzzled his nose to the crying horse. “What is the matter?”
“I ran away from my owner who hates me, and beats me as he starves me! I hate the whole world for being so cruel and wicked to me because the whole world hates me!”
The happy horse consoled his friend, as the shock of his new companion’s words tore into him. He had never seen cruelty or met another who had been chained and confined to it.
He could have wept in sympathy, but remembered he had so much love in his heart, that it was big enough to love the entire world.
But as he could see that not everything in the world was worthy of his love, he would take back the love to those who were cruel, and then give it those who deserved it.
“My friend,” he finally said, “The whole world does not hate you.”
“Yes, it does!”
“No, there are many things that love you.”
“Such as?” snapped the horse.
“Well, you escaped; so, all those things that helped you do it must have loved you.”
“I hadn’t thought of that.”
“The path that brought you here loved you enough to bring you to safety as your owner didn’t come here.”
“But that is not all. The sun loves you as it guided to you and is warming you. The fields have food to nourish you back to health. The stream has water for you to drink, but there one more thing in this world that loves you.”
“Oh, what is that?”
“Me!” said the horse and danced around his new friend.
The other horse was so overwhelmed by the declaration that it then shouted, “I may not love everything in the world, but I know I love you the most!”
“I feel the same way about you,” said the happy horse.
And the two became the closest of friends as the new horse recovered and grew as strong and happy as his wise companion, and while both did not love the cruelty in the world, they cherished the goodness, giving it more love, and with their powerful love, those good things became stronger and kinder, and blossomed as mightily as the two friends who ran in the fields, grateful for all the beautiful things in the world.
The world that loved the horse
Few know the secret truth about the world: that it has feelings, hopes, dreams, and wisdom. It spins all the time to create both life and stories, and it is always looking for new stories to help it spin itself dizzy for another day.
And the world was loving, but it had been bothered by all of the cruelty in it. It was quite offended that evil was allowed to flourish, and the world did its best to bring kindness and tolerance.
But there were so many people arguing that the world’s pleas fell on deaf ears. So dejected the world became, that she vowed to stop spinning so that the evil would stop and that she didn’t have to house it or put up with any of it ever again.
But no one in the world felt her broken heart, and they continued to argue with strangers, steal from their families, and betrayed the friends who trusted them by telling them lies.
Just as the world was about to stop its spinning, a horse galloped in a field singing.
The world gasped for in all the moons of horses living in the world, not a single one sang.
This was first, and she did was she rarely ever did: speak to someone.
“Horse,” she said as the animal looked surprised and stopped singing.
“Oh my goodness! What an honour! The world is speaking to me!”
“You know I am the world?”
“Of course,” said the horse, “Who else talks in so many harmonies at once?”
“You are a very wise horse.”
“I run in the world every day. I see all of your beauty and grace, and melt for you are so beautiful and kind.”
The world began to weep for not a single person in all of existence ever stopped to tell her how much they loved her, and all of the reasons why. That someone noticed her hard work and goodness made her heart soar and burst with joy.
“I love you,” she said to the horse.
“Good, because I always loved you from afar, but was too scared to say it to you directly.”
“Because you are a great big world with infinite stories you spin, and I am just little horse who is but a grain in you.”
“But you are the kindest, sweetest, most loving grain I have ever had the pleasure to know, and of all the flora and fauna, I love you the most.”
The horse then began to sing a new love song to his friend, as the world decided to keep on spinning, bringing more love in her heart, that slowly, over time, began to chase evil away – not with cruel deeds, but by the triumph of kindness.
And as she began to sing to the horse, the world began to hear her beautiful voice, and stopped all of their bickering to listen to the greatest melody of them all: the song of love and kindness when you thought all was lost and no one could see the kindness in your heart that was always admired with gratitude – but was always there if you looked for the single grain in the great big world...