Once upon a time there was a little boy that lived in a small town. His name was Peter and he was something of a rascal who enjoyed having fun at other people’s expense. But he only played the sly boots by day. When night fell he lost his courage. Maybe he had heard or read too many stories about ghosts and monsters, anyway the darkness made him terribly frightened.
One day, Peter had been playing with a friend, and didn’t go home until after dark. Drizzle fell down from the sky, the street lamps were on, and the wet surface of the road reflected the light. Peter went as fast as he could, for frightening dark figures pursued him. Sometimes they followed him and sometimes they hurried ahead, but they were always present. Peter turned his head anxiously with each step. As quickly as he ran, his pursuers were faster than him. Every time when he stopped under a street lamp to catch his breath, they had already gathered around him. But, when he took refuge in a dark corner, the dark figures had disappeared. He looked anxiously around to discover the hiding-place where they lay in wait for him.
It was such a moment that Peter heard a gentle voice whispering to him. "Don't be afraid. It’s only the light from the lamps that casts your own shadow on the walls and on the road." – In all probability it was a fairy godmother just like those he had seen in his books who was trying to calm him. She spread out two fingers of her hand, moving them like a pair of scissors. Peter saw a shadow appear on the wall opposite him that had all the appearance of a stork’s bill making fun of his fear. But the fairy godmother could see Peter was still frightened and she took pity on him, offering to free him from his shadow. I don’t know how she did it - for sure she had a magic wand. Be that as it may, when he came out from his hiding place, he found the shadows had disappeared. He heaved a deep sigh of relief and ran the rest of the way home as quickly as he could.
His mother asked him why he was late but Peter decided to keep his encounter to himself. He ate his supper in silence. The panic had made him feeling hungry and tired. Later, when he lay down on his bed, he was asleep as soon as his head touched the pillow. In his dreams he saw children romping about in the lighted streets trying in vain to catch their shadows or to jump over them. He heard their shouts of joy but sadly he could only stand and watch. He wasn’t able to join in their antics for he had lost his shadow. He felt lonely and excluded. Oh dear, he thought, If only the fairy godmother would give me back my shadow!
The next evening Peter went out on the street but he didn’t step out of the shade. He was afraid that his friends would all laugh at him because he had lost his shadow. However, after a while his enthusiasm made him to join in the game. It seems the fairy godmother must had heard his plea. He joined in the fun and - wonder of wonders - his shade followed him. Wild with joy he matched his friends as they tried to jump over or catch their shadows. Yet however hard they tried, the shadows always won.
Tired but happy he returned home as his mother called him for supper. After the meal he went to bed. The light from the street-lamps shone gently through the curtains. Before Peter fell asleep he practiced the magic of casting the shadow of his fingers on the bedroom wall just as the fairy godmother had shown him. From that day his shadow became his best friend.
All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Karl Wiener.
Published on e-Stories.org on 16.01.2008.