Everyone knows that Herbert loves clover. It his favorite thing next to ice-cream, warm bubble baths and the Guru. Even though Herbert loved clover and the clover kind of liked being nibbled, Herbert also liked daisies when he was in the mood for something slightly more adventurous. However, the daisies were not as receptive to Herbert’s munching and they were not very shy in telling him so.
One day, Herbert was strolling through the meadow on a very bright and shiny afternoon when he came upon a clump of the yellow and white flowers winking in the sunlight. He went in for a nibble only to be accosted by a loud bellowing from the flower below, “Nooooooooooo!” the flower sang out in what was (actually) a very healthy baritone. Herbert jumped with a start, nearly flattening the flower’s companions.
Herbert fell back toward the large copse of oak trees where the pixie-sprites lived. He knocked his little noggin and fell back in a swoon against the welcoming arms of the fatherly oak. When he awoke, he found the pixie-sprites in a circle around him. They seemed o be debating something of great importance to them. The red-haired pixie seemed particularly upset and kept spinning around in a circle, silver glitter flying everywhere.
Herbert slowly gathered his wits (very hard to do) and rose to his hooves to ask what was the matter. They told him in very distressed tones that someone had eaten the Queen of the Pixie’s floral crown. Without it, she would not be able to get the sun to go down and bring out the evening stars. Without the nighttime, the pixies would not get to rest and restore their magic. The stars would dry up and fall from the sky and the world would be lost. The beautiful, red-haired pixie sprite was beside herself with worry.
In an instant, Herbert realized what he had to do. He walked gingerly up to the hill where he had met the daisies just a little while before. He asked them if they would mind being part of the crown for the beautiful pixie. They thought about it for a while and then something wonderful happened (because something magical always happens when you talk to enchanted daisies.) They began to fly in a circle above the beautiful sprite’s head, weaving this way and that until they had completely encircled her head. The baritone decided his singing could weave them together for as long as the daisies survived. In a burst of joyful glitter, the beautiful, red-headed pixie-sprite enchanted the kind-hearted daisies, so that they would never wither. They spent the rest of their known days with her.
One day Herbert was taking his morning walk through them meadow when he noticed something strange. Strange things often seemed to be happening in his meadow in the mornings. He wondered if it were something about the meadow or perhaps just him. He quickly put that notion out of his head. Herbert did not have the time for such musings as he was looking for that particularly succulent form of clover that grew just before the trees flamed up in autumn colors. He was storing it away for the winter, you see, as winters were cold to his hooves and the clover that grew in winter was not nearly as fine tasting.
He went on with his task with fierce alacrity. He felt good that he was doing the nice planning things that the Guru had often told him to do when Herbert was hungry and hit him up for food. The Guru always had something nice simmering on his kitchen fire. Herbert, of course, was always close by at those moments.
This morning however, Herbert paused from his gathering and looked up for a moment. The commotion seemed to be coming from his home hearth. The Guru was hugging a strange dark-skinned man and slapping him on the back. Herbert did not know what to make of this. Herbert had never known the Guru to slap anybody.
But they were smiling, so this had Herbert’s head spinning. He drew closer to the strange situation unfolding before him. He hid behind a bush that was way too small to hide him, but he felt safe to observe. The dark-skinned man had on brightly colored clothing flowing out in all directions…diaphanous and beautiful in shades of blue purple and red, contrasting with the Guru’s simple brown attire. He spoke with a thick accent as of one from far away and exotic parts. He drew a small wagon that contained various wares to be sold and bartered.
The Guru was holding one of these beautiful things. It was a small-multicolored pillow with tassels and bells on the corners. Herbert wondered what it was for. He knew one thing. It certainly was beautiful.
As Herbert gained the courage to approach, the two men acknowledged him. Herbert was shy in the presence of the Guru’s Arabian friend. This inhibition faded quickly as the Arabian drew out a small sleeping carpet for Herbert (fire resistant of course). It was warm and soft and Herbert couldn’t wait to try it out—and he was very fond of sleeping—and as close to the fire as he could without burning his fleece. The carpet did not fly as Herbert had hoped, as he discovered several attempts and bruises later.
The pillow remained in the Guru’s corner as a reminder that beauty exists in the world even if there are no tassels and bells attached. Friendships, even those that are far off, are an important part of life. Sometimes even the wise need reminding of such things.
Herbert loved story-time. Late in the evenings after the Guru had combed out Herbert’s fleece, he would sit in front of the fire while the Guru’s loving voice told stories of far-away lands. The Guru often made a big bowl of popcorn with butter and lots of salt; Herbert would munch away, feeling very safe and secure on the Guru’s lap.
One night as the Guru had started the third story of the evening; Herbert was feeling particularly drowsy as the Guru’s deep voice floated around the hut the two of them shared in the summertime. Herbert stopped, mid-munch when he heard a high-pitched squeal.
“Hey, that tickles!”
Herbert thought he must have been dreaming. Then he heard it again louder. “Stop chewing on me, please.” Herbert abruptly stopped chewing. It was hard not to obey especially since whatever-it-was had asked so very nicely. As Herbert gasped in amazement, his mouth flew open and out popped a small but spunky kernel of popcorn. It did a back flip in the air and landed in the bowl in front of Herbert.
It sat in the bottom of the bowl swimming carefree in the pond of butter settling in the bottom.
“Ah, that’s better.” It crooned happily.
Herbert could not believe his eyes (or his ears).
“I thought you were just a delicious snack. I had no idea I was munching on you and your friends. A thousand apologies.” Herbert gave an awkward little curtsey wondering if this was the appropriate way to address a snack-food.
Just when he thought he must be dreaming, every kernel of popcorn jumped out of the bowl and started dancing in geometric shapes. They sang a little song and spelled out, “We love you, Herbert.”
Only they didn’t cross the “t”. Herbert had been nibbling after all.